There’s no denying 2020 has been one for the record books. Border closures, compulsory facemasks, lockdowns, re-lockdowns, the list goes on. The world of recruitment has been no different. The whole industry has had to adapt to not only significant changes in market conditions but ways of working as well.

The days of face-to-face coffee visits seem like a thing of the past, with the workforce turning to Zoom and Teams to stay connected. “You’re on mute” seems to be the catchphrase of 2020.

Perhaps the biggest change for this year has been remote onboarding. Hiring someone that you’ve never met before, in a pandemic, and hoping they succeed. It sounds like utter madness! However, I can assure you, it is not.

Having recently experienced this firsthand when joining the team at Miller Leith, I thought I would share my personal experiences on why it can work and how to succeed in what might seem like a particularly challenging situation.

 

1. COMMUNICATION

It seems fairly straight forward, but I think a lot of people neglect key parts of this. Communicate your values, your beliefs and what you stand for from the get-go. It’s important that your new starter knows what you’re about and what they’re signing up for. Be mindful of information overload. Is a 6-week comprehensive onboarding process really necessary, or can this be condensed and spaced over time? Be available. If you had a new starter arriving into the office for 9.00am starts, would you leave them waiting until 11:00am because you’re busy? I hope not! The same etiquette applies for Zoom. Don’t leave them hanging. Finally, balance is in my opinion the most important. Have a chat and find a system that works for both you, and your new starter. Whether it’s daily, double daily or a weekly Zoom check-in, they’ll appreciate the consideration.

 

2. TECHNOLOGY

In this newfound digital world we need to stay connected, so make sure your new staff member has the tools they need to succeed! This will look a bit different depending on the job type, and by no means am I condoning spending $5,000 at your nearest Apple store – but put yourself in their shoes and think about first impressions. If the expectation is to spend 4 hours a day on the phone, provide them with a phone! Not everyone is comfortable mixing business with pleasure so don’t force this. Computers might be a bit of a trickier one depending on your situation. Think “am I setting someone up to succeed with the technology provided?” If your new starter is trawling through data and reporting in Excel, an iPad probably isn’t going to work. Again, this isn’t the time to go out and buy 100 new laptops, but look at what resources you currently have and makes sure they are set up to succeed!

 

3. BE SOCIAL

This one can be tricky after 6 months of Zoom fatigue and recycled quiz nights but it’s equally important. Make your new starter feel welcome, and let them meet their peers! With social distancing and other things to contend with, lunches, brunches, beers and dinners can be a bit tricker to organize so think outside the box! Go for a walk, have virtual coffees and chat about your social life, send them a cheeseboard to have on a Friday (can confirm this is brilliant), go for a picnic, etc. Doing something is better than nothing, and it’s key to making sure your company culture succeeds.

 

Every business is going to be different and every experience tailored to the candidate. If you’re not sure on anything, put yourself in their shoes and that should ultimately tell you if you’ve nailed your remote onboarding process.

 

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