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How to confidently onboard employees virtually

Numerous businesses are still operating on a work-from-home mandate as the state of Pennsylvania moves into the next phase of the pandemic recovery. And while markets have been unsteady with some companies downsizing, many other employers are finding a need to continue hiring for open positions. With physical offices closed, like TriStarr’s are for the time being in Lancaster, PA, those new employees will be welcomed to the team without the normal introductions they would enjoy in-person. To ensure that the latest hires receive the necessary training – and to feel like a part of the group – there are several steps businesses can take during the virtual onboarding process.

Reimagine the hiring process from recruitment through an employee’s first day

Before companies working remotely start considering applicants, a few processes may need to be changed within the hiring, recruiting, and onboarding sequence. Nearly all businesses have had to evaluate their current day-to-day routines and adapt them to a virtual work setting. The same should be done for your pre-boarding preparations.

One of the first processes to consider is how to conduct your interviews. Most businesses are interviewing exclusively through a variety of video conferencing platforms given the circumstances, and staffing agencies fall into this category as well. If video communication isn’t a strong suit, your team may want to consider using an outside recruiting or temp-staffing agency like TriStarr as a resource to aid in the interview process.

A few key items employers can discuss during the interview process can be time off, working hours, the proper chain of communication, how teams collaborate on projects, and what working equipment will be provided. While these items are common topics during an interview, some of these rules may be affected by working remotely and could present new challenges you want your candidates to be aware of. By introducing these concepts early and as part of the formal offer language, all expectations will be made clear, further creating a familiar environment for your new employee.

Of course, all businesses want to make the best first impression for possible hires. Showing that you are prepared to handle these initial meetings virtually can help set the tone for what it will be like working for you remotely.

Plan out your new team member’s first week

Even when employees are in the office, the first week at a job can be full of emotions. With employees being onboarded virtually, structure is all the more important to make them feel comfortable and to establish a sense of direction. Planning each day hour-by-hour, adding in breaks and assignments as necessary, will help your recent hires to feel productive, prepared, and valued. It’s important to allow new team members to join in on any standing meetings with other teams as well, not only to help break up the schedule but to provide insight on how the company works as a whole.

Give direction – and lots of it

Checking in on employees doesn’t stop after the first week of onboarding. Within a normal office setting, it’s not difficult to find out what your subordinates are up to, but working virtually, it’s much easier for small needs to go unnoticed between coworkers and bosses or for projects to fall behind. Simply put, it’s nearly impossible to overcommunicate with staff virtually. Staffing agencies, like Tristarr, often provide many rounds of preparation for interviews to help recruits feel confident for their interview, checking in often to answer questions or give feedback. Businesses should do the same for their staff. The more details you can provide for projects and improvements, the better.

Connect face-to-face as often as possible

In addition to communication, face-to-face interaction is critical. It can be easy for those working virtually to lose the human element of working together if they aren’t, in fact, working together. Connecting over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other web-based conferencing platforms will help your team to stick together and will help your newest staff members to feel seen as a team member. It will also be easier for them to interact with others once offices do re-open, as they’ll recognize more faces and have deeper relationships established from frequent team meetings.

Roll out the virtual welcome wagon to establish virtual work culture

The first week at a company can make or break an employee’s expectations for how their experience may be in the future. It’s important that not only direct supervisors are involved to make your latest hire feel welcome, but that all team members have the chance to celebrate alongside them. One creative way to make sure employees feel comfortable while working virtually is by assigning them a “welcome buddy.” Even staffing agencies like TriStarr use this strategy to be more personable. This individual can act like a mentor, checking in from time to time to make sure everything is going well and to answer any questions that may not be suited for a direct supervisor. It’s also a good idea to send a company-branded swag bag with gifts such as a mug, notebooks, business cards, and other office supplies. Planning a company-wide virtual happy hour on the last day of the week will also elevate team morale for everyone.

To learn more about TriStarr, how to improve your virtual onboarding experience, and any of our hiring, staffing, temp-staffing, and recruiting services, you can visit our website. While on our site, you can apply for any open job listing we have by using our online application. Considered to be one of Lancaster, PA’s best staffing agencies, TriStarr can help you find the right candidates for your company or assist in any of your HR management or recruitment needs. Contact TriStarr today to learn how we can work together.