Since the start of the pandemic, the way we work has irrevocably evolved. Employees around the globe have embraced the flexibility and autonomy offered by remote work, and for many, the option to work at home at least some of the time will be non-negotiable in a post-pandemic world.

According to data from Microsoft, over 70% of workers globally want flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65% also want the ability to collaborate with their teams in-person. 

Consequently, 66% of business decision-makers say they are making moves to better accommodate hybrid work environments. One of the key considerations is how to successfully introduce new employees to the company’s culture and ways of working – even at a distance. 

Below, we look at how to adjust the onboarding process to support a hybrid workforce.

Set up technology before they start

Before their first day, ensure new hires have all the tech they need to do their job and assign someone to help them set everything up so they can log in to their email, the intranet and any other internal platforms and apps.

Offer a virtual training session to run through any company systems and communication channels they’ll need to use. Taking this step early will help iron out any technical issues ahead of time, so they’re ready to start working from day one.

Formalise their welcome

Just as you would facilitate introductions in an office setting, make sure new hires are made to feel welcome and have the opportunity to get to know their colleagues. Urge managers and peers to welcome new team members with an email. Set up a virtual group catch-up with your immediate team to introduce your employee, chat about your shared purpose and let each person explain the role they play in helping make it happen. 

Elizabeth Baskin, CEO and Executive Creative Director at Tribe Inc, told Forbes:

“Pave the way for collaboration by helping new hires get acquainted with their team members. If the team is scattered across geographies, schedule an ice-breaking activity online, like a trivia game based on common company acronyms. If you're located in the same area, try an outdoor social gathering. Even better, try engaging the team in an outdoor group volunteer activity.”

The aim is to make your new hire feel comfortable and valued, and bring them into the team.

RELATED: How to boost employee engagement – in the office or at home

Introduce the company culture

Take time to walk through the company culture and give employees the opportunity to ask questions. This is especially important if working remotely, as cultural mores can be difficult to gauge without the benefit of in-person interaction.

Leadership consultants James M. Citrin and Darleen DeRosa told the Harvard Business Review:

“Many organisations rely on organic ways of communicating shared history and norms… Even if it feels awkward, explicit guidance around norms that are often taken for granted – the company’s tone and level of formality, dress code, virtual etiquette on videoconferences, messaging norms, and working hours – can be helpful. Don’t leave new employees to guess at these issues; doing so can create ambiguity and stress.”

RELATED: The culture fit conundrum: how to match company and candidate values

Check in often

During the first few weeks, schedule regular catch-ups with new hires to see how they’re tracking with their work and the role in general. Particularly when employees aren't in the office together every day, new hires can feel disconnected without the benefit of regular contact. Organising one-on-one meetings lets new hires know they’ll have an opportunity to ask questions, get feedback or raise any issues.

Entrepreneur and business coach Jane Turner told Business Insider:

“There is no such thing as over-communicating with remote employees. Since much can go astray without the ability to pop over to a co-worker's desk or manager's office to ask a quick question, err on the side of more rather than less interaction.

Our number-one piece of feedback from candidates is that they wish their managers were more accessible during the first 30 days to answer questions.”

If you’re looking to onboard hybrid employees in 2022, get in touch with our specialist recruitment consultants to discuss your hiring needs.

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