Lori at Bottom Line, a national not-for-profit organization, has a small, yet resourceful HR department who manages the talent acquisition process centrally. They hire in cohorts of 35-40 employees annually (in July) to prepare for the beginning of the academic year. New hires would usually travel from across the US to their Boston HQ for a kick-off week of introductory training and team building sessions. In the COVID world, onboarding for these employees will need to shift to a virtual event spanning over multiple days. Being a small department, the team is engaging external training consultants to help think through redesigning (for the ideal virtual experience) and delivering the best virtual training. She continues to use Zoom to facilitate team-building and other onboarding activities and specific Slack channels to encourage employee communications and networking. “There is always room for improvement.” Lori is always experimenting with new techniques to encourage employees to increase interaction and engagement. She is thankful to have a fully engaged executive leadership team who are visible and communicate with employees often.
Matt notes that the current crisis has provided the opportunity for leadership teams at many companies to view the concept of a remote or hybrid workforce from a different lens: “In the future, we may see more companies reviewing their job requirements through a different lens.” Hiring managers may start asking whether specific roles can be done remotely as well as on-premise. Roles that are crucial to the business or hard to fill in certain geographies might now be filled by remote workers in areas with a lower cost of living or where qualified candidate pools are plentiful. We have learned that adapting our onboarding process, once thought a daunting feat, is possible.
Our panellists survey their employees and new hires regularly to measure the onboarding program’s success and the employee’s level of engagement. Early results have been overwhelmingly positive. Constructive comments are used to make tweaks to the program in each new iteration.
Maureen leaves us with a final thought. “You must be open to making missteps as you get started, open in communication to your employees and leadership teams and open to make course corrections along the way. There are multiple best practices and ways of implementing to match your unique culture.”