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A poor remote onboarding process may risk missing out on talent

Managing Director, Chris Goulding, was recently featured in ICAEW discussing remote onboarding. He says as candidates show a clear preference for remote working in some capacity, and as we are in the depths of The Great Resignation, a little TLC to an onboarding process wouldn’t go amiss, certainly when considering talent retention and productivity.

As the pandemic hit, remote onboarding very quickly went from a rarity to common place, and now organisations across the globe are much more adept at organising the logistics behind employee inductions, from team introductions and client meetings, to implementing the relevant technology and software to go with it. Remote and hybrid working is certain to continue into 2022 as employees and employers alike have their fists tightly gripped around their work-life balance. Consequently, an effective onboarding is no longer a ‘nice to have’ - rather an absolute necessity.

Even as the WFH policies have subsided, businesses and candidates are still showing a clear preference for hybrid working. Not only are businesses financially benefitting from entirely remote workforces, but employees are also keen to protect the work-life balance the work from home restrictions have afforded them.

Research by Glassdoor found organisations with a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82 per cent, and productivity by over 70 per cent. This is backed by research from Digitate which shows employees who have had a negative onboarding experience are twice as likely to look for other career opportunities in the future. Newly hired employees can often feel anxious when starting a new job anyway, and a poorly laid out (or non-existent) onboarding process will exacerbate this.

While the ‘old ways’ of onboarding (in person) have seen an incline as restrictions are lifted, remote onboarding will continue, but, of course, will depend on the organisation and candidate. Some organisations may heavily rely on face-to-face interaction and collaboration, and some candidates will feel remote onboarding is unusual if it is the first time they have experienced it. To put it simply, remote onboarding will work best for roles that stay remote.

Employers, HRs, and business leaders can make it work by being organised and giving the onboarding process as much emphasis as other company procedures. Introductions with key players and department heads, catch-up meetings, training, client introductions, and feedback all need to be accounted for.

Remote onboarding should remain an ongoing evolution, particularly as new COVID-19 variants emerge and have the potential to up-end our lives once again. Through feedback and constant evaluation, the process can be developed. It is important both to ensure candidates know that it is OK to ask questions, and to tailor the process to seniority level. The process must be a collaborative one, with communication being the key ingredient when distanced between computer screens.

Of course, a one size fits all process won’t work for everyone, but it will always be better to do more than less. In this candidate shortage and talent war, a little TLC won’t go amiss…

Read the full article in ICAEW here.