The significance of a well-structured onboarding process is vital for both the organization and its new hires. It is widely known that a strategic onboarding process can boost employee engagement and retention rates. For organizations, it is an important ‘moment at work’ to create a memorable experience and equip new hires with the keys to success.
And for new hires – a perfect opportunity to learn more about their new workplace, company culture, their associates, and management team. Under normal circumstances, all this usually begins with a handshake. But, with the ongoing lockdown and travel restrictions, newly hired employees are now engaging in virtual handshakes as they experience their initial days of joining from the comfort of their homes. This is just the beginning. There are other little-big issues awaiting creep in.
Tech Challenges Abound
For newly hired candidates, poor internet connectivity, occasional power cuts can give rise to several challenges, especially when they are required to attend a full day of learning as part of the virtual onboarding process. For outstation candidates, not receiving a company-provided laptop with the VPN setup on time prevents them from accessing training materials from the company intranet which is a must to get acquainted with the processes and guidelines.
Add to it the unforeseen network interruptions during conference calls resulting in delayed responses. All this, while the new hire is learning the technical curve of his/her new role and anticipating the support required for knowledge transfer before they are assigned actual work.
Insecurities can soon take over the initial high spirits and determination. Unable to bond with any of the colleagues, the company culture may appear alien to the new employee. With no official personnel in proximity, the doubts regarding the company policy and the benefits remain intact. The idea of calling a team member may look like an unwanted and forced intrusion into their privacy.
Lack of proper guidance and knowledge transfer into the new job messes and counters existing knowledge base. A cherry on top could be a fear of the unknown, the impending economic slowdown. All confused, a recruit may doubt his/her worth trying to justify work contribution to self.
As if all this was not enough, the ‘new normal’ routine strands the hire in the middle of work and home responsibilities. Unable to turn a blind eye to either of them the new employee may find juggling the current change quite challenging.
How To Overcome The Challenges
Utilise Resources Available: Most technical difficulties can be overcome through good network connectivity, a robust broadband connection, and necessary gadgets like a mobile phone and a laptop. They are enough to align you with the rest of the organization, required contacts and updates. A thorough read into the company policy and the job description over the weekend can help to understand the new organization and work responsibilities better. Mail or call the required personnel to clear all your doubts.
Be Proactive: Having a proactive approach rather than a reactive one helps at such times. Be ready and open to create new professional relationships. Drop-in a ‘Howdy’ to start a conversation. Frequent interactions with managers and peers instil confidence. Identify a buddy and seek his guidance to understand the team dynamics and company culture.
Build Rapport with the Team: Share pieces of your personal lives with team members staying 1000 miles away (in their homes). Interesting lockdown stories, playing fun games on virtual coffee breaks, cracking jokes, and discussing weekend Netflix plans will help establish a connection with teammates. Participate in team meetings with an active camera as blank screens do no good in social distancing.
Ask Questions: Appearing inquisitive is better than coming across as ignorant. Ask questions. They will help in clarifying any doubts and thus defining the task better. The zeal to learn and the passion to make it work leaves a good mark and is always appreciated in a company.
Seek the Positive Side: Do not assume! If you feel like talking to someone – call. There are always good people who are understanding and willing to help you sail through the storm. A job switch at such a time is not a trivial matter; there must be a reason good enough behind your hiring. Be grateful for the opportunity received. The new job has given you the reason to cherish during the recession. Indulge in positive literature and stay happy.
There is no doubt that the onus of making things comfortable rests mutually upon the organization and the new joiner. Looking at the current scenario, self-help skills are the way ahead for any employee. Trivial matters may look like huge challenges mostly due to our own mindsets.
There must be a thousand more people sailing the same boat as you. We must train our minds to manoeuvre the issues and if possible, learn new skills. This could be a new beginning and the right time to explore new concepts and limit what limits you.