The success of remote work has compelled other processes to follow suit virtually. So far, organisations have mastered the technique of running their business online, but the task of managing a distributed workforce, especially if you are hiring and onboarding new members, is still challenging.  

While social distancing may rule out the possibility of the physical office, you will still need to find ways to boost employee engagement. Remote or otherwise, talents will come and go. These newbies, who are very much strangers connected to a unified IT network, may experience isolation and confusion if they are not given a wholesome onboarding programme. 

And that is why onboarding is so important post the hiring phase. In a first, this summer, we carried out our very-first remote onboarding process for our new business development executive. Casting aside all the apprehensions laid out by the lockdown, we created a step-by-step onboarding and mentoring framework to make the new team member’s journey more experiential and interactional. 

Plan Ahead
Given the fact that we’d never be physically seeing our new hire anytime soon (at least not during the course of the current year) was a huge factor that led us to make preparations much in advance. Joining a new company can be an overwhelming experience because one does not have an idea of what the culture is like and how different departments are run.   

With this in mind, we created a 360-degree onboarding experience for two weeks to help our talent get acquainted and settled in her new role. During the time, CRM and on-the-job training sessions were carefully laid out so that she could start and grow at her own pace. We also made sure she was introduced to every department, with heads of each department offering a one-on-one training in their respective domains. 

Goal setting
Data shows that companies spend a lot of time and effort hiring their candidates. But most companies don’t consider onboarding much of a big deal because they think the biggest hurdle (hiring) has been crossed. However, dissatisfied employees cost the company more money and part of the reason is poor onboarding. 

We made sure to outline our goals and business strategy at the outset so that our new team member was also aligned to our expectations. We also drew up her target and reward plans with respect to her category of work. She was also welcomed to give a presentation of her own strategies and objectives for effective performance.

Nominate an Office Buddy
Often, it takes a few weeks for new hires to get familiarised with company processes and business policies before they start venturing out on their own. At Propay Partners, we nominated a buddy so that the onboarding process would have a personal touch. It also encourages open communication so that our new hire wouldn’t feel out of place or misinformed about client expectations or strategies.   

Transfer of Tech
What matters most in a virtual work arrangement is technology. Almost immediately after the hiring process, we made sure our new BD executive had access to our common network, server folders alongside a briefing on IT security and protocols by our IT manager. A financial services company like ours relies heavily on risk management practices, and so, initiating our talent to the possibilities of risks is critical to our survival.

Culture, Engagement & Team-Building
Ours is a close-knit team guided by unity and responsibility towards each other. All our recruits are welcomed with the same warmth and hospitality so that we can work towards a common goal. Our HR manager, besides providing the new member with a rulebook on compliance and key policies, stays connected all the time. She also helped our new executive leverage virtual tools for effective performance so that she is not left in the lurch fending for herself. Cross-team introductions over Zoom were also handled by our HR so that our new hire felt accepted and supported. 

The key to onboarding is to offer the new hire a personal touch beyond technology. As a gesture of our One Team mission, we sent our BD executive a care hamper with vitamins, exercise equipment and a personal note welcoming her to the team. Onboarding can be tricky if organisations don’t take it seriously as the workforce grows virtually. The very question of making the whole experience ‘real-life’ is in itself mind-boggling and requires intention and deep thinking.

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