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challenges to digital employee onboarding (and how hireful helps you overcome them).

Digital employee onboarding has risen to prominence post-pandemic. Learn how to overcome the challenges and help new recruits settle into a hybrid or remote role.

As employees across the country attempt to define their post-pandemic careers, home working has largely been accepted as part of the new world order. Official UK Government statistics released in May suggested over 80% of employees who’d had to work from home during the pandemic wanted to continue doing so. With 50 of the UK’s biggest employers previously admitting they have no plans to reintroduce full-time office working arrangements, companies are attempting to develop new ways of working – from digital employee onboarding to productivity management.

Digital employee onboarding is a relatively new phenomenon. It is increasingly replacing time-honoured onboarding methods like making new recruits sit in a meeting room and watch training DVDs (🥱💤). However, there are challenges to digital employee onboarding. We consider some of these below, alongside workarounds and solutions. 

1. preparing the ground for their arrival

It used to be common for new recruits to visit the office before their first day, meeting prospective colleagues and sorting out security credentials, collecting documentation required for the first day, or completing preparatory training. This might be impractical nowadays, but you can still offer new starts training and support in advance.

There’s loads of valuable information in hireful’s directory of recruitment webinars and the Open University’s back catalogue of free courses. It may be advisable to supply training manuals and compulsory video content in advance to simplify a new recruit’s first day. Because some people will be winding down their old jobs and juggling other commitments, discuss with them at the outset whether they’ll have time to do anything in advance. 

You should not be requiring your new employees with work to do in advance of them starting their new job, but you can make these training materials available to them and those with more free time and the right motivation will be able to take advantage of this. 

2. developing an induction programme

Another key stage worth tackling in advance is a bespoke induction plan. While this can be based on a template, we’d recommend tailoring it around each person’s circumstances – prior experience, working hours, and so forth. The programme can encompass essential training, goal-setting, team meetings, and even social activities.

hireful partners with Webonboarding which is fully integrated to the hireful ATS. Webonboarding’s portal can be used to prepare induction information in advance. It brings all necessary documentation and resources into a single unified location, giving new recruits the confidence to tackle training and learning independently. At the same time, it’s important to schedule some (virtual or physical) facetime with line managers and key colleagues during those febrile first days.

3. information gathering

A wealth of information needs to be collated about each new recruit, from uniform measurements to banking details and copies of any accreditations. Regardless of whether it’s requested in advance of an employee’s first day, there’ll be plenty of unavoidable admin, and digital employee onboarding might seem to be a further complication. Fortunately, even document signatures can now be provided digitally.

Webonboarding’s onboarding platform includes customisable templates, reports, and insights into the progress being made by each new employee. You can find out more for yourself by watching this hireful onboarding video, including how to transfer people from our applicant tracking software to the onboarding platform. From the employee’s perspective, there’s a mobile-friendly portal which reflects real-time progress, plus a chat function.

4. welcoming people to the team

In pre-pandemic times, a new employee might accompany their colleagues to lunch on their first day. That’s much harder in a remote working environment, but this key stage of corporate team-building shouldn’t be overlooked. Many employees are struggling with loneliness and isolation as a result of working remotely, and this is exacerbated on a new team where colleagues are mere names on an intranet screen.

There are plenty of ways to build camaraderie among a remote team. With sufficient advanced planning, the aforementioned document signatures could be used to allow new colleagues to sign a welcome card. Appointing a mentor or buddy ensures a friendly source of advice and support. It’s also crucial to highlight the importance of mental health, supplying links to resources alongside fostering a culture of acknowledging struggles and challenges.

5. resolving issues

Even the most carefully orchestrated digital employee onboarding programme will experience hiccups and challenges. From sudden ill health or the resignation of a mentor to broadband connectivity problems, it’s important to be ready for the unexpected.

A policy of open and honest two-way communication between the employee and manager must be cultivated from the first day a new recruit joins the company. Repeatedly emphasise that any queries should be raised immediately, while any concerns can be reported in confidence. A new-hire survey is a great idea once an onboarding and induction period has ended, and we’ve covered this in more depth in our guide to wowing new recruits.

adapting to the new normal

There’s no question that working patterns have changed forever, especially as the world’s biggest trial of four-day working gets underway. Digital onboarding is here to stay, offering solutions to many of the challenges faced by companies as they attempt to induct and train new recruits. If you want to conduct onboarding efficiently and effectively, hireful’s industry-leading software is here to help.

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