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Onboarding Talent (remotely or otherwise)

Onboarding Talent (remotely or otherwise!)

Finding a senior hire and bringing them into your business is expensive and risky. Get it right and it can transform your business for the better. Get it wrong and the impact is not just loss of the hiring fee, but time, clients, and morale. A few simple steps, managing expectations, and the right onboarding techniques can make all the difference.

What might seem to complicate the process is a 'lockdown' due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in which case we all need to embrace remote onboarding! 

Here are 4 simple steps to improve your employee onboarding programme today. 

Revamp your new hire checklist

You probably have some sort of new hire checklist that includes the basics, like housekeeping, admin, IT – all the practical things that need to be set up before a new hire joins, look over this and make sure its fit for purpose for remote onboarding and give yourself more time to action. There are some simple things you can add to this list which can make a real, positive impact on the new hire’s experience, even before day one, such as sending out company swag, welcome email from the CEO or making sure the person is set up with IT so they are ready to start.

It’s easy to build excitement for the role and start the integration process before your new hire begins. Communication is key here. Decide if a social event with peers might be feasible in advance of start date – these can be held online too! Loosely discuss their first month and what they can expect. Make sure they have an internal mentor assigned who will ensure they have support from the get-go and can help them to understand the culture within the business.

Setting all of this up in advance of their start date will give them the reassurance that you’re invested in them and that they’ve made the right decision in accepting this position.

Set up introductions with key stakeholders

One of the toughest things about starting a new job is getting to know everyone in the business and that can be even tougher when people are working remotely. It’s easy to feel like an outsider in those first few weeks, so schedule meetings with colleagues and key stakeholders ASAP to ensure your new hire integrates quickly.

When dealing with a senior hire or leadership role, this is even more essential. According to a Harvard Business Review article on onboarding CEOs, “most new leaders fail not because their financial or operational abilities are inadequate but because their style or political skills render them unprepared to manage the organization’s culture.” Often it can help to brief your new hire on the culture of the business and the types of personalities they will be working with, especially if there are some complex internal dynamics at play. These types of introductions and intel can make a significant impact in the early days in terms of setting them up for success and helping them get up to speed as fast as possible. We talk to our clients about the difference between basic onboarding to active and accelerated integration – only 26% of companies do this – so if you really want the best experience for your new employee, then I would move to an accelerated model.

Set goals and expectations and define success

Establishing goals and expectations from the onset and clearly defining success is often overlooked. Particularly small milestones can be very effective with regard to integrating your new hire and making them feel satisfied in their role.

Make sure whatever you agree is written down for clarity. Include a column for goals, key results, time period, and a review section for looking back. It might be that in the first 30 days you want them to focus on getting to know the business, their team, internal and external stakeholders, and strategic planning can be put on hold while this takes place. If so, set small goals to ensure that’s the focus and discuss what success would look like.

Keep engaged

It doesn’t matter what level your new hire is at – it might be their first job or they might be stepping into a c-suite position – keep engaged regularly throughout those first few months. This might mean weekly 121s with more junior hires and periodic coffee catch ups (every two weeks, for instance) with more senior hires.

Here are some check-in questions you could ask your new employee:

  • How do you feel in the new job?
  • Is the role/team/company what you expected?
  • Do you have all the resources you need?
  • How are you getting on with colleagues?
  • Do you feel out of the loop about anything?

These questions can help you identify potential problems quickly and resolve them before they grow into larger problems that could put the success of the hire at risk.

Want more onboarding support?

We run our onboarding workshops remotely throughout the year, providing much more information about advanced onboarding as well as an onboarding toolkit to help you hit the ground running.

Sign up for our next onboarding workshop here.

Or if you'd like a glimpse of the onboarding presentation, you can download that here: Hanson Search Onboarding Remotely Presentation

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Author: Alice Weightman

As Founder and CEO, Alice established Hanson Search in 2002 and has since gained a reputation as one of the leading search professionals in senior appointments across communications, developing an incredible network globally.

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