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Employee Re-Onboarding: The Best Way to Increase Employee Effectiveness

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Onboarding is a broad term that encompasses many of the critical moments from the moment your new candidate accepts their job offer from your company. But despite the many changes brought about by COVID-19, a common theme remains. Onboarding is the process that ensures your new employees are prepared for whatever comes their way, whether they work at home or in the office.

But if your new employee has joined your company virtually and you plan to return to the office, should you consider some re-onboarding, or was your initial onboarding enough to support them and your company?

In this article, we'll take a look at why you should consider re-onboarding your virtual employees when returning to work and how to approach re-onboarding employees who started remotely.

Is re-onboarding remote employees worth it?

As the country transitioned to working from home with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, employers were forced to transition entire areas of their business, including onboarding, to a virtual environment. But now that more offices are starting to return to work, albeit with a hybrid approach, should you be thinking about welcoming back those employees who started virtually in the last 24 months?

Reintegration and welcoming of your employees plays an important role in the success of your new team as they grow and develop within your company, while allowing your company's social culture to thrive. Research from Glassdoor shows that companies with good onboarding practices increase employee retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%.

The report highlights this:

⁕ Good employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%.
⁕ Only 12% of employees surveyed believe their onboarding was great.
⁕ Most companies only focus on onboarding for 1 week.

One way to look at this question is from a legal perspective. When your new employee comes into the office for the first time, they need to be briefed on what's going on in the building, from things as simple as what to do in the event of a fire to where the first responder is located in case they are must fill out an accident form. Then there are other assessments you need to do, such as: assessing display devices to determine what improvements can be made to an employee's workplace.

But there are also personal aspects that need to be taken into account for new employees, such as: Such as safety protocols (Do they need to get ID?), conference room booking procedures, office rules (e.g. foods banned due to allergies), and even such mundane things as where the tea and coffee making facilities are located the toilets are located.

Reintegration is not just about transitioning from home routines and bringing your employees back to the office, but also about reintegration of your company culture and the teams within the company. The entire process should address how your employees can receive support if they are struggling to readjust to working in the office and educate them about it. It should also cover topics such as return-to-office requirements, changes in room layout and cleaning measures, and expectations for employee use of common areas.

But what general onboarding activities could be part of your re-onboarding process?

6 onboarding activities that should be part of the re-onboarding experience

  1. The Dress Code: If your employees have been working from home, you may have relaxed your dress code, but as employees return to the office and start having in-person meetings with clients, you should reinstate the dress code for your new employees.
  2. Defining employee workspace: For both new and established employees returning to the office, part of the re-onboarding process might involve defining employee workspace. Do they have a COVID safe workplace? Do they have all the equipment they need?
  3. Order security cards and keys: Since most offices have a secure entry system, do all pandemic newbies have the necessary keys to gain entry? At this stage you should also review your dismissal process: have you removed/collected the keys from all employees who left during the office closure?
  4. Personal introduction to the team: Perhaps the most missed benefit of an office is the opportunity to familiarize your new employees not only with their team, but also with the entire company, including key people such as senior management and health and safety security officer.
  5. Organize a company tour: This re-onboarding task can apply to both your new employees and your existing employees. If you have implemented social distancing elements in the workplace, you can use the tour to explain these to all employees and introduce new employees to places such as meeting rooms, the kitchen and other shared spaces.
  6. Review all policies e.g.  the security guidelines: While some employees have joined your company, you may also have had some employees leave during the lockdown. So as part of your overall reintegration, have you thought about reviewing all of your policies, from fire safety to health and safety? Do you still have enough trained staff on site to meet your legal obligations or do you need to invest in training for your employees?

How better onboarding can increase employee effectiveness

Onboarding is considered by many to be an essential business function. But not all companies have an established onboarding process - and those that do are often dissatisfied with it. Considering that the main goal of onboarding is to keep a new employee's training time as short as possible, it's a wonder some companies don't take this task more seriously.

A recent Harvard Business Review study found that 22% of companies do not have a formal onboarding program, while 49% rated their onboarding process as only "somewhat successful."

But it's not just about the missed opportunity, as inefficient and ineffective onboarding can have significant negative consequences. In a CareerBuilder survey of HR managers, 16% of respondents said poor or non-existent onboarding reduces their company's productivity, 14% said it leads to greater inefficiency, and 12% said it leads to higher employee turnover.

In contrast, successful onboarding has a positive impact - both on productivity and employee retention. Research from Aberdeen Group shows that companies with a standardized onboarding process increase new employee productivity by 54% and employee retention by 50%. This is also supported by a report from Korn Ferry that found 98% of executives believe onboarding programs are key to employee retention.

Why are onboarding processes so inconsistent?

So why is the onboarding process so inconsistent across companies? There are many possible reasons for this, but typically problems arise when managers are left to design and execute their own onboarding process. If they are unaware of the impact of a poor onboarding process, they will not adopt it consider important.

Busy managers fail to prioritize the process, resulting in a last-minute, hasty approach that results in a bad experience for the new employee. Put yourself in the new employee's shoes. Imagine not having a laptop, email, phone, or even a desk on your first day. Your manager has booked a customer appointment and is not in the office. Or your new team thought you wouldn't be starting for another few weeks.

In recent years, HR has rightly pushed to create a standardized framework to support managers. Even a simple onboarding checklist that ensures the obvious things are done well can make a big difference. First impressions count, and a new employee already feels out of their comfort zone when joining a new company; so it's a good opportunity to make him feel valued and part of the team.

How to re-engage employees who started remotely

If you need to get serious about onboarding, here are our top tips for making sure your onboarding process really works - and where technology can help.

Start onboarding in advance
It's a misconception to think that onboarding should only begin when the new employee walks in the door. In fact, you can do a lot in advance - e.g. For example, set up a system that automatically sends welcome emails to new arrivals, reminding them to bring the required documents on the first day - security card, passport, driver's license, etc.

You can also share basic information about the company and planned induction activities for the first day, as well as provide directions to the office.

You should also speak to the new employee's manager in advance so that he or she knows what is expected of the new employee. You can also ensure that your new employee's workspace and the equipment they need are properly prepared. These initial preparations will pave the way for your new employee and help them get up to speed quickly.

Get to know the team quickly
For a new employee, there is nothing more discouraging than feeling lonely and uninvolved in the workplace. Therefore, it is important that you introduce your new employee to his team as quickly as possible.

Don't wait until you have everyone in one room as this will cause unnecessary delay. Technology allows you to set up a conference call or Skype meeting as quickly as possible, allowing your new hire to get to know their colleagues quickly, perhaps even before their first day at work. Some new employees may even attend an introductory day before they officially start work to get to know their new colleagues.

Make it a two-way process
There are likely to be multiple people involved in the onboarding process - the new employee, HR, supervisors, team members, IT, etc. Therefore, it makes sense to connect everyone involved through an electronic tool that facilitates collaboration and sharing information possible. You may also want to create a checklist of tasks that need to be completed during onboarding and a timeline.

This type of collaboration allows you to specify exactly what needs to be done, when, and by whom. This allows everyone - including your new employee - to be kept up to date as it is easy to track progress and quickly close any gaps.

can support this process and give you the opportunity to provide feedback through feedback mechanisms such as: a daily pulse survey to determine how a new employee is feeling. You can even take it a step further and hold formal feedback sessions and set up an onboarding engagement survey. Not only does the feedback help you monitor your new employees, but it also provides valuable insights that help you further improve your onboarding programs.

Track your workouts
There is a lot of information to read and understand during the onboarding process, but is your new employee absorbing it all?

One way to assess this is with a training system that offers tests at regular intervals to assess your new employee's level of understanding and automatically submits the results for review by the manager. A comment box allows the manager to stay in touch with the new employee and provide feedback, while automated messages remind both parties of upcoming personal progress meetings.

After training is completed, some systems calculate the overall score and provide a learning assessment to help with further development.

Manage information sensibly
It's confusing and disorienting for any new employee to be faced with a huge amount of information on their first day. If they receive little or no information about their role and its requirements, they may feel unsettled.

You can avoid both scenarios by using technology to ensure the right information is delivered at the right time and in easily digestible bites. You could also set up a personal onboarding dashboard where information can be accessed when needed. This could include information about the employee handbook and company benefits, but also instructions on how to use relevant software and devices. If necessary, you can share new information on the dashboard, accompanied by email notifications.

Summary of new employee onboarding

Onboarding is an important process for every company. If you do it well, you will shorten the time it takes for your new employee to make the contribution you intended them to make, thereby increasing your company's performance, which in turn increases the chances of retaining them for the longer term.

However, if you do it poorly, you could end up with a disappointed and unproductive employee who quickly leaves the job, leaving you with the cost and time of hiring a new employee. If you want to learn more about how to do it right, download our free guide.

Investing some time and effort into a standardized onboarding process can not only save costs but also significantly increase productivity. Get in touch with IceHrm to ensure your onboarding process is a success.

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