Remote onboarding and offboarding are a new type of challenge for businesses, as they require managing information technology (IT) and human resources (HR) processes from a distance, relying on the cooperation of teams and the new employee to complete necessary tasks. These professionals need to navigate new protocols around virtual interviews, strategies and workstreams, all of which are essential structures that shape the job itself and later on, the candidate’s experience in the new workplace.
With all of the changes to how we onboard and offboard team members, one thing has stayed the same: a seamless and engaging onboarding experience helps you retain new hires, and a pleasant and effective offboarding can create advocacy for people who leave your organization. Read on for a few tips and tricks on upgrading the onboarding and offboarding experiences of your next new employee:
1. Promote collaboration between HR and IT
Virtual communication is now the norm for many businesses, so effective collaboration is crucial to improving your onboarding and offboarding procedures. Siloed departments may lead to lack of collaboration, which in turn leads to miscommunication, duplicative work, missed improvement chances, and unapplicable business initiatives and platforms.
For starters, to make sure that new hires get what they need (e.g. laptops, monitors and access to the right software tools), each department should create remote onboarding and offboarding checklists – whether these live on collaborative work management (CWM) platforms or employ project management tools, checklists will help everyone have a better visibility into progress and to-do’s.
In a virtual environment, HR and IT won’t be able to meet in person for onboarding and offboarding, but they can still make themselves available to the employee throughout the process. Both departments can use a CWM platform (a few good examples include Asana, Mavenlink and Wrike) to document processes and potential improvement opportunities and to create dashboards to boost transparency into onboarding. They can also create employee resource portals that provides access to HR forms, benefit documents, employee handbooks, IT service request forms, payroll resources and learning and development opportunities and payroll resources.
2. Improve the employee journey
It’s important to give employees continuous support, thinking beyond their first or final week with your company. According to a report by the Human Capital Institute, 87% of organizations that develop an ambassador or buddy program during the onboarding process find that it’s an effective way to speed up the proficiency of new hires.
Programs that support new hires could include regular check-ins from an appointed HR representative, as well as virtual new hire meet-and-greets with others who have just started with the organization. Before an employee joins or leaves your team, you can also invite them to fill out surveys on how things went. This lets employees know that, while this is a standard process, you care about their opinion and want to improve their experience.
The IT service desk team should also report any metrics on employee equipment, hardware, software, and other technology-related issues, so that they can continuously improve the process. The IT department can also create digital forms for IT requests, and flag any created by new and former employees, and track how quickly tickets were resolved.
For exits, identify programs that automatically transfer ownership of software licenses and digital documents to managers and check back to a list of equipment assigned to each employee, so that you can easily identify equipment and take the appropriate steps to retrieve it.
3. Set up adaptable, friendly, virtual work environments
As company leaders create plans for virtual work, they need to remember that everyone’s remote situation is different. With employees working from home, it could prove essential to prolong the onboarding process and include quick email reminders regarding ways to submit IT support tickets and best practices for how often you should restart your laptop to improve speed.
Having managers check in regularly with new hires during the first couple months to make sure they have action items and everything they need is also important – whether that’s training, equipment, software, documentation or benefits information. If you help keep new hires invested in the company, their work and their professional development, you’ll improve your business’ retention rate — and have happier employees wherever they may be working from