64% of HR leaders will continue with virtual onboarding after COVID, according to new report

In a report investigating the impact of COVID restrictions on graduate recruitment, Milkround reported “64% of HR decision makers agree that their company should continue interviewing graduates virtually once Covid-19 restrictions ease” but “Concerningly, a third (32%) of graduates who started work remotely since March 2020 did not receive formal onboarding training to the company – a process which is a crucial element in their early career journey”. This lean towards the continuation of remote working and onboarding practices is not surprising given the positive response over the past year from companies and employees alike, but is what’s the big picture when it comes to remote onboarding?

Digital onboarding has been integral to recruiters worldwide over the past 12 months, it’s become not only useful during the pandemic but opening conversations about future digital possibilities for workplaces. It’s become a time-saving solution with an unexpected by-product. Many graduates have cited the benefits for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Remote working and onboarding have also widened inclusion for those previously priced out of living in more expensive cities, providing more opportunities to candidates and a more diverse pool for recruiters.

Onboarding remotely does however come with its difficulties both for new hires and companies. The biggest challenge HR leaders report isn’t remote working productivity but retaining company culture throughout a remote workplace. This is particularly problematic for new hires who may not have seen the workplace or met any colleagues face-to-face over the past year. Forbes reports this loss in company culture leads to the “loss of company culture creating ambivalence about the company” “lack of connection, leading to division” and “breakdown of communication if procedure, systems and software tools aren’t implemented”. These struggles can link to a higher rate of employee turnover, therefore more money spent. So, creating a robust online presence for new hires can have benefits for all.

Creating a clear message for new starters that shares the company culture and values helps welcome new hires feel included in your brand and ethos. Remote working makes it harder for new hires to create real connections and make friends. Which leads to good working relationships and feeling settled, increasing staff retention.

 Creating ways of connecting in that early stage and breaking through the remote working computer screen. Virtual parties or a welcome pack or gift that can show what the company is like gives employees the chance to see where they connect and fit into the bigger picture. An organisational chart gives a clear picture of who’s who and where a new starter fits into the company too. Setting up employees with full access to technology and services from home also gives greater understanding of past projects and ensures they feel welcome and ready for work. While each employee is different, having systems to support new starters during a time where there’s a lack of in-person communication and connection is vital. Creating a mentoring scheme, consistent virtual check-ins during the first 90 days and setting clear expectations about goals in the early stages will also help staff to thrive in their new roles. For the latest worldwide recruitment news and access to GradLink’s database of the top international graduates, sign up for free today!

By Jen Garmston Published: May 05,2021