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  • Writer's pictureClare Eager

Onboarding Overload

Published in the Peterborough Telegraph 18th November 2021

Bringing a new employee into your organisation family has evolved over the past eighteen months, due to the physical restrictions of the covid pandemic. Remember the good old days when your new starter arrived at reception at 9.30 am and was greeted with a smiling face and a seat before being collected and taken to their new workstation. Their new manager would take them for a trip to the tea/coffee making area, pointing out the facilities and followed by a walk around the office, being introduced to their colleagues and co-workers.

Very quickly after March 2020, employers needed to adapt swiftly to develop how the organisation is going to get a new starter up and running and delivering in the role that they have employed. This ‘onboarding’ process has got slicker and slicker as we have progressed through these eighteen months, until it is nearly natural for a new starter to have their IT equipment delivered a week before their start date, for an online support session on day one to be their first introduction to the workplace, to get them ‘up and running’. Then there is the ‘meet and greet’ Microsoft Team’s call with their colleagues, followed by a run through of all the induction training videos, and the schedule that has been pulled together across the next three months of probation.

However, as with pre-covid onboarding, using the same learning style for everything, is unlikely to meet all new starters needs and therefore a variety of delivery methods has more opportunity to achieve better results.

Regular updates with new starters, not with the premise of checking if they are matching their schedule of on-line training, but to see if the employee is integrating into the organisation, through their learning. Whilst onboarding processes contain many mandatory parts, consideration to giving the new starter some flexibility and ownership in designing their onboarding schedule, creates immediate employee buy-in and inclusivity.

And don’t forget, those employees who have been remotely onboarded during the past eighteen months, consideration into how you are going to expand their virtual onboarding experience to physical integration is vital. These new starters may be so familiar with their colleagues inside of the house, met their husbands, wives or partners, seen their children and pets, know their family daily routine, that reverting back to an office relationship environment, may be incredibly difficult transition.

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