Top Tips And Strategies For Hybrid Onboarding
An essential part of scaling a business is recruiting top talent. But you must also have an effective onboarding process to get maximum value from your recruitment efforts. Data suggests that improving the onboarding experience translates to increased retention, better engagement, and decreased time to proficiency.
Onboarding new employees can be a daunting task for any business—and this is especially true in hybrid environments. As organizations switch to hybrid setups, L&D and HR teams must find new and consistent ways to onboard both people working in an office and those working at home.
At the same time, your employee onboarding process must be flexible and nimble and should adjust to interruptions and changes in the way we work today and in the future.
Why A Good Onboarding Experience Matters For Hybrid Teams
Starting a new job is always a bit daunting, whether you’re joining a local team or a remote one. There are so many new things to learn and adjust to, and it can take a while to feel settled in. That’s why offering a good onboarding experience is so important. It can help employees hit the ground running, quickly feel like part of the team, and be productive from day one.
A good onboarding experience should do more than give new hires the basics of their new job. It should also help them understand the company culture and values, and what it’s like to work with their new colleagues.
For employees joining a remote team, this is especially important. Remote workers might not get the opportunity to meet their new teammates in person immediately, so you need to ensure they feel comfortable communicating and working with them virtually.
A few key things make up a good onboarding experience for hybrid teams:
- Communication: Make sure you have clear communication from the start. Set up regular check-ins so you can ask questions, get feedback, and ensure everyone knows how to reach each other (and when it’s appropriate to do so).
- Socialization: Second, people can get to know each other outside of work. This could be as simple as setting up regular social calls or arranging virtual coffee chats.
- Providing support and guidance: Provide resources that will help people hit the ground running. This could include an overview of your company’s systems, processes, and procedures; training materials; and contact lists for key people in different departments.
With a little planning and thoughtfulness, you can set your teams up for success with a great onboarding experience.
1. Make Sure You Have A Dedicated Onboarding Process
Once your new hire joins the team, it’s important to have a dedicated onboarding process in place. This will help them understand the company culture, values, and expectations. It’s also an opportunity to set them up with the tools and resources they need to be successful in their new role.
A good onboarding process should last for at least the first two weeks of a new hire’s employment. During this time, you should:
- Set up regular check-ins
- Give them an overview of the company systems and processes
- Provide training materials and resources
- Put them in touch with key people in different departments
- Ask for feedback and address any concerns
By the end of the onboarding process, your new hire should feel comfortable and confident in their new role.
2. Set Off On The Right Foot With Preboarding
One of the best ways to set your new hire up for success is to start the onboarding process before their first day. This is known as preboarding, and it’s a great way to help new hires feel prepared and excited about starting their new job.
Preboarding can include sending out information about the company, the team, and the role. Then, go the extra mile and set up virtual meetings with key people and provide access to training materials.
By the time their first day arrives, your new hire will already understand what to expect and feel confident about starting their new job.
3. Start Strong On The First Day Of Onboarding
The first day of onboarding is an important milestone for any new hire. It’s their chance to get a feel for the company and start understanding its culture and values.
To make sure their first day goes smoothly, there are a few things you can do:
- Give them a tour of the office (if you’re in person) or introduce them to the team virtually
- Go over the company’s systems and processes
- Set up their workspace and make sure they have all the resources they need
- Help them meet their new colleagues
- Go through company values
- Outline expectations
- Explain performance review methodologies
- Make sure they know how to reach you if they have any questions
By the end of their first day, your new hire should feel welcome and excited about starting their new job.
4. Tailor Training For New Hires With Role-Specific Onboarding
In addition to the general onboarding process, providing role-specific onboarding is essential. This will help your new hire understand their day-to-day responsibilities and how they fit into the larger team.
Role-specific onboarding should be tailored to the individual’s needs and role within the company. It could include:
- A job shadowing program
- One-on-one meetings with their manager
- Training on specific systems and processes
- An overview of the company’s products and services
More importantly, define the tasks they can expect to perform in their first 30, 60, and 90 days. Then, engage them with these tasks to help them get used to the workflows.
By providing role-specific onboarding, you can help your new hire become competent in their new role.
5. Provide Opportunities For Continuous Feedback
Once your new hire has settled into their role, it’s essential to create a feedback loop. This will help them understand what they’re doing well, where they can improve, and will also give you the chance to have them feedback on the onboarding process and how you can make it better.
There are a few different ways you can provide feedback:
- One-on-one meetings: These meetings should be held regularly (weekly or biweekly) to discuss how your new hire is settling into their role.
- Performance reviews: Performance reviews should be conducted at the end of the probationary period (usually three to six months) and then quarterly.
- Informal feedback: In addition to formal feedback, you should also provide informal feedback throughout the year. This could be done through email, chat, or even in person.
- Continuous feedback on onboarding courses: Ask new hires to provide feedback on your onboarding courses. For example, this could be achieved through discussion forms or relevance scores in a Learning Management System.
4 Key Criteria To Achieve A Great Hybrid Onboarding Experience
There are a few critical criteria that you should aim to achieve to create a great hybrid onboarding experience for your new hire. These include the following.
1. Asynchronous Learning
Onboarding in a hybrid work environment is different to onboarding in person, so the training L&D teams provide should be different too. The big mistake that employers make is trying to replicate the in-person onboarding process online, i.e., doing the exact same thing they used to do, only on Zoom. Unfortunately, this isn’t an effective onboarding practice—Zoom fatigue is real.
Instead, employers should be researching tools we use for asynchronous work and collaboration, and embedding these into the onboarding process. For instance, open online courses and company wikis are great in giving new hires freedom to complete their tasks at their own pace. This can help them feel more comfortable and confident in their new role.
In addition, discussion forums allow learners to ask questions and give peer feedback in real time, giving asynchronous learning a social and collaborative direction. This helps all employees, regardless of where they are working, feel connected with their colleagues.
Finally, it’s important to remember that learners forget 65% of learning material within a week. With so much information to take in during the onboarding stage, it’s better for the learner to access the information when they need it while performing a specific task. Videos and prerecorded webinars are a great way to achieve this and enable employees to be in control of their own schedules.
While asynchronous aspects of onboarding are critical, it’s also important to set up synchronous meetings and sessions to ensure your employees get a chance to meet face to face (whether that be in person or on a call).
2. Access To A Co-Working Space
If your company has a co-working space, ensure your new hire has access to it. This will give them a place to go if they need to focus on their work or meet with colleagues.
A co-working space can also be a great way to socialize and get to know other people in the company. It’s a great way to build relationships and create a sense of community.
3. A Collaborative Onboarding Experience
Onboarding is a collaborative process between the new hire and the various teams they will work with on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to involve the new hire in every step of the process, so they feel like they’re a part of it.
Some ways to make the onboarding experience collaborative include:
- Asking for feedback regularly
- Encouraging questions
- Holding brainstorming sessions
- Creating opportunities for learning together
By making the onboarding experience collaborative, you can help your new hire feel more engaged and invested in their new role.
4. Choose The Right Technology
Many different tech tools are available to help with the onboarding process. However, choosing the right ones for your company and your team is essential.
Some popular tech tools for onboarding include:
- Employee self-service portals
- Learning Management Systems
- Onboarding software
- Collaboration tools
Each company is different, so choosing the tech that will work best for you is crucial. Doing this can help make the onboarding process more efficient and effective.
Great Hybrid Onboarding Makes A Huge Difference For Your New Starters
As organizations continue to adapt to the changes in the way we work, one thing is certain—your onboarding process needs to keep going. This is why flexible and hybrid onboarding is so crucial.
To give your new hires the best possible start, remember our top tips and strategies:
- Make sure you have a dedicated onboarding process
- Set off on the right foot with preboarding
- Give them a first day they’ll never forget
- Ensure you provide role-specific training
- Set up a continuous feedback loop
- Get the balance right between asynchronous and synchronous learning
- Focus on creating a collaborative onboarding experience
Ready to learn more about how to create a collaborative onboarding experience? Get in touch with one of 360Learning’s experts to find out more.