While there are a lot of businesses who are still working remotely, it is still really important to keep up that contact with your teams and the people you work with.
Of course, there is nothing that beats meeting in person, but we know a lot of our clients have had to move to zoom interviews, inductions and have had new team members that have never been in their offices.
It's a discussion we've had with our clients; 'how do we build good relationships with a person who's just taken the job and has to work from home?'. We know it’s with a view to setting foot in the office at some point in the near future - but there are things you can do in the meantime to make sure for your employee and yourself, that they settle well and feel confident and happy when the time comes for them to get into the office.
- Remember what it’s like to be a new employee. New hires don't know the company, policies, procedures, etc. This is amplified when they start work remotely, and they don’t have the benefit of asking someone in the office. Consider creating FAQs that provide answers to a new hire’s most common questions. Also, consider having a buddy program so new hires have more than one person they can turn to for answers.
- Be available. Managers have a full plate of responsibilities. Even when we’re all working in the office, new hire onboarding takes time. It’s possible that remote new hire onboarding takes extra time. Today’s technology can be a valuable tool. Managers can let new hires know that they’re going to check-in with them regularly. Not because they don’t trust them. Just because they want to make sure that everything is going okay, so until the new hire is settled in, let them know that you’re available.
- Learn their style (and let them know yours). New hires and managers are in the same position. They’ve only spent a few hours (max) with each other during the interview process and now they’re working together. They need to look for ways to share how they like to work.
- Set performance expectations. New hires are looking for some direction on how their performance will be evaluated. Managers should try to schedule a one-on-one meeting with new hires to review their job description and the company’s performance review process. Let them know how their work connects to the organisation and the performance standards that will be used in their evaluation.
- Offer recognition and be consistent about it. After managers talk with new hires about performance expectations, it’s important to offer feedback about how they’re doing. Let employees know when they’re doing something right. Reinforce the good things. And correct them when something isn’t to the performance standard. If employees don’t hear anything, they will assume that what they’re doing is acceptable.
- Try and organise a few zoom coffee breaks. 15 mins of chatting to a couple of other members of the team without any work conversation - it will help the new employee feel more included and familiar with people before joining a full team call or a bigger meeting.
There is light at the end of the tunnel now with lockdown being gradually lifted, but none of us know how quickly some level of normality will return. If you have made the decision to recruit, it's an important investment. So, investing time in your new team members now is vital as you want them to set them up for success now, and be ready for the return to the office very soon - we hope!