January 27, 2021

Hiring and Onboarding During COVID-19

COVID-19 has created a virtual work world for many organizations, forcing them to adapt or change their processes, including hiring and onboarding. One of the most common changes has been the replacement of the in-person interview with a virtual one. 

Here are some guidelines to follow for a successful virtual interview:

  • Take it Seriously. Preparation for a virtual interview should be approached the same way as an in-person interview. Take the time to prepare for it. Review the candidate’s resume and the job description and be prepared with questions ahead of the interview. Choose a quiet place to conduct the interview and be logged in a few minutes prior to the start time.

  • Communicate with the Candidate. Let the candidate know what to expect. For example, give them advance notice of the video conferencing tool you’ll be using in case they need to download it prior to logging on. It may also make them feel more at ease to know details like how long with interview will last and what the next steps in the interview process will be.

  • Check Your Technology in Advance. Check your internet connection, camera, and microphone prior to the start of the interview. It would be a good idea to send a reminder to the candidate as well asking them to do the same. Also, have the candidate’s phone number at the ready in case you need to make a last minute call due to technology issues. 

Onboarding new employees has created a whole other challenge for employers. According to statistics published by Sapling HR, successful employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 88 percent. Conversely, a negative onboarding experience is two times more likely to have a new employee looking for another job opportunity. The following adjustments can help to make your virtual onboarding a success. 

  • Connect prior to the start date. Engaging your new employee right away could have them feeling excited and part of the team from the get-go. If it’s in the budget send them some company swag, or ask their team members to send them a card or note letting them know that they look forward to working with them. Also, be sure to communicate the onboarding schedule in advance.

  • Make sure technology is in place. Nothing makes a bad impression like starting your first day with no laptop or email. It’s important for managers to communicate on a regular basis with their IT department to ensure that the proper equipment ins order and provided in a timely manner. There should also be time schedule for IT to connect with the new hire prior to their first day to answer any questions and address any technical issues that may arise.  

  • Have a structured plan. When conducting face-to-face onboarding, a lot of companies may not have worried much about a formal schedule or process. However, when the process is fully virtual it becomes imperative to have an organized schedule, so employees don’t feel neglected. In addition to the HR piece of onboarding like discussing policy, benefits and new hire forms, it should also include meetings and training with managers and team members, or even a pre-recorded message from the C-suite. According to Amy Anderson, HR Director at Maitri Medicinals LLC, “onboarding is an integral first step when acclimating and training our new hires. It introduces them to our culture and processes and helps them understand how to be successful in their new job.” 
  • Make a personal connection. It can be hard when working virtually to feel connected and engaged, especially when you’re the new person. Try to incorporate things that help to make employees feel connected like a virtual lunch or after hours meet-and-greet. Mentorship programs are also a good way of making a new hire feel engaged. A survey completed by the Human Capital Institute reported that 87 percent of organizations that used some type of buddy program during onboarding found it to be an effective way of speeding up new hire proficiency. 

  • Think long term. Realize that one week of onboarding probably isn’t going to cut it. Managers need to consistently check in with new hires well after the first week to obtain their input and feedback. Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Office and CHRO at ServiceNow, shared with SHRM results from research they conducted that found employee enthusiasm for work peaks at the start of a new job but declines by 22 percent shortly thereafter.

Please contact an HR/AA consultant for assistance if you would like help creating a virtual onboarding process. 

Sources: SHRM, “Job Interviews Go Viral in Response to COVID-19” Business.com, “How to Remotely Onboard Employees During COVID-19” “ SHRM, Virtual Onboarding of Remote Workers More Important Than Ever”

The views and opinions expressed in the article represent the view of the author and not necessarily the official view of Clark Hill PLC. Nothing in this article constitutes professional legal advice nor is intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice.

Compliance Reminder

Employers are required to post the prior year’s Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA form 300A) in a noticeable place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted from February 1 to April 30. Forms and instructions can be located on the DOL website at https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/forms.

For more information contact:
+ 1 (888) 979-4457 | info@hr-aa.com | www.hr-aa.com
About HR/Advantage Advisory
HR/Advantage Advisory offers small and mid-size businesses robust outsourced human resource, risk management, and compliance solutions. We are different from other HR service providers because we are backed by a national law firm and staffed by certified HR Professionals. We provide a comprehensive outsourced HR department or customized solutions with an affordable and flexible pricing structure which aligns to the size of your workforce. For more information, please visit www.hr-aa.com.