We acknowledge how daunting it can sometimes be to hire new employees, especially if you’re just starting to expand your business. However, the process can be equally overwhelming for your new employee, especially for a hybrid one.
Fortunately, there is a way to get your fresh hire up to speed with your unique working model. The key lies in providing a welcoming onboarding experience.
Let's discuss the four phases of a strategic onboarding program and the steps to handle a hybrid employee onboarding experience.
What Is Employee Onboarding?
In a nutshell, onboarding is introducing a new employee to your company. It is a crucial step to ensure that your fresh hire will feel welcome in your existing organization and confident in his new role.
A structured onboarding program is easier said than done, even for big companies. According to a recent survey, only 12% of U.S. employees reported that their companies gave them a pleasant onboarding experience.
Download Our Free New Employee Orientation Checklist!
Why Is the Employee Onboarding Process Necessary?
It’s not enough to tell an employee that they’re hired. Effective onboarding is a process to help the new team member reach his optimal performance potential as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that the longer new employees feel comfortable with their position, the longer it will take them to reach their average productivity rate. The productivity tools are a wise solution to make your life easier for better management.
This can hinder any of the business objectives you have lined up. In addition, it can significantly impact your hire retention rate. Again, this can translate into a loss for your company.
After all, your resources will be for naught if you constantly lose staff because employees onboard poorly.
What Are the 4 Phases of Employee Onboarding?
The first step towards designing a better recruitment process for your company is to familiarize yourself with the four main phases of employee onboarding.
The first phase is referred to as pre-onboarding. This stage begins the moment after a candidate accepts your job offer.
It’s a particularly crucial phase since most candidates aren’t fully committed to being your new employee.
As such, any strategic onboarding program involves multiple steps, all dedicated to making the new job transition more manageable and less overwhelming for your potential candidates.
These can include assisting your candidates with their requirements, introducing them to some of the people they’re going to be closely working with, and at times, even helping them get settled in their new place (if they have relocated).
Most employees start their onboarding journey during the orientation phase. After all, this stage usually involves the first day on the job.
Many companies hold introductory meetings where all new hires can meet and, more importantly, get acquainted with the company. For hybrid employees, this orientation process could mean sending videos on company values and a brief overview of the key roles they’re expected to fill.
There are a lot of things to discuss during the orientation phase. It can include company policies, health benefits, and leaves, among other equally important topics.
You may also introduce the members who hold key roles within your organization.
All these ensure employees feel welcomed, connected, and in-sync with the overall company operation.
That said, , we recommend limiting your days of orientation. It shouldn’t take more than a week. You need to make the most of your new hire’s eagerness to start.
A consistent onboarding experience doesn’t slow down after the initial hype.
Instead, it should gain momentum as the new hire gets more acclimated to your unique company culture and team members. It makes the next phase even more relevant and timely.
Training is easily an essential part of any onboarding process. It is when you equip your employees with the necessary skills and know-how they need to perform well in their new role.
A digital learning platform will prove ideal for hybrid employees since they’ll have more control over their learning process.
A successful boarding training can significantly improve your new employee’s job satisfaction. It’s a great way to minimize your turnover rate and increase retention.
In addition, you’ll be able to increase your company’s productivity and, by extension, its bottom line.
Finally, an effective onboarding program doesn’t stop at the training phase. Instead, it should continue until the employee finally gets settled into their new position.
It’s ideal for providing your employee a sneak peek of their potential career trajectory should they decide to stay with your company for the long term.
You may also review during this phase to assess your new employee’s performance and gain feedback about their onboarding experience. For your easy reference, here’s a quick table on the four phases.
How to Handle a Hybrid Employee’s Onboarding
Now that you’re aware of the different phases involved in the onboarding process, let us share five of the most effective onboarding strategies you can use for your hybrid hires.
1. Start Early
Want to ensure hybrid onboarding success? Then don’t skip the pre-boarding process.
While it might be tempting just to let your new employee start working, doing so can overwhelm an employee and even impact their productivity and job satisfaction.
It’s best to invest in laying down a solid foundation and taking that extra effort to provide a positive employee experience whenever possible. This is especially crucial for those who are welcoming hybrid employees.
That's because, without a practical onboarding experience, they are more likely to feel frustrated and confused, given their remote setup.
2. Prioritize Making Personal Connections
It’s already challenging to create personal connections in a new workplace as it is. This is even twice as hard when a hybrid worker joins the team.
That’s because they usually don’t have the same opportunity for informal interactions with their colleagues as regular employees. As such, even quick messages from colleagues done through a chat app can feel like an intrusion.
Fortunately, there are ways to establish personal connections, even with a remote setup. Virtual team events can make all the difference.
We also recommend establishing a buddy system, especially for bigger teams.
Having a mentor, or even an experienced colleague to guide you, will prove invaluable in preventing feelings of isolation.
“As soon as we saw HR Cloud’s Onboard demo, we knew this was the perfect solution for us. We loved that it was extremely simple and powerful out of the box, but that we could customize it with advanced capabilities to make it work in our company setting.”
Elisa Garn Vice President, HR and Talent Christopherson Business Travel
3. Rethink the Workplace
It’s easy to think of the workplace as just the physical environment where you conduct business activity. However, the hybrid workplace isn’t as clear-cut.
It extends to the digital platforms that they’ll be using every day. Hence, your new employee should be able to navigate confidently around their remote setup.
According to the view of Nicelocal, services such as desk or room reservations should be in place to welcome any hybrid employee who wishes to visit the office for the day. Interactive maps that can guide your employee to your location and the building itself are also a nice touch.
Finally, don’t forget to notify team members when a hybrid colleague is onsite. This way, they’ll be able to interact with them in person without skipping a beat.
4. Refine Feedback Collection and Implementation
Any structured onboarding process should include a feedback collection and implementation system. Your new hybrid employee should be able to reach out and leave real-time feedback, preferably even anonymously, through a convenient digital platform.
Working on their comments and implementing their suggestions will also go a long way to make them feel recognized, just like any other employee.
5. Go Beyond the First Month of Hiring
Finally, don’t limit your onboarding processes to the first month of hiring. For instance, we highly recommend collecting longer-term feedback once your new hire hits the first three months with the company.
Focus on identifying hiring pain points and obtaining actionable suggestions to improve your onboarding program further. After Covid, more employees prefer remote jobs, so you can keep them optional or implement a hybrid work model for a more employee-friendly environment.
Establishing an advanced training program can also ease your hybrid employee’s mind. Keep in mind that it can sometimes be difficult for them to visualize where their career is going.
Most of the time, this work setup can produce feelings of isolation and illegitimacy. Without witnessing the company's growth as intimately as those onsite, it’s understandable how their work can even feel pointless.
The main objective of the nurture phase in the onboarding process is to help manage these negative perceptions.
Boosting Your Hybrid Employee Retention Rate With Confidence
It’s amazing how the employment landscape has changed this past decade. Just several years ago, hybrid work setups were mostly unheard of. You’re either an onsite employee or a remote worker.
Today, we are confident that the number of workers choosing a hybrid setup will only continue to increase as the world further digitizes. Getting your onboarding process up to speed will allow your company to adapt to these changes and gain an edge over the competition.
Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader who serves the international community at Rankwisely. He enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management.
The 40 Best Thank You
Messages for Colleagues
Download our ebook now to learn even more about
building a positive and engaged culture at your company.