Involve managers and offer regular activities when bringing on virtual or hybrid new hires.
What's it like to join a new company as a virtual or hybrid employee during a pandemic? For 58 percent of the 700 US employees whom Eagle Hill Consulting surveyed who started a job with a new or current employer, it was harder than before the pandemic. Nearly half on-boarded via a virtual or hybrid approach, and for all the new-hire respondents, the overarching takeaway was that they lacked a foundation following onboarding. Two-thirds said they didn't have a clear idea of the organization's culture, more than half didn't know the core values, and 70 percent didn't know with whom they should build relationships.
"The challenge for employers is that relationship-building and cultural immersion is much harder in a virtual or hybrid work environment," the report states. Eagle Hill researchers advise companies to shift to a team-oriented, human-centered onboarding approach. "They need different ways to help new hires feel, see, and experience the culture of the organization," the report explains.
It suggests extending onboarding beyond a single event to a series of regular experiences throughout the first year. It also advises companies to host virtual activities that demonstrate their core values and help new hires feel connected, such as virtual team lunches or team activities that use collaboration tools.
Additionally, don't overlook involving managers and team members in the onboarding experience. Eagle Hill found that the majority of new hires want guidance, help, and training from their supervisor and notes that "employees want to feel immersed in the organization as part of onboarding so that they understand how their role and team fit into the larger picture."
Tech giant Microsoft, which has hired 25,000 employees since the start of the pandemic, discovered that new hires are 3.5 times more likely to be satisfied with onboarding if their manager is active in it. In a Microsoft WorkLab article, Dawn Klinghoffer, head of people analytics at Microsoft, says the company reiterated to managers how important it is for them to meet regularly and early with new hires. "Managers took that really seriously, and they offered guidance in terms of aligning expectations on job priorities," she notes.