For many businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a sudden switch to remote working and significant budget cuts to deal with the impact of UK lockdown. As we enter the rebuild phase, offices around the UK are beginning to reopen and businesses are developing new ways to adapt and innovate. As remote working has now become the new normal for many, and many workers actually preferring the flexibility and new-found benefits of working remotely, business leaders and managers responsible for the hiring and onboarding of new employees face many new challenges. 

In this article, Jenny Jones – Director of ETL Resourcing, explores the ways in which businesses can adjust their recruitment process to successfully hire and onboard new employees post-lockdown.

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for UK businesses but has also provided various opportunities for businesses to embrace a new way of working. When hiring a new starter,  a good first impression will create a more productive and positive employee experience. It is worth considering that a business with a seamless recruitment and onboarding process will be highly regarded by new team members. It is also important to remember that if using a remote onboarding process, this will be just as strange for your new team member. As restrictions begin to relax, the process should be adapted to make sure any candidates or new starters feel comfortable through the whole experience. 

Accept the challenges

Even as the lockdown restrictions begin to relax, the challenges arising as a result of the pandemic continue to present themselves. The immediate shift to remote working has also created opportunities for many businesses. Many software tools and technologies have been implemented or offered for free to help companies embrace digital productivity tools that may have been unfamiliar for teams pre-lockdown.

We are beginning to realise that the normal, working situation and environment we knew, will not be returning for the foreseeable future. As a result, many businesses have been establishing a ‘new normal’ way of working, where working remotely is the normality, not the exception. Business leaders must now consider a plan to mitigate the challenges of this new working routine or run the risk of unproductive employees, poor mental wellbeing and even increased staff turnover.

Improve your technology

For remote working to be successful, employees must be equipped with the correct technologies and resources. From laptops and mobile phones, to the software systems that improve the efficiency of remote working, managers must ensure their teams and technology are prepared. Think about building the use of technology including policies, procedures and passwords into the ‘welcome pack’ for your new starter to make sure they are well equipped for their first day of remote work.

Remote working may also highlight several knowledge gaps across teams. Encourage staff to participate in online learning and development training to reskill or upskill both new and existing employees. It may not replace the real thing, but live webinars and digital courses are a great way for employees to continue or begin their professional development plan remotely. Make sure to keep a record of all staff training that is undertaken and by whom, and consider providing employee surveys to assess the effectiveness of virtual learning and upskilling.

Reinvent your processes

Technology leaders encourage the automation of processes wherever possible. Productivity tools such as Trello or Slack provide channels for different projects and teams to collaborate and keep track of working schedules and timelines. Effective digital communication tools also mitigate the need for in-person introductions as users can fill out a small profile and questionnaire to help new recruits identify team members and their roles. Chat and messenger facilities are also available for employees to communicate between themselves too. 

Increase communication 

Communication is imperative for both new and existing employees. Especially when working remotely, an additional emphasis should be placed on the importance of effective and regular communication across teams. Open communication channels can help managers understand how to support their employees in the best way possible. A team that communicates well helps create a positive environment where expectations and targets are consistently achieved and open communication with managers ensures performance is being measured and monitored. 

Effective communication not only helps to keep track of employee productivity, it also provides a channel to observe employee wellbeing during these challenging times. Teams and managers that stay in constant communication will have a deeper understanding of each others’ expectations, individual needs and frustrations. Schedule regular meetings to ensure communication with new and existing employees continues and remind employees of staying in touch by inviting them to regular team catch ups and virtual meetings!

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