This week here at Passle we welcomed two new members to our Client Success team. Katherine Selway and Anneke Smits are both now a week into their virtual onboarding.

Here is some insight into how Sarah Strachan (hiring manager) and I ran the hiring and attraction process virtually, and how we have gone about onboarding both new joiners. 

Here are the key stages and what they involve: 

1. Hiring Process Creating a consistent and clear hiring process is key. A determining factor of success in any hiring process is ensuring that candidates and hiring managers all know what the full process looks like so that they are all prepared. Planning the structure of each interview is even more critical virtually because it's harder to read body language and you need to mitigate people talking over one another followed by an awkward silence. A briefing session for all interviewers ahead of the interviews is time well spent. The candidate will feel at ease and the interviewers will be able to make the right decisions. 

2. Pre-onboarding This I often refer to as the 'black hole of hiring'. You've made the offer, the excitement and adrenaline of the hiring process is over and the new joiner hasn't joined you yet. It is critical here to keep the joiner engaged so that they feel excited in the run up to Day 1. The statistics of losing someone before they join are high enough to make this worthwhile. Share with them who they'll be working with (we made a nice document with everyone's face, when they joined Passle and a fun fact), their Week 1 Schedule and get them set up with everything they'll need for remote working. Many candidates have formed their impression of the company by the end of the hiring process so it's important to ensure you set the same tone. This leads me to...

3. Equipment You can defer to your company policy here on what you are providing for employees whilst they work remotely. Try to get to know your new joiner and their remote working set up and then ensure you get everything they need delivered to them ahead of Day 1. Everything from a desk to a notebook as well as technology is important. 

4. Day 1 Best not to be too ambitious for Day 1, you want to ensure that it's not overwhelming. Remember, virtual onboarding is in some ways more tiring than in person, so schedule breaks into the day. If you're doing the tech setup remotely, schedule in time for breaks and for problems to occur. Giving your new joiner a buddy is a great idea, so you can introduce them to who can they reach out to if they need some help.

5. Week 1 Ahead of your new joiner starting, planning the full first week is wise. Planning the following weeks of onboarding will depend on how Week 1 goes, but your joiner will feel relaxed and will be more productive if they know what to expect. It helps to manage any nerves too.

6. After Week 1 Your joiner is now no longer new and will be regarded as a member of the team. It's the hiring manager's role to ensure that the onboarding and support continues, in order to set the joiner up for success. The first few weeks of working at a new company determine an employee's longevity at the company, so getting it right is critical. Put in regular meetings to discuss progress and remember that getting to grips with the role, the business and the product will take time. 

COVID-19 has certainly changed how we hire and onboard, but the fundamentals of attracting and retaining talent has not.