The first day at a new job brings with it expected excitement, coupled with anxiety. A physical world brings the added layers of meeting new people and with it, new sights & sounds. The ‘new normal’ world is making it exceptionally novel, with virtual onboarding becoming the norm and challenges evolving from establishing a physical setting to understanding the work culture and ethos of a new place. In what was taken for granted, having physical people-to-people interactions are now a luxury.
The fundamentals of onboarding remain the same with paper submissions, inductions, modules, mentoring, etc. with the added reinvention of the hiring processes to ensuring effective communications with recruits and developing a working rapport. This will also result in companies rethinking their hiring formats to accelerate or skip procedures, identify, and reduce unnecessary processes, make meetings efficient, and hold decentralized authority that can be maintained even after the current crisis. A progressively slow process of innovating towards composite ERP systems has evolved overnight to rolling out company apps for mapping & training purposes, video sessions for conferences, interviews, smoothening salary & compensation payouts, etc.
Thinking like a Candidate
The pandemic, followed by the lockdown and stunted economic growth, has led to unheard-of measures, like salary halts, retrenchments, and realigning encashments, across sectors. With such an uncertain environment, organizations have been moving to ‘Thinking like a Candidate’ modes to help relieve anxieties across the board by pre-empting requirements in a remote set-up. These include making processes simpler and staying connected with strong communication & engagement plans. With employees across the life spectrum (from those looking out, to those onboarded, to those in a stable career progression), seeing the new world challenges of achieving KPIs in a shut-in world, it is imperative that logistical and people engagement functions design and align processes that ensure minimal disruptions for employees. Empathy and marking flexibility as pre-determined parameters will help to boost morale and to work with assurance.
These are times for organizational leadership to showcase responsiveness, faith, and confidence in their recruits in a world where remote working is a reality and may carry forward to the new world. Additionally, timed processes with clear communications will aid in mitigating the challenges of a lack of physical interaction to make the hiring process almost seamless. Interestingly, many roles are turning towards lateral hiring to fill the gaps with experience-based skills, instead of stoic reskilling or upskilling of existing employees. Thus, even for candidates returning from sabbaticals or facing retrenchments or gap periods, sustained communication explains each step of the hiring process in easing concerns of last-minute decisions, while also giving them a flavor of the work culture. This can be encapsulated by the following:
- Personalizing and communicating the hiring process on calls to avoid ambiguity
- Ensuring smooth setting up of remote or locked workstations before on-floor date
- Providing thoughtful welcome kits to include helpful WFH and health tips
Leading with Empathy
With the world having changed almost overnight, organizations must consciously approach their talent acquisition and engagement policies such that they reflect efforts to humanize their activities. Even with the lack of personal contact or physical touch, the objective for recruitment stays the same - leading an inspired and dedicated team for benefit across the value chain. Leading with empathy in such a world is not just a delegated task, but a real-world need that will ensure efficient outreach and sustain connections to stay true to an organization’s values.