June 21, 2021

Onboarding new hires during a pandemic? Here are a few tips…


For most companies, the thought of hiring people in a fully virtual format was a foreign concept a year ago.  Now we’ve all had to figure it out on the fly.  I can’t say we’ve perfected it at Hirewell, but I think we are getting better.

Ultimately, success is driven by both the company and the employee over-communicating and putting their best foot forward. At Hirewell, we’ve focused on:

Adding more touchpoints to the interview process – We want to ensure we are interviewing for our core values. Keep the positive thoughts flowing – Once we extend an offer, we encourage everyone that interviewed the candidate to get in touch and congratulate them on the new job. But don’t stop at just the interview panel – have as many people as possible reach out over LI or email.

Have an onboarding plan – When we were in the office, onboarding could be a bit more organic. Meeting everyone in person, informal conversations over coffee, etc. That isn’t really an option now. So you need to be thoughtful when planning things out. We strive for a mixture of group meet and greets, one on ones, formal training, and independent training (think video) sessions. And figure out how to do as many shadowing sessions as possible. Those are easy in the office, but really hard when we are all remote.

Encourage proactivity – We strive to vet how proactive someone is during the interview process. Self-starters that seek out additional work thrive at most companies, but especially so at professional services firms. Encourage new hires to raise their hands. Seek out more work.  Meet more co-workers. Dive into new projects and join committees, ERGs, or other groups. Even if employees are a bit introverted, the first month of a new job is not the time to be shy.

Make it personal – We are all a bit burned out on virtual events. But it is vital to get new hires engaged and contributing to your corporate culture.  We schedule new hire “virtual lunches” and other small group events. The first 30 days of employment are crucial for new hires. And companies need to make sure new hires feel that they’ve made the right career decision. Help them get to know your company. It will reinforce that they made the right decision.

Measure it – Hirewell uses the Onboarding Analysis tool from Holistic. We pay a lot of attention to the results and compare them to previous quarters. So far, so good. As we’ve hired new employees, their feedback has been pretty positive. But as with all feedback data – you better do something with it. The only thing worse than not soliciting feedback from your employees is asking for their feedback, and then doing nothing with it.

Jack Smith wrote an article about what new hires should do when starting a new job virtually. Check it out. Feel free to send it to your new hires. Coaching them up is a win for both sides.

Good luck and keep hiring well!

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