Every hiring manager knows that helping new employees get a handle on an existing company culture can be difficult – and current circumstances aren’t making it any easier. The coronavirus pandemic has forced many workplaces to suddenly shift to completely remote work. And for those responding to the pandemic, there is now an added challenge of hiring and onboarding on an accelerated timeline.
In circumstances where we’re more physically disconnected than ever, how can you ensure your newest recruits have what they need to connect with your company culture?
Make your mission and values clear and accessible
A company’s mission statement and organizational values are like the guiding compass that serves as the foundation for your culture. For new hires, immediate knowledge of them can help them acclimate faster and more effectively. From how decisions are made to the way teams work together, a clear understanding of this cultural bedrock can propel them forward. Ensure your mission statement is a major part of the onboarding process and is easily accessible on an ongoing basis for reference.
Keep the conversation(s) going
Your workforce might be temporarily displaced or fighting under the strain of increased responsibility. But that doesn’t mean the vital human connections that keep a culture thriving can be left by the wayside. Whether it’s quick, regular, virtual check-ins with a manager or scheduled meetings with other employees across the team, keeping in close contact with new hires is vital during this period. Don’t focus on duration, but on impact: If you’re trying to manage schedules for a large number of new coworkers, even a few minutes to make sure they have what they need and see how they’re feeling can make all the difference.
Ask, don’t tell
One temptation when facing a massive number of new hires can be to bombard them with a massive amount of new information about your company’s culture. And that information might even be designed, packaged and presented in a way that’s specific and, frankly, terrific. But the conversations happening can’t just be one-way. Use your check-in opportunities to solicit feedback from your new hires. Ask them what’s working, what’s not and what they see that could be improved. They’re bringing fresh eyes not only to their everyday roles, but to the larger team dynamic your organization is built on. That’s a valuable perspective for you to hear, and a chance for you to demonstrate the support and inclusivity you’d like them to know your culture offers.
Use remote offices to your advantage
One thing we’ve all realized throughout this pandemic is how dependent we are on technology. The same tools that allow us to work remotely, over great distances, can also be harnessed to give us new tactics for reaching large numbers of new hires for reasons beyond product- or role-specific training. The key is to enrich your onboarding (and ongoing) practices with exposure to your cultural strengths. Use virtual meetups to conduct team-building activities, or create new chances to share information with remote lunch-and-learns. With a little creativity, you can still facilitate engaging employee experiences, no matter where your people are physically located.