October 3, 2021
Online onboarding gives the employee more freedom in subsequent decision-making
The last two years have brought us major changes not only in our personal life, but also in professional one. Telework is an advantage appreciated by employees, but also a measure taken by employers to protect the team. According to Eurostat data, before the pandemic, 12.3% of all European Union employees benefited from a form of telework (hybrid / exclusive), registering an increase of 8% compared to the average of the last decade.
An opinion article signed by Cătălina Crișan, ABSL Vice President
The most recent ABSL study on the return to the office shows that 95% of the surveyed companies will approach a hybrid work system after the pandemic, the return to the office being achieved gradually, but also in different proportions. About 5% of companies said they would work 100% from the office in the post-pandemic era.
Teleworking brought both benefits and less positive aspects, both for the employee and for employer. In these two pandemic years, the employee’s conception has changed, teleworking giving him more flexibility, more time spent with family, but also more comfort. A recent study conducted by Growmotely shows that 61% of employees prefer to work exclusively from home in the future. However, teleworking can lead, in the medium term, to personal isolation and / or a decrease in self-esteem, and form the professional point of view, to poor communication within the team, reducing connection and trust, efficiency and motivation.
Companies around the world will aim in the next period to find solutions to meet the new needs of the employee, seeking to maximize the balance between private and professional life, by creating a flexible way of working and rethinking the concept of office.
Although the pandemic was one of the biggest challenges for the business services industry, it has done admirably. This is why, many companies have increased the number of employees by up to 10%. If from a recruitment perspective, technology has solved this process, the training and integration of new employees has required considerable effort on the part of HR departments and teams.
Teleworking also requires a high level of employee’s autonomy. With the shift of the traditional mechanism of the physical office and face-to-face interaction with colleagues, in an exclusively virtual / hybrid environment, the need to have well-trained employees with high professional skills has increased. However, in 2016, according to Eurostat, a third of EU member states’ employees attended courses closely related to their professional activity (both non-formal and formal, with the aim of improving knowledge and skills). The Netherlands (61%), Sweden (59%) and Finland (58%) registered the highest participation rate, while Greece and Romania (8%) were at the end of the ranking. The most common reason for not participating in training courses was lack of time (44%) followed by lack of interest (14%).
One of the biggest challenges our industry has had has been related to online onboarding. The initiation program of a new employee within the company is crucial, both for him/her and for the success of the business and involves the process by which he becomes familiar with the technology and tools used, knows the responsibilities and the team, acquires the necessary knowledge and understands the organizational culture of the company. Moreover, HR experts believe that a well-developed onboarding program increases employee retention by 53%.
By switching to online onboarding, it is essential that the employee has the necessary technology, but also the process schedule, right from the first day.
Companies in the industry have developed online platforms, through which new employees have the opportunity to explore information about the company and organizational culture, while also having access to the training program. Also in online format is now the trainer-trainees interaction.The biggest challenges for trainers come from: limiting the interpretation of non-verbal language, understanding the percentage of active listening, convincing students of the need for eye contact throughout the course and engaging them in conversations.
Online training therefore requires a very clearly established program, in terms of topics and time slots. The challenge of these training sessions is related to capturing attention through increasingly creative techniques, which stimulate the involvement of the new employee. In an online format, the team and the training go to the employee to help him socialize and integrate as quickly as possible.
Another common practice of virtual onboarding is to assign a mentor to each new employee in order to provide support throughout the adaptation period. According to HCI (Human Capital Institute) 87% of companies that have assigned a virtual mentor to a new employee, consider that this system is effective, increasing not only the time dedicated to social interaction, but also the faster acquisition of information.
Among the advantages of online onboarding, I would list the benefits related to the standardization of the process, the establishment of a clear program and the course materials. Also, the online onboarding gives the employee more freedom in the subsequent decision-making. The main disadvantage is related to socializing with future colleagues, but also direct interaction with the trainer.
Post pandemic also the onboarding will follow a hybrid model, thus preserving the advantages gained online, but also encouraging interaction with teams. It is essential that the online part is attractive and unique, so as to motivate the employee to improve their knowledge, increase retention and productivity, belonging to the company and the team, but also the desire for self-improvement.