To integrate new employees into a company, the process of onboarding is done so they can learn about the organization and its structure, culture, vision, mission, and values. Most organizations have developed onboarding plans and strategies that go well with the traditional working setup of going to the office to have a physical presence and touch-based environment amongst employees which changed drastically in the past few years due to the global lockdown. Now that businesses are moving towards a post-pandemic era, there is a need to revisit the onboarding process to get the desired productivity and longevity of an employee in the organization.
The onboarding process, which normally consists of a series of activities spanning several weeks to months, has shrunken to a few days or even a few hours due to the change of the working environment to a remote online setup. While there is an ongoing transformation of the working culture, the change in the onboarding process is currently unable to keep up with the pace. This is resulting in a detached workforce that is unable to gel with the company’s culture, norms, and systems which eventually causes a loss in desired output while employees start looking for other opportunities. This becomes more apparent when an organization hires experienced individuals with the presumption that they can start delivering just after the orientation program.
Improving the onboarding process
It has become imperative to differentiate between onboarding and orientation. While orientation is limited to completing paperwork and other routine tasks, onboarding is rather a comprehensive process that can last up to a few months wherein various internal process owners are involved. A study by Gallup found that only 12% of employees felt their company did a great job with onboarding; those same employees were nearly three times as likely to say they have the best possible job. Additionally, the study also identifies seven possible problems with any organization’s onboarding program.
There are a few suggested approaches that an organization can take to ensure that they have the best and most appropriate onboarding policy. There should be a well-structured integration policy to ensure newcomers are in line with the organization. The policy should have elements like pre-boarding, orientation, onboarding, and induction for each type of role.
The hiring procedure should be well-documented that include all the steps that need to be done in preparation for the new employee when joining the company. Templates of communication with new recruits should be available to be used during the pre-boarding stages. The organization should also have an onboarding that includes a structured plan for the new employee by job type (usually for executive, management, expert, and other individual contributor roles) and levels within its ecosystem.
For a work-from-home scenario, a few innovative practices can be adopted like inviting entry-level hires to participate in a variety of team-building exercises, asking them to conduct a comparative study with competitors, having direct interaction with clients/customers, and providing them a series of familiarization training courses.
Finally, a matrix is to be used to check the effectiveness of the onboarding plan. There should be a feedback system to check if the onboarding process gives the new employees confidence so that the organization’s employee value proposition can be realized. Other metrics can have parameters like time-to-productivity, turnover/retention rates, retention threshold, new-hire surveys, and informal feedback.
To conclude, the onboarding process helps new hires in understanding an organization’s culture, mission, employee value proposition, brand, and other relevant foundations that must be imbibed and strengthened consistently. It is difficult for new hires to absorb all of the information in a short span of time, so it is important to anticipate that it will take many months to learn and apply them. As such, the organization’s unique values and aspirational goals should help in developing an effective onboarding program.
The future of work requires transformation not just at the organizational level but also at the individual level. Changes in the job market induced by technological innovation contribute to the global skills revolution.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), believes that technical positions, such as data analysts/scientists, artificial intelligence specialists, big data specialists, and digital marketing and strategy specialists, will generate demand in the future.
According to WEF, about 50% of companies expected their full-time workforce to decline by 2020 due to automation. Meanwhile, more than half of all employees may be compelled to reskill and upskill.
Upskilling is defined by the Cambridge lexicon as ‘the process of gaining new skills or teaching workers new skills,” while reskilling is ‘the process of acquiring new abilities in order to perform a different job or of training others to perform a different one.”
How can employees prepare themselves for the revolution? Should they reskill or upskill?
If the last several years have taught us anything, work flexibility and an openness to change are essential for a successful career. Both reskilling and upskilling can help you future-proof your career and increase your employability. It’s critical to make the right decision, and here are some ways to help you determine your next career path.
Decide on your future career goal: Whether you want to stay in your current industry or move on to something new, it’s critical to be explicit. Decide where you want to go with your career and divide it into manageable chunks of information. With a clear plan, you can easily determine the steps aligned with your end goal.
Recognize your existing skillset: Before you try to better yourself, it’s important to understand your strengths, skills, and potential first. After you’ve written down your qualifications, ask bosses and friends to assist you to grasp your personal and transferable abilities as well as your role-specific ones.
Determine what you need to learn: A little research can go a long way here. Job postings, online career guides, attending industry events, and speaking with companies can all assist you in obtaining the information you need.
Choose a learning approach that works best for you: Online training is one of the finest solutions for reskilling and upskilling. Online courses are extremely adaptable, accommodating a wide range of learning methods and fitting seamlessly into even the busiest schedules. It is perfect if you want to maintain strong job standards while also preparing for the next big move.
The technological improvements of the last five years alone have caused enormous shifts in the types of skills needed today. Furthermore, an unprecedented pandemic has compelled sectors to rethink their approach to skill development.
On the other hand, the pandemic’s isolation protocols have resulted in a major push for remote workers. It appears that the shift is here to stay. Upskilling choices that are simple and accessible must be developed. Learning paths can make a difference in this area because of accessibility, flexibility, and effectiveness.
Businesses must invest in upskilling and reskilling in order to prosper. One approach to ensure this achievement is to use learning pathways. Upskilling has become a cornerstone of today’s business strategy that benefits both the individual and the company. However, it is also an investment to make. As more companies recognize the importance of upskilling and reskilling, now is an excellent moment to look for high-quality training programmes and certifications.
Both upskilling and upskilling are excellent options if you’re considering a career change but don’t want to work for a different organization.
Change is the only thing sure in the world, they say, and in the past two years, we are forced to adapt to change with an amazing speed.
Whether we discuss big organizations or few-people teams, resilience quickly becomes part of our vocabulary, and we have the same response: fight-or-flight-or-freeze. But how much adrenaline is too much, and how does this affect us as individuals and employees in our organizations? How do organizations manage and perceive the phenomenon called “The Great Resignation” or “The Great Attrition”?
More than 19 million US workers—and counting—have quit their jobs since April 2021, a record pace disrupting businesses everywhere. This has also affected countries in Europe or Australia and seems to be spreading around the world. Many companies struggle to understand and react, but the reaction is usually disproportionate and sometimes even inappropriate.
What Actually Happened?
If the past 24 months have taught us anything, it’s that employees crave compassion and making work more human. People are not robots with tasks or responsibilities, and more than ever, people need to be seen as imperfect and have the space to feel imperfect. Employees are tired, burnt out, and grieving. During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has suffered losses. For some, it’s the loss of loved ones; for others, the loss of familiarity — missed family gatherings or coffee with friends, canceled vacations and postponed events, or going to the office every day. The sources of loss, big and small, influence our work and personal lives.
Now, employees want companies to understand this loss and see a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. Employees want to feel a sense of shared identity, of community. Yes, they still want pay, benefits, and perks, but more than that, they want to feel valued by their organizations and managers. They want meaningful—though not necessarily in-person—interactions, not just transactions. Most employees have questioned everything during this period, including the meaning of life and work. What is the new meaning that your organization is willing to offer for work? What is the purpose that your company is offering to your employees? Is your company vision only related to profit, or do you have a higher purpose?
The pandemic brings new opportunities and urgency, and the idea of being agile and always ready to change is very good for business. However, people need time to adjust and make peace with this sense of loss. Indeed, the prolonged levels of uncertainty will only add to the grief and anxiety that employees experience. None of us knows exactly what will and won’t be coming back in a post-pandemic workplace. Therefore, we don’t know yet what is gone for now and what is gone forever. This influences performance or productivity.
What Can We Do?
If companies make a concerted effort to understand why employees are leaving and take meaningful action to gain them back, they can turn things into their favor. By seizing this unique moment of uncertainty and offering meaningful purpose and identity, your company could gain an edge in the race to attract, develop, and retain the talent you need to create a thriving post-pandemic organization.
If you’re a CEO or a member of a top team, your best move now is to hit pause and take the time to think through your next moves. But don’t think through your next moves in a vacuum; include your employees in the process. Start thinking about implementing a performance management system in your organization and do it with the help of your people. If you want to keep people by your side, include them in your plans, include them in setting the performance standards, and show them that their insight is valuable.
As you implement the performance management system at the employee level, ask the following questions:
Do we have a toxic organizational culture? It’s very important to understand if in your organizational culture, you may have missed some points with toxic leaders. This could put people down before even having the chance to perform.
Do we have the right people in the right places (especially managers)? Many employers face the problem of having the right people but not necessarily in the right places. When it comes to managers, this problem can be particularly damaging, especially in hybrid environments, where new leadership skills are required. Skills such as coaching and training capability are very important to develop for managers since in the new reality of work, people need coaching more than ever.
How was our organizational culture before the pandemic? If you think that going back to the office means returning to the same culture, you may expect your people to leave very quickly. You should remember that although the needs of your employees have changed, your culture may not have kept up, and any prior organizational weaknesses are now magnified. Employees will have little tolerance for a return to a status quo they didn’t like before.
Is our organizational culture based on the idea of transaction? If your only response to attrition is to raise compensation, you’re strongly telling your people that your relationship with them is transactional and that their only reason to stay with you is a paycheck. Your talent in the organization will always have a better cash offer somewhere else. Our suggestion is to solve the problems of the whole person (not just their bank accounts) and the whole organization.
Are our benefits aligned with employee priorities? If before the pandemic you offered free parking or Christmas parties as special benefits, you might want to consider adapting and changing these benefits also. In a recent survey among people who left their jobs, 45 percent cited the need to take care of the family as influential in their decision. A similar proportion of people who are thinking of quitting cited the demands of family care. Expanding childcare, nursing services, or other home- and family-focused benefits could help keep such employees from leaving and show that you value them.
Employees want career paths and development opportunities. Can you provide it? Employees are looking for jobs with better, stronger career trajectories. They desire both recognition and development. Smart companies find ways to reward people by promoting them into new roles and into additional levels within their existing ones. This is one way companies can quickly reward and recognize people for good work.
How are we building a sense of community? Remote work is no panacea, but neither is a full on-site return. In-person connectivity continues to have massive benefits for your organization. But it will require considerable management attention to be right as health and safety concerns continue to evolve, particularly because employees’ needs and expectations have changed. For example, employees with unvaccinated young children may feel unsafe in large in-person gatherings.
One organization took an inclusive approach by sending out themed staycation packages: a movie night with popcorn and a gift card; a game night with family-oriented games, chips, and salsa; and a virtual spa day complete with face masks, tea, and chocolate. The company created a Slack channel for posting photos and stories, encouraging employees to share these experiences. Another organization encouraged connectivity among employees by offering coffee gift cards to those who signed up to participate in one-on-one coffee chats with employees they didn’t know—a perk that improved connectivity and helped people expand their networks.
Employee engagement should focus now more than ever on employee experience. If you want to learn more about employee engagement, employee experience, how to implement a performance management system at the employee level, and how to align the company’s values, strategy, and objectives with employees behaviors, follow our Certified Employee Performance Management System Professional course.
The topic of work-life balance is at the front of the minds of many companies and employees. In today’s fast-paced culture, human resource professionals are looking for ways to improve their firms’ bottom lines, boost employee morale, retain people with vital company expertise, and keep up with workplace changes.
Pandemics continue to wreak havoc on people’s lives and livelihoods across the world. While most talks center on the fear of contracting the disease, living in houses, overcrowded nursing homes, and business closures of all kinds, the crisis has also produced some positive outcomes. Reduced vehicle traffic and traffic accidents, decreased levels of air pollution, which must contribute to lower heart attack rates, and a renewing atmosphere could be considered the “silver lining” during these times.
The pandemic became a bridge for community action, family communication, behavior, sanitation, cleanliness, and online and distance education to happen. It is a blessing to be able to breathe clean air and drink pure water. It is now up to people to live a life considerate of all the gifts that nature has bestowed upon them. This kind and sensitive way of life will give you hope for a healthy and stress-free life.
Does work from home raise productivity?
“Working remotely has given me more space for long-term thinking and helped me spend more time with my family, which has made me happier and more productive at work,” Mark Zuckerberg,Facebook founder and CEO wrote. He has also said that he expects about half of Facebook’s employees to be fully remote within the next decade.
According to aStanford study of 16,000 workers done over nine months, working from home enhances productivity by 13%. Workers in the same research reported higher job satisfaction and a 50% reduction in attrition rates.
Whether they are a parent, carers, or pet owners, today’s remote employees must juggle a multitude of duties while working from home. Many employees have struggled to reconcile the obligations of their business with the needs of their families or households. This is why the concept of work-life balance is often tossed around. Employers, on the other hand, have acknowledged that each employee is unique. To ensure self-managed and independent personnel, several firms choose to offer personality-like assessments in the workplace.
What does business as usual mean now? How have last year’s events changed the future of work? How has employee engagement changed? New business models, exponential technology, agile working methods, and regulation are constantly changing how organizations work. Let’s take a closer look at lessons learned through the experiences of employee engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world was shaken, and despite the negative effects of the recent global health crisis, we can all agree on one thing: We learned a lot in terms of organizational change and growth. After businesses were forced to close their offices and manage all their employees remotely, the learning curve for managers was initially steep. Yet this new way of functioning has brought valuable lessons about how to boost employee engagement that should not be forgotten in the new normal.
Employee engagement refers to the emotional commitment an employee has to their organization and its employees, vision, and goals. It is not only about employee satisfaction, high salaries, or benefits packages. Employees who are engaged in their work and committed to their organizations give companies crucial competitive advantages, such as higher productivity and lower employee turnover.
So, let’s see some lessons and how some companies managed their organizations and increased engagement in a virtual environment.
1. Choose a supportive management approach.
Some companies have been allowing their employees to work from home even before the pandemic hit. They already have rules and ways to manage teams remotely. Other organizations were completely surprised when the lockdowns happened, having no procedures or ways to manage and assess employees in a remote work setup. Some common online methods used were daily or weekly team meetings and frequent 1-1 check-ins.
For many, having frequent check-ins led to a micro-goal setting and allowed employees to receive constant feedback. This coaching approach has led to performance improvement. It also allows management to easily assess and measure progress while also boosting team productivity, which, in turn, keeps employees engaged and gives them a sense of purpose and achievement in reaching goals.
INMAGINE’s remote working environment was quick to adopt best practices in the areas of employee engagement and retention. This creative company founded in 2001 started an anonymous online feedback channel for employees to share anything, assuring them that lines of communication are open. They have also formed peer support groups according to six personality types. It serves as a platform for employees to exchange stories and thoughts not just about their jobs but also their personal lives.
2. Assure a flexible and positive work environment.
For most employees, a change in the environment has become the biggest challenge. It is felt in the transition from being physically present in the office, where one can focus on work, to working at home, where varying contrasts abound, such as being alone or having young children or elderly to care for., All of these could be disruptive to any workflow.
That said, the flexible working environment that most employees experienced during COVID-19 has changed our understanding of work-life balance. Working from home has allowed employees to do their work and attend to personal needs (e.g. taking care of children, elderly, and pets and running errands) simultaneously. This has served as a reminder to managers that several non-work-related factors can affect an employee’s mindset and engagement.
Employees have proven the ability to maintain the balance between work and personal needs, albeit through a forced testing period. In the post-COVID period, management must not forget the importance of constantly creating a positive work environment for their employees. This must include ensuring that work fits into their employees’ lives and not the other way around. When employees feel that their personal needs are valued by management, their emotional connection to the organization is strengthened, and they are more likely to stay.
3. Encourage trust in leadership.
During these challenging times, employees had to trust their leaders to take the right direction and to make tough decisions about the future. A key part of trust in leadership is transparency, which means employees are aware of what is happening within their organization. This is particularly important during a work-from-home scenario, where employees rely on leaders to make crucial decisions for the future of their jobs and the organization. This is why clear, open communication between management and employees on how the organization is tackling COVID-19 is crucial.
At INMAGINE, online meetups with founders and online mentoring sessions with the CEO allowed employees of all levels to engage directly with senior management leaders. In these sessions, employees can freely ask questions and solicit feedback. Having a good collaboration platform is another example of how INMAGINE eases the challenges of working from home. INMAGINE uses Bitrix to keep employees updated on work matters, enable employees to chat live online, and create workgroups for discussions and brainstorming. The tech team advocates extra tools to help manage projects and people, Jira. This ensures that all deadlines are crystal clear to everyone, and the pipeline of each project journey is clearly outlined.
4. Build a virtual office watercooler.
For decades, practitioners have gathered around office watercoolers to catch up with colleagues. Casual conversations run the gambit from professional to personal topics. If you and your team are missing these chats, why not create a virtual watercooler so they can continue even if you are not physically in an office? Establish an “Around the Watercooler” team on the Microsoft Teams platform where team members can start or engage in random conversations throughout the day when they need a break. Add an optional standing “Watercooler Conversation” on Zoom during the week to encourage this type of interaction. If your firm uses Slack, check out the Watercooler app, where bots organize random conversations among team members. Ask your employees what platform is best for them.
5. Make a virtual remix of the firm’s favorite tax season activities.
Bring back the friendly atmosphere from the fun activities you used to have by creating new virtual versions. Incorporate a “crazy hat day” or “wear your favorite sports team attire” in virtual check-ins. Ask individuals to share interesting backstories about what they are wearing, then vote for the best attire. Host monthly lunch celebrations online to recognize your team’s accomplishments. To add to the excitement, have a meal from a restaurant client delivered to the team. How about a bracket selection party for Christmas, New Year Celebration, or other types of celebrations.
6. Reward good efforts.
People want to know that they are appreciated, especially when they work additional hours to help the company achieve its goals. Make it a priority to acknowledge your team members for their hard work. Share success stories during meetings. Pick up the phone, initiate a quick Zoom call, send an email, or write a personal note to say “thank you.” Tell them how much their dedication means to you and the management. Send them a gift card from their favorite restaurant or store, movie tickets, or other types of incentives. Do all you can to make your staff feel appreciated and valued. A little recognition can make the difference between an engaged employee and one that has a foot out the door.
To inspire trust in leadership in the post-COVID-19 period, we recommend having frequent check-ins and transparent conversations between top management, head of departments, and employees to feel included in what is happening within the organization. Moreover, it is also imperative for employees to learn about individual growth opportunities.
Leaders who invest in the learning and development of their employees will be encouraging engagement. Learning can be provided not only through professional education and training but also through constructive feedback, a crucial element in achieving a learning organization status. These practices will boost employee engagement and help organizations to retain their employees for the longer term.