Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the workforce was thrust into a remote environment. Companies had to quickly transition employees and clients to online platforms. Overnight, many employees went from full time in office to working remotely from home. Interviewing, training, and employee engagement posed the greatest hardships with this new work arrangement. So, what are some of the “wins” and “opportunities” to ensure that effective communication can be accomplished in this environment?
In many cases, the interview process went from in-person to virtual with the use of virtual platforms such as MS Teams and Zoom. The feedback that we receive is that both companies and candidates seem to enjoy this switch. Less time is being spent in the car, and more time is being spent on getting the work accomplished, not having to be in so many onsite meetings. It also allows more people to be involved in the interview process that may have been left out due to being in a different location or traveling for work. Often times, the office visit itself is eliminated, or saved for a final round in order to help the prospective employee get a feel for the office setup.
While the interview process has arguably become easier, the onboarding process certainly has not. New hires are finding themselves isolated and unsure of their role in the new company, often struggling to build new relationships that might help them put down roots faster. Companies who adjusted their onboarding process to intentionally include diverse members of the team and management in initial training & onboarding have seen better outcomes. Candidates are certainly still looking to be mentored and are curious about what their growth will look like, and how it will be fostered, in this new remote heavy environment. Communication and frequent checks ins are key! Some companies have employed the assignment of “buddies” as informal mentors to support employee integration with culture and answer questions that might feel less comfortable given the remote setup.
Employee engagement continues to be a challenge for all companies, small and large alike. Intentional interactions between employees, management, and leadership seem to take the prize for driving engagement. Companies that encourage some sort of teambuilding activities, whether in-person or remote, have seen a spike in employee morale. These interactions are meant to boost employee satisfaction and keep employees connected to one other, management, and leadership. Online options for e-teambuilding events have proliferated and can be inexpensive and relatively simple to implement, with a big cultural “bang for your buck.” Overall, companies have seen the need for intentional, direct and more frequent communication with employees on a very different level then when they were in the office. Utilizing virtual tools such as video chats, instant messages, and online platforms are crucial. Picking up the phone to discuss a topic versus sending what might arguably be faster via email is a great idea! Those few moments of direct connection can make a real difference. With all the software available, communication has been made easier and more accessible.
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