The Challenges of Recruiting and Onboarding Remote Employees in Virtual Workplaces

The Recruitment and Onboarding of New Employees in Virtual Workplaces

With much of the corporate world operating virtually and where WFH or Work from Home is the New Normal, HR (Human Resources) personnel find it challenging to conduct regular HR work in such models.

This is because unlike in physical offices, they cannot come face to face with employees and find out from them about their problems as well as communicate to them about the mandates of their managers and employers.

This is especially so in case of recruitment and Onboarding of new recruits that is challenging for all parties.

Moreover, HR staff has to go by what the applicants say online and over Zoom as they do not have the chance to figure out subtle cues and body language that often happens when people meet face to face.

In addition, the vibes and the chemistry between the recruiters and the jobseekers have to be gauged virtually in the absence of physical contact.

Apart from this, Onboarding, or the process of taking new employees through the paces is challenging as well since such new recruits cannot be given a tour of the office or meet with other senior managers.

Why Training and Onboarding Can Become Challenging in Virtual Workplaces

Indeed, remote work is imposing its own sets of challenges on HR professionals and recruiting and Onboarding are some of the manifestations of such challenges.

Imagine being recruited online and then inducted into the firm virtually. Neither would one get the chance to familiarize themselves with other co-workers nor an opportunity to feel the comfort level with the organization, its workplace culture, and other aspects.

Of course, there are apps such as Slack, which minimize the discomfort of team communications virtually.

In addition, Zoom meetings can be organized in such a way that they become warm and welcoming to the new recruits.

Moreover, in the United States, remote work had already caught on much before the pandemic struck and hence, corporates there are better prepared with the challenges of recruiting and Onboarding remote workers.

As far as Indian corporates are concerned, there is some catching up to do (literally and figuratively) as far as hiring, training, and retaining remote workers are concerned.

Indeed, training is another aspect that is challenging as much corporate training involves group activities and physical collaboration between the attendees.

Therefore, this is another challenge for HR professionals as they navigate the Post Pandemic New Normal World.

The Present Moment Must be Seen as the Transition to the Long Awaited Digital Age

Having said that, one way of looking at these challenges is to reassure oneself that the long awaited Digital Age is upon us.

Indeed, going by the present trends, it is clear that the Pandemic has accelerated the Onset of the Digital Age and hence, it is better for all stakeholders to prepare and adjust to this new paradigm accordingly.

For instance, recruitment and Onboarding of employees needs a New Rules of Conduct that is relevant for the Digital Age.

Therefore, it is better for the HR function in all corporates to update the guidelines and the procedures for Onboarding and rollout the New Rules.

For instance, there are many activities within the Onboarding process that do not require physical contact.

Most forms and other Data Collection processes can be done digitally as are the formalities such as Verifying Certificates that can be done using Digital Lockers.

In addition, most meetings with Managers and co-workers can be handled over Zoom. For those processes such as Provident Fund and Tax Computations, the government is already in the process of taking them online and hence, going forward, this should not be a challenge. Moreover, physical forms can always be couriered as well.

Why HR Personnel Need to Embrace Agile Methodologies and Smart Working

So, the picture that one is getting here is that Recruitment and Onboarding need not be that challenging provided some Agile and Smart adjustments to the New Normal are made.

Talking about Agile, it has become the norm for contemporary workplaces in the Post Pandemic world to embrace agile methodologies as Self Contained and Self Sufficient Modular Teams reduce the burden on the organizational structures and processes in the transition from physical to virtual.

Therefore, it is our argument that going forward, Agile HR teams and what more, even regular teams in organizations can have HR personnel as members so that Recruitment and Onboarding becomes specific to each team rather than on a company wide basis.

Indeed, the possibilities for transitioning to the Digital Paradigm are endless and all that it needs is imagination and creativity as well as a commitment to make Virtual Workplaces as productive as/ more productive than their physical counterparts.

In addition, HR personnel would need to embrace paperless offices so that physical contact is minimized and towards this end, it is better for them to learn some new skills such as working with advanced tools and apps that can help them transition to virtual workplaces.

Responsibilities of New Recruits

Last, the new recruits too must adjust to the remote modes of working.

Typically, Onboarding entails intensive training for a few weeks before they are allotted teams and hence, they must not bunk such trainings, though they are virtual.

In addition, it is incumbent upon them to familiarize themselves as much as possible with the new employers and towards this end, they need to be proactive by taking the lead to get to know their co-workers, or for that matter, colleagues out of the specific teams they are assigned to so that they have a wider circle of organizational contacts.

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Human Resource Management