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3 down-and-dirty pointers: onboarding in a hybrid world

  • Posted on: 21 July 2022
  • By: Hushoffice Team

Hybrid onboarding is no small feat. How to familiarize the hire with subtle cultural values? How to ensure they link up with all the right stakeholders? How to gauge where they’re at (mentally and emotionally) every step of the way? Time to retool for our new way of work.

3 down-and-dirty pointers: onboarding in a hybrid world

Onboarding in a hybrid world – tl;dr

  1. Prioritize in-person one-on-ones (between a new hire and their manager)

  2. Employ the buddy system — pair hires with a main point of contact

  3. Play long by setting short-term goals

The first 90 days of employment are make-or-break.

20% of employee turnover happens in the first 90 days of employment. Considerable given all the resources that go into vetting out and bringing on a new teammate; it costs about $4,000 on average to fill an open position. Compound that with the cost in time and energy, of course.

Fact is, there’s less leeway for onboarding shortcomings in a hybrid world.

Today, new employees are more susceptible to isolation because they don’t get as much face-to-face interaction in the office. They don’t have as many chances to put faces to names, so they don’t have as many chances to form solid, supportive bonds with coworkers.

The hushHybrid video booth makes your connection to remote colleagues stronger on calls.
The hushHybrid video booth makes your connection to remote colleagues stronger on calls.

Now is the time to overhaul your onboarding practices, ensuring they make new hires feel welcomed and supported whether they’re working virtually or on-site

– says Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager, Hushoffice.

The quicker the hire takes wing, the sooner you’ll see a return on investment.

In fact, employees who enjoy excellent onboarding are shown to be 50% more productive in their first year on the job. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that only 29% of new hires feel fully prepared and supported after being brought on. A winning onboarding protocol is the ticket.

Tip #1: Prioritize in-person one-on-ones (between a new hire and their manager)

The value of regular one-on-ones is well-documented. In adopting bi-weekly one-on-ones, Adobe reduced voluntary turnover by 30% while GE five folded their productivity. Early and often is the way — employees who get twice as many one-on-ones as their peers are 67% less likely to be disengaged.

HushMeet.S is quiet and private. A comfortable space for candid talk.
HushMeet.S is quiet and private. A comfortable space for candid talk.

Effective onboarding depends on a good manager-employee relationship.

It’s estimated that 70% of the variance in employee engagement is caused by a person’s manager. It follows that new hires are 3.5X more likely to be happy when their managers play an active role. Relationships with management are actually recognized as the #1 factor in job satisfaction.

Managers should be checking in with their new hire (at least virtually) on a daily basis.

Check-ins don’t have to be long and they don’t have to be formal. Just 15 minutes on where the new hire is at — what they’re excited about, confused about, stuck on. That’ll do. A bit of time is all it takes to resolve little hang-ups, preventing big ones from developing.

Tip #2: Employ the buddy system — pair hires with a main point of contact

An “onboarding buddy,” as Microsoft calls it. A go-to. New hires with assigned buddies are 23% happier with their onboarding than hires without. In fact, 86% of new hires that meet with a buddy 4-8 times in their first 90 days on the job say their buddy helped them become productive right away.

A buddy can be the hire’s direct manager or any peer qualified to help.

They should understand the hire’s role well — perhaps a veteran executive that knows the ropes and can ensure their new colleague gets well-acclimated.

What makes a good buddy?

Buddies should be sociable — whole-heartedly committed to setting their new peer up for triumph. They should be highly engaged. A “people” person who easily bonds with others. And buddies must have time and energy for the cause — devoting due attention whenever it’s needed.

HushMeet.open is the best booth for brief discussions among stakeholders.
HushMeet.open is the best booth for brief discussions among stakeholders.

What does a buddy do?

A buddy answers random questions. Redirects specialized ones to appropriate people. Links the hire with all the right people. They make onboarding more seamless, giving the lay of the land more quickly and effectively than any welcoming packet could.

The buddy system benefits the buddy as much as it does the fresh employee. New blood is approaching your company’s niche for the very first time. They’re asking smart questions that can have people thinking in a different way. A curious person determined to succeed will be challenging every assumption. And of course, teaching is one of the finest ways to integrate — as your buddy describes key systems and processes, they themselves will get deeper understanding

– says Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager, Hushoffice.

Tip #3: Play long by setting short-term goals

The main thing to keep in mind when bringing someone on is that the first few weeks of employment set the tone. You want to make their experience positive and productive enough to keep them around.

HushWork.sit&stand work pod with height-adjustable tabletop
Private workspaces are essential. Employees need access to the kind of peace-and-quiet found in hushWork.sit&stand to perform at their best.

Their initial weeks determine whether an employee is excited to show up for work or in dread by month two — whether they’re effortlessly collecting info needed for their first project, or hindered by uncertainty around who to reach out to. Setting small, manageable goals is one way to get some positive momentum. Maybe this looks like setting meetings with all their key people. Or having them prepare and present a few slides on the supply chain. The idea is to get them fully immersed, making connections, engaging with colleagues for constructive feedback

– says Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager, Hushoffice.

Every hit and miss had out the gates set into motion a positive or negative feedback loop.

Each hit (a measurable metric… a novel insight…) is encouraging; each miss (a miscommunication… an avoidable blunder on call…), discouraging.

A11 contemporary lounge chair
Regroup in A11. Return to work refreshed.

Note that the little wins make the big ones possible.

As your new hire picks up speed with every hit (every small win), their appetite for the big ones increases. In step with their stickwithiveness, no doubt. So short-term, achievable goals are the stepping stones toward major ones, making for long-term retention.

After all, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Short-term goals act as checkpoints breaking up the first 90 days into manageable bits. Should your hire hit the nail on the head, their efforts are recognized. Should they miss the mark on any goal, their manager spots it, getting them back on track. In both cases, morale stays healthily high.

Onboarding in a hybrid world – tl;dr

  1. Prioritize in-person one-on-ones (between a new hire and their manager)

  2. Employ the buddy system — pair hires with a main point of contact

  3. Play long by setting short-term goals

Onboarding in a hybrid world – frequently asked questions

What is one best practice to onboarding employees in a hybrid workplace?

Employ the buddy system. New hires with assigned buddies are 23% more satisfied with their onboarding than hires without.

What kind of office booth is best for onboarding new teammates?

The hushMeet.S 2–person booth is practically meant for onboarding. It’s a comfortable space for new teammates to meet with their manager on a frequent basis.

What’s the best way to onboard a new hire?

Implement regular one-on-ones (between a hire and their manager). Pair the hire with a main point of contact or “onboarding buddy”. And set short term goals, giving them a few wins for positive momentum out the gates.

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