Much of the business world is facing an unknown future when looking into 2022 and beyond.
A third year into the pandemic and the situation has remained largely unchanged: many employers want their workforce back in the office but employees wish to continue working flexibly when it comes to how they divide their workdays between the office and at home (Future Forum). The solution? A new hybrid work model that finds a balance between office time and remote working and allows employees to work on-location between 1 and 4 days a week.
Employee vs employer: hybrid, or not?
A study by Fosway supports that notion, stating that 62% of surveyed HR professionals expect their workforce to be at the office for less than 2 days per week. The main reason for adhering to the workers preference? Improving employee engagement, business productivity and effectiveness.
Reports by Accenture forecast that the successful company of the future embraces such a hybrid work model, showing that 63% of high-revenue growth companies have already adopted the model. On the flipside, 69% of companies with negative or no growth are refusing the idea of hybrid workforces and continue to push for an in-person, office-centered future.
So is this hybrid work model the future? What does that mean for my organization? And most importantly, how do I support my hybrid workforce in every step of their employee journey? In this blog, we will help you shift the gears towards the future by showing how to incorporate the hybrid work model in your onboarding program.
Implementing the 6 C's in your hybrid onboarding program
Employee onboarding can be simplified with the SHRM foundation’s theory of the 4 C’s of Onboarding. Compliance, Clarification, Connection and Culture define the essential components of a good, effective onboarding process. But particularly in the COVID-induced remote work environment the need for two other components emerged: confidence and checkback.
But more about the relevance of those later. Let’s have a look at ways to transform the components of your onboarding program to set yourself up for success in the hybrid work environment:
Compliance describes the process of teaching new employees elemental legal and company-specific rules and regulations. Compliance is often seen as the entry level of onboarding as it generally refers to essential steps that need to be taken as a new employee starts their journey at your company. This can for example start with completing important paperwork or equipping the new hire with a laptop and phone.
In the hybrid work environment, these universal compliance aspects need to be communicated to remote or in-person new hires in a similar yet personalised manner. To ensure the best employee experience when getting your new joiners started, an interactive digital tool allows you to present information timely and in a more engaging way. Making it easy to digest with games, interactive quizzes and videos. Check out Appical if you are looking for help with this C.
Clarification refers to how well new employees understand their new role and performance expectations that come with it. By creating personalized onboarding journeys depending on the location, department and specific role of each new hire you can ensure they only receive the information that is relevant to them. This prevents an overload of information and makes sure the most important information gets communicated at the right time. Especially in a hybrid work setting, the right timing to be clear and transparent about the expectations that come with each diverse role is crucial. That is why we recommend setting up custom to-do checklists for your managers or buddys that communicate this information. That way, they have the overview to ensure new hires have everything to hit the ground running.
Tip: Consider setting up a 100-day plan, mapping out the whole first 100 days of new hires within your organization. This includes combining virtual and physical performance check-ins to ensure your new talent stays in the clear of his role and performance expectations past the onboarding stage.
The 3rd “C” stands for culture. Culture includes providing employees with a sense for the formal and informal organizational norms at their new company. Don’t underestimate that onboarding, specifically in a hybrid work situation, serves as one of the core means to form, maintain and impact your organizational culture. It furthermore provides a great way to not only teach your new employees about your company's history, mission or vision but also empowers HR to get a finger on the pulse of where your organization is growing towards, because your new talent sets up the basis of your organization's future.
To give your hybrid workforce the most authentic introduction into what matters at your organization, a mix of engaging physical introduction days on-location and virtual onboarding content like personal videos or fun quizzes will turn them into brand ambassadors from day 1.
Connection makes up the deepest layer of the 4 C’s of onboarding. It is commonly used to describe the important interpersonal relationships and connections that new employees must establish as they onboard a new company. Nothing makes a new hire more engaged than making them feel understood, connected and safe from the start. Especially if they face their first weeks working remotely, setting up a good connection via virtual coffee dates with team members or colleagues from other departments can be absolutely crucial. Who else embodies your organization’s culture as well as your workforce?
For your office workers, walking into a room of familiar faces can make all the difference on the first day, that is why we introduce them to the rest of the department via the people finder in their preboarding process. Including a short profile gives your remote hires the ability to find out more about the colleagues they maybe haven’t had the chance to (digitally) meet yet. You get the idea right? By the way, coffee dates are also great for your office-workers to get to know their new lunch neighbour or fellow music enthusiast.
The fifth “C” is confidence. Confidence refers to how much new employees feel like they can do their job well and tackle the new challenge. One way to increase your employees' confidence early is to empower them to contribute to early success moments. This makes them more likely to feel positive about the decision to join your organization and counters costly attrition. Outside of performance-related confirmation, delivering a warm, caring first impression with personalised welcome gifts at the office or sent to your new hires’ home can go the extra mile and fuel your new hires confidence.
Tip: Particularly your full-remote employees might wonder “Am I going to matter as a remote employee? How will people see what I am doing?” That is why it is important to communicate transparently how their work will matter and in what ways digital tools, buddys and managers are there to support them. For example, check out our guides for buddies and managers to build a personal connection with new employees even remotely.
Checkback is the latest addition to the “C’s of onboarding.” Digital technology empowers you to set up continuous feedback loops to track and analyze data. This early into the adaption of the hybrid work model, it is vital to collect all the feedback you can get to help you find out important insights about what is going well and what isn’t in your onboarding program.
For a more personal checkback, we recommend placing short engagement polls at the end of a chapter in your digital onboarding program and use the input to steer the conversation during in-depth manager or HR check-ins in person.
Continuously improve your hybrid onboarding program
Creating a hybrid onboarding playbook will help you shift gears towards the future. But keep in mind: embodying the hybrid work model in your onboarding program requires you to be flexible. Think about how to provide information the right way, and continuously optimize the onboarding journeys based on the changing demands of your workforce.