How can I… onboard staff in hybrid workplaces?
Onboarding new staff

How should I onboard a new employee to my team?

The strongest relationships that most employees will have at work are with their immediate team. Indeed, research shows that these relationships are most important for helping new staff settle. In a hybrid working environment, it is crucial that you communicate clearly with new employees what your and the organisation’s expectations are.  

  1. Schedule frequent in-person days and design them to help new team members settle

The early relationships that new staff form will be much stronger if they can meet with their colleagues in person. Teams should, where possible, be in the office for a new employee’s first day and also meet up more frequently when a new member of staff starts. These in-person days should be deliberately designed to include activities or meetings (e.g. a team lunch or collaborative activities) that will help new staff to form relationships, both personal and professional. 

  1. Create a ‘Manual of Me’ with new employees and share it with the team

This is a document where people can explain how they work best, both individually and within a team. It is a very useful tool to help new colleagues understand how to get the best out of each other. It also sets the tone early on that a team is serious about being high-performing. LOTI has created a ‘Manual of Me’ template and recommends following this process.

  1. Meet with staff in person to onboard them

Microsoft research found that if managers play an active role in onboarding, the new employee is 3.5 times more likely to say they were satisfied with their onboarding experience. In a hybrid working environment, LOTI strongly recommends that managers deliberately set aside time for regular one-on-ones with new hires (perhaps more deliberately than they would in a fully in-person environment) to help staff settle in their first weeks.

  1. Assign ‘onboarding buddies’

When someone starts a new job in a new organisation, they will undoubtedly have questions, challenges and uncertainties. With hybrid working, this may be compounded by being spread across multiple workplaces at different times. 

An onboarding buddy can help with small issues in a way a manager might not be able to. One study found that the more often onboarding buddies meet, the faster a new member of staff feels they can ‘work at full productivity’, and that new staff are 23% more satisfied with their onboarding when they have a buddy

Onboarding buddies should:

  • Aim to be in the office on the same days as the new member of staff for their first few weeks of work
  • Ideally report to the same manager so they can help teach new hires what the manager expects of them
  • Role model good behaviour, both online and offline (e.g. taking computer breaks or logging off at sensible hours when working remotely)
  • Have frequent (daily or every other day), short, informal catch-up calls
  1. Create a digital onboarding strategy

Even within one organisation, teams will have their own habits and ways of working, both in person and digitally. A digital onboarding strategy, such as this one that you can add to Microsoft Teams, might be useful

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