Techniques to effectively onboard during crisis time

With the current pandemic, businesses are having to change and adapt to the new market and hiring conditions. A recent survey suggested 34% are heavily affected/not hiring due to Covid19 however that means 66% are still growing their businesses. Some of these growth-minded businesses, including our clients, are having to adjust and in some cases, completely change the way they hire and onboard candidates.

Companies globally have onboarding procedures that focus on face-to-face interaction. The reliance on face-to-face onboarding is proving problematic at a time of crisis and this is likely cause issues if you are looking to expand your business across new territories or have full-time remote employees. We have been working with our clients to help them pivot, to successfully onboard their new hires and minimise the employee ‘time to effectiveness’ as much as possible. We thought we would share some tips to help you map out your onboarding processes, which will not only be relevant throughout the current Covid-19 pandemic but will likely be very relevant in the future world.

The below tips are general but have worked successfully across our current focus of sales and technical hires.

The number of people working remotely has increased by 159% since 2005 – it’s crucial to have a high-quality remote onboarding experience. (1)

Clear onboarding process

We have found that by educating candidates about the onboarding processes throughout the hiring process, it significantly increases their interest and therefore has a direct result on offer acceptance rates when an offer is presented to the candidate at the end of the hiring process and will make the onboarding process smooth for all concerned. It is important to constantly manage candidate expectations and broaden their understanding of your company, role, colleagues, culture and much more as you move people through the recruiting process. Whether you have an internal recruitment team or work with external recruitment partners, it is important to ensure that the process is joined up and messaging to candidates is consistent throughout the process.

Key points:

  • Giving candidates an understanding of processes (CRM tool and process as one example).
  • Building a picture of a typical day, put them in touch with existing employees.
  • Provide candidates with case studies of recent projects.
  • Have conversations with your recruiter about incorporating these conversations and collateral into the recruitment process.

If a candidate has a great onboarding experience they are 69% more likely to stay with a company for three years. (2) Up to 20% of staff turnover happens during individuals’ first 45 days with an organisation. (3)

Understanding your candidate’s personality and motivations

Understanding your candidate’s skills and experience is important, but by understanding each individual’s personality and motivations early into the hiring process makes a big difference when presenting an offer. Each candidate’s personality varies and these personalities respond uniquely to different onboarding techniques. This is why it is crucial to understand what exactly makes your candidates motivated and feeling like a part of your team as early as possible.

Key points:

  • Discover what has worked for them in the past with onboarding.
  • Ask candidates what will help them to get effective as fast as possible – make it a two-way conversation, not a rigid process.
  • Ask them to do a psychometric assessment or personality test as part of your onboarding process to understand what candidates respond to, both positively and negatively.

89% of hiring failures are due to poor cultural fit. Cultural fit can be measured through personality, motivations and values. (4)

Develop a virtual buddy system for remote hires

Developing a buddy system is vitally important, particularly when teams are working remotely. The buddy system has proven to result in the new employee feeling “part of the team” and “cared about” which will affect their mood, attitude and ultimately their quality of work and performance.

Key points:

  • Daily check-ins with their colleagues.
  • Virtual lunches and coffee mornings.
  • Quiz or Game Fridays (One of our clients ran a virtual poker tournament – play chips only!).
  • Success and goal tracking for both colleagues.

56% of new hires who met with their onboarding buddy at least once in their first 90 days indicated that their buddy helped them to quickly become productive in their role. That percentage increased to 73% for those who met two to three times with their buddy, 86% for those who met four to eight times, and 97% for those who met more than eight times in their first 90 days. (5)

Technology Stack

Technology can be a tricky subject, as some colleagues are more tech-savvy than others (look around in your next virtual team meeting – you know who the suspects are). When onboarding colleagues remotely, it is important to make sure that your colleague has everything they need at once, with clear instructions on how to use the important things to get them effective as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is for the colleague to be on the phone to IT for the first week!

Key points:

  • Discover if candidates need any extra equipment before the first tech package is sent (wrist support, extra monitor, mouse preference).
  • Provide candidates with a time slot to run through all of their technology, tools and questions – with IT or your company’s nearest equivalent.
  • Make sure your companies technology processes are clearly documented, should candidates need to refer to them.

42% of those surveyed said that they didn’t have a computer or laptop ready for them when they started. 37% mentioned they weren’t given full training, just little bits here and there. (6)

Understanding Candidates Expectations and Feedback

This step can be crucial to keeping candidates engaged and focused. This step can also be fed into the recruitment process and can be used to understand what the candidate is expecting from their onboarding, what experiences they have had with remote onboarding in the past, and then making sure you surpass those expectations.

Making sure you open a transparent feedback loop is also vital for management to understand how the candidate is feeling throughout the onboarding process. You want to make sure the candidate doesn’t become disenfranchised and make sure your company doesn’t lose credibility.

Key points:

  • Have conversations with the candidate throughout the recruitment process around their expectations and past experiences.
  • Develop a transparent and honest onboarding feedback loop with frequent catch-ups and time to discuss onboarding.
  • Aim to make candidates onboarding experience smooth and affective against past experiences.
  • Develop a welcome pack that contains relevant information about the dress code, benefits and company policies – again this information should have been fed back throughout the recruitment process.
  • Stand out! Why not try gamification in your onboarding process?
  • Put effort into this stage, and you will reap the rewards in high-quality work and quickly.



Our customers are finding that these tips, along with high-quality candidates and a thorough recruitment process are really helping their business to onboard candidates and drive their business forward. These tips are designed to be beneficial for your company but also greatly improve your candidate’s experience, and leave them valued and able to do their best work, as efficiently and smoothly as possible. We would love to hear your thoughts! Please reach out if you use these tips and we would love to get your feedback – do you have any other tips you could share?

src: https://www.flexjobs.com (1)
src: https://www.shrm.org/ (2)
src: https://www.octanner.com/ (3)
src: https://www.leadershipiq.com/ (4)
src: https://hbr.org/ (Microsoft case-study) (5)
src: http://www.webonboarding.com/ (6)