Tips for Employee Orientation During COVID-19

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek April 27, 2020
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This is the fourth in a series of compilations of answers to #NextChat questions of the day about how people are working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do you onboard new employees when travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders are in place? In a recent #NextChat, Mary Kaylor, SHRM-SCP, manager of public affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), asked people to share tips on how they are making new employees feel welcome during a global pandemic.

The following eight tips are a compilation of some of the LinkedIn and Twitter responses.

SHRM Resource Spotlight
Coronavirus and COVID-19

1. Introductory Phone Call 

I find that it's helpful to have an introduction call with a new employee to welcome them and explain the onboarding process and timeline. Let them know you are accessible throughout the process. Provide clear and concise instructions. Regular follow-up on their progress is helpful. 
Letitia "Tish" Stanton, recruiting and talent consultant for Triad Consulting in Cincinnati, on LinkedIn.  

2. Send a Welcome E-Mail 

Regardless of whether or not your company has an onboarding portal, there're also other clever ways to conduct a [warm] welcome to new employees that will come in handy. First of all, connecting via video to share a nice moment with them and show how delighted we are that he or she will be joining the team. On the other hand, sharing a link about the company's mission, its history and how it contributes to the planet and society could be a good idea to start engaging them with the organization's culture. In addition, you can also send them a welcome e-mail telling how excited the company is to have them onboard, and provide valuable information like available resources, access to their e-mails, the organization's chart, communication tools, and so forth. Creativity always pays off when we are forced to go beyond our possibilities. 
Mauricio Soldi, formerly of Experis Peru, a ManpowerGroup in Lima, on LinkedIn.  

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing the Employee Onboarding and Assimilation Process]  

3. Use Video to Connect 

Try to connect via video if at all possible so you can better share a smile and warmth at the delight it is to welcome them to your team. Share your contact information, set up a cadence of meetings to check in and encourage them to reach out to you with questions at any time during the process. I like to let new hires know that their primary responsibility is to be a sponge and that additional expectations will follow. After this initial conversation, provide them with an e-mail reiterating their welcome, and to convey any additional resources they have available and where to find them. 
Alyssa Holmes, associate service manager for Tesla Mobile Services in the greater Boston area, on LinkedIn.  

4. Team Greeting 

Arrange for a video call and have the entire team there to greet your new employee. Go around the virtual room and let them introduce themselves, explain their roles and how each one can help. Make sure to have an agenda for your call and stick to it. Encourage the team to schedule individual meetings that week with your new employee. You can also gamify these individual meetings by giving your new employee a list of things to find via a "scavenger hunt" format! Have fun and enjoy! 
Bez Rengifo, senior manager at Loma Linda University Health Care in Loma Linda, Calif., on LinkedIn.  

5. Send Them the Employee Handbook 

Sharing the employee handbook via e-mail (Well drafted, covering all basic and important information). 
Muhammad Rizwan, HR manager at Rehman Medical Institute in Pakistan, on LinkedIn.  

6. Have Equipment Ready to Use

If your company supplied the equipment (i.e., laptop), have all applications already downloaded and ready to use. 
Faith Stipanovich, SHRM-SCP, field services director at SHRM and based in Pittsburgh, on LinkedIn.  

7. Mock Orientations

8. Check-Ins


Other articles in this series:
For Better or Worse During COVID-19: Sharing Telework Space
Bone Broth Cleanse, Push-Up Clubs: HR Pros Share COVID-19 Workout Routines
Juggling Child Care with Telework? Here Are Some Tips

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