It’s no surprise a majority of the workforce in Asia have said goodbye to their offices. And recent research shows that they aren’t going back any time soon. One study conducted by Jobstreet in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group and The Network, found that out of 60,000 employees surveyed in Asia, only 7% prefer a completely onsite work arrangement. And most respondents expressed a preference for flexible work locations or a hybrid work arrangement moving forward, where showing up in the office for a day’s work is limited to only a few days a week.
The physical work space is fast becoming a relic, driven to near-extinction by a global pandemic that accelerated digital transformation and reshaped the future of work. Taking its place is the amorphous but hugely popular hybrid working model, which presents a unique set of challenges for HR and IT leaders to overcome, given that its success depends on two critical factors – the human side, defined by a people-focused approach, and the technology side which is a function of IT-enablement.
These two factors play a delicate dance throughout the entire employee lifecycle, starting with the onboarding process, which has seen an uptick in being executed remotely in the Asian work landscape. Traditional orientations held at the office auditorium seem long-forgotten, but any organization worth its salt will take a page from old traditions and refract some of its benefits in the latest iteration known as remote onboarding.
An effective onboarding program, complemented by the right digital adoption technologies, is critical if new hires are to become familiar with the organization, their colleagues and their role, and get up to speed quickly. For those not accustomed to working in a wholly virtual workplace, remote onboarding can be challenging, so it is critical to proactively address these challenges in order to create a great onboarding experience.
Done the right way, remote onboarding can have a material impact on employee engagement and productivity. Both will be critical for enterprises in the region that hope to survive and thrive through the volatile and uncertain times to come. For that reason, it’s vital to ensure your organization has an effective remote onboarding strategy which leads to employee engagement and retention – the very harbingers of high-performance teams.
Here are 5 ways that can simplify the remote onboarding process:
- Self-service tools – A digitally-enabled workforce offers a plethora of self-service solutions to improve HR productivity, ease the onboarding process, save time, drive better bottom-line outcomes and enhance the remote onboarding experience through employee empowerment. Examples of these are dashboards, chatbots, or a knowledge base which can be deployed for a range of applications including training, technical support, and HR services.
- Employee monitoring – Refers to the use of software monitoring tools and software analytics to serve several key functions, such as evaluating the digital adoption of your software, assessing the digital dexterity of your employees in order to provide relevant assistance, process mining for greater efficiency, and tracking the progress of your employees’ remote onboarding. Used with care, these analytics offer employers valuable data about the onboarding process, the ROI of their tech stack, and how to streamline business processes in general.
- Continual communication – To compensate for a lack of in-person engagement which may breed a sense of isolation and disconnectedness among employees in a remote work setting, organizations must have a well-crafted communication strategy which fosters feelings of inclusion and belonging which enhances performance and productivity.
- Remote training solutions – Training and development requirements have exponentially increased in the digital workforce, which is left with little choice but to get up to speed with the dizzying pace of technological advancement. It is up to HR and IT leaders to seek the right business software to accelerate onboarding and training for the remote workforce. At the very least, it should provide remote access to a set of training features that include: software walkthroughs, around-the-clock self-service support, communication tools, and software usage analytics.
- Instilling the company culture – Instilling and maintaining the organizational culture across the distributed workforce is a huge challenge. When some employees work remotely and others work onsite, the two teams may develop distinctly different cultures which can result in friction, decreased productivity and miscommunication. It is important to develop procedures designed to overtly communicate cultural values, the corporate vision, and the corporate mission at the onset to create an alignment between the organization and the employees. The remote onboarding process is the perfect opportunity to lay this foundation.
While there’s no substitute for human connection, technologies that enable a smooth onboarding experience are crucial in the era of the hybrid workplace. It’s all about balance and getting it right. In practice, that means empathic leadership through effective collaboration between HR and IT leaders.