Strategies to Improve the Onboarding Process for Hybrid Workers

The transition to hybrid work has been challenging for everybody. Existing employees need to adapt to a new way of work with the same people like before. On the other hand, new hires have more on their plates than just the regular onboarding process. And on top of these challenges, companies have to figure out what’s best and most efficient for their people.

Strategies to Improve the Onboarding Process for Hybrid Workers

The hybrid onboarding process done right

In an August 2021 survey, 72.4 percent of employees said they were exhausted by hybrid work, a significant increase from the 38 percent who were exhausted by remote work.

Teams have to adapt to their new schedules and the new work policies that accompany them. Hybrid work adoption becomes even more complex for new employees. Not only do these team members need to understand your hybrid work process, but they also need to learn the fundamental basics of your organizational chart and other policies.

Bottom line: It’s a lot to take in.

You can ease the transition for new employees by improving your hybrid onboarding process with these four key steps.

1. Develop a clear hybrid strategy

Most companies are living through the Wild West of hybrid work. They are implementing policies in the post-Covid era without knowing if they will be effective for either productivity or employee happiness. As a result, there is a lot of confusion in the workplace. What should be expected of team members? Which adjustments are allowed if the current hybrid model proves ineffective?

There is likely a lot to be shifted, so start by focusing on what you can control to improve your hybrid policy. For example, provide clear guidelines about your hybrid work method. New hires may be used to another format that’s very different from yours. While this may sound obvious, a surprising number of companies lack even basic guidelines for hybrid work. According to the State of the Industry: Future of Work survey, 72 percent of companies lack a detailed strategy for hybrid work.

You wouldn’t expect your new hires to understand your PTO policies without writing them out in the handbook. So don’t leave these details out of the onboarding process. Create a formal policy that every team can follow and train them on it immediately.

2. Identify what onboarding tasks can be completed remotely

The next step for improving your onboarding process for hybrid workers is to make your workflow more effective. Remote work is ideal when employees can work on individual tasks at home. Then use office time to collaborate with their team.

The same concept can apply to your onboarding process. Don’t bring workers into the office just to fill out paperwork or complete an online training module. Divide onboarding tasks into virtual and in-person. Make sure your new hires have access to onboarding tasks that can be completed virtually.

This makes the time spent in-office more meaningful, What’s more, it streamlines the entire onboarding process—for them and you. New hires can use their in-person time to get to know the workspace. Help them develop personal connections with the people they will be working with rather than sitting at a desk filling out paperwork.

3. Know that different teams (and positions) have unique needs

Many companies have developed rigid hybrid models. These typically state that employees need to be in-office on certain days and can work remotely for others. However, these models are rarely successful.

A one-size-fits-all strategy is actually a one-size-fits-none model. Even if a policy works well for a few team members, they may still be affected by the work of others. For example, your sales team might need to be in the office more often if they’re meeting in-person with potential customers. However, your website manager might not need to go in-office more than once a week if they rarely have meetings with others.

This highlights why hybrid work can be so complex. Hence, that’s why you need to outline clear policies during onboarding.

4. Remember to put your people first

Another challenge of implementing a rigid hybrid schedule is that you can’t accommodate the personal needs of workers. Rigid work policies fail to recognize that employees have different schedules and priorities.

For example, one employee might have to pick their child up from school at a certain time each day. Another might have a hobby that requires them to leave early once in a while. If you mandate that workers need to be in-office at certain times, you are negatively impacting their work-life balance, which can lead to turnover.

If your processes don’t match the needs of your team members, your workers (and even your new hires) will find a company that is willing to accommodate them. So, instead of certain times, give them time intervals and draw up what’s best.

Overhaul your onboarding process

There are two key elements needed to improve your onboarding process for hybrid workers:

  • Clear policies that your new hires can understand and follow
  • Onboarding processes and policies that make sense for everyone

If your hybrid workflow is convoluted and restricted, you will frustrate your new hires. This could result in retention issues.

Instead, create a positive onboarding experience in the hybrid work era with these ideas and strategies.

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