Many businesses are already heading in the direction of a hybrid work model, allowing their employees to work a few days in the office and the rest of the week remotely. Although hybrid working is a popular option for candidates, it does come with challenges for businesses. One of these is keeping your workers engaged and motivated whilst they’re working from home - particularly when you have new starters joining your team, as the first few months are crucial.
We’ve previously gone through how to onboard new staff remotely, but what should you do when your business is adopting a more flexible working policy? Here are our top tips on how to engage new starters in a hybrid workplace:
Why is early engagement important?
Employee engagement is important at any stage of the employee lifecycle – it helps to reduce staff turnover, improve productivity and efficiency, improve customer service and retention as well as deliver higher profits. With the average employee wanting to work 2.5 days from home, early engagement is more important than ever when hiring new staff into your hybrid workplace.
With a good experience, your new starter is much more likely to stay in your business for longer and will have more positive feedback and reviews when they do leave. Anything less than a positive experience and your company could end up with a poor employee review which may put off new potential candidates when you go to hire for the role again.
Preparation is key
The first few days of a new job are vital to engage a new employee and make sure they’re effectively onboarded. A great way to make them feel welcomed into the team is to ensure they have all the right equipment ready to go on their first day. If they’re starting their first day remotely, make sure you have put all the necessary processes in place to ensure they have all the right equipment, login details and other tools so they’re good to go.
However, if your business is now operating on a hybrid work model, it might be a good idea to plan the new starter’s first day in the office instead of remotely, and check to see if some of your other team members can come in as well. That way, they’ll still get everything they need to carry on working from home when needed – but they’ll get the chance to meet some of the team in person and build relationships quicker.
Team building activities at home and in the office
Whether you organise a team lunch for a day that everyone is in the office or arrange a virtual team quiz, focusing on team building activities in the first few weeks is a fantastic way to get a new starter engaged. It’ll also help your new stater feel more confident in the team dynamic so that they can start building repour with their colleagues. Creating opportunities for the team to share experiences in a less formal setting and allowing everyone to get to know the new starter outside of the job role is always key in the first few weeks to make sure everyone feels more comfortable.
Find them a ‘buddy’
Nominating a ‘buddy’ for your new starter is a great way to ensure they stay happy and on track in the first few weeks, both at home and in the office. The buddy will be there to answer any questions they might not feel comfortable talking to a direct manger about, whether they are queries around the office dress code, payday, or lunch times.
The buddy will also be someone they can meet up with in the office on the days they do come in, which will help them feel more comfortable in a new office environment. Try and pick a buddy of a similar seniority, personality and possibly even age to your new starter; that way they will be more likely to get on and awkward hierarchical issues will be avoided. Another option is to pair two new starters, so that they can help each other navigate the first few weeks in their new roles.
Schedule regular check-ins
It is always good practice to check in with a new starter regularly, but this is even more pertinent when onboarding them into a hybrid workplace. If you can, try to schedule an in-person 1-2-1 with your new starter every time you’re in the office – even if it’s just a 10 minute catch up. You always want to create open communication, and although this can be done easily when working from home with the use of technology, having that personal contact will really help your new employee feel confident and motivated.
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