Hybrid workforces have become a reality across the globe after the Covid pandemic, and their impact on productivity of new hires needs greater focus in organizations.
Companies of all sizes have developed hybrid work policies in the new post-pandemic world to provide employees with greater flexibility and to compete for talent in a world where on any given day, a large percentage of the global workforce is working remotely from home or at a local coffee shop.
While leaders of organizations have worked closely with their Information Technology departments to ensure that employees have the hardware and software needed to be productive in this remote work world, many have overlooked a critical Organizational Design & Development (OD) aspect of the new paradigm: the onboarding and productivity ramp up of new employees.
In the pre-pandemic days, a new employee would often spend several weeks in a combination of new hire orientation, formal training, or informal on-the-job training with peers, team leads and managers. In the hybrid world, many of a company's experienced employees are simply not in the office to provide the 1x1 training, coaching, and mentorship that was possible when everyone was co-located. While the boom in digital tools and SaaS applications can help alleviate aspects of the 'distance factor', it is difficult to fully substitute for a new employee being able to spend his or her early days in the office environment, working closely with peers to absorb, learn, and understand the formal and informal requirements, business processes, and organizational resources (including people networks) related to a new position.
It is therefore important that companies start to think proactively about steps to counteract the slower speed at which new hire ramp up may occur in such circumstances. For example, an organization could move to a fixed, twice-per-month 'onboarding day' for all new hires. This would allow teams to plan their onboarding processes and 'office time' accordingly. For all companies, especially where a large percentage of the workforce is now remote, it is especially important that additional focus and resources be placed on the development of self-paced digital learning modalities such as:
Documented, standardized operating procedures & processes on Team or Company Portals
Informal information sharing platforms such as Wikis and Enterprise Social Collaboration systems such as Slack
CBTs and cutting edge SaaS training apps/platforms
Organizations that underinvest in standardizing their process and procedures through formal documentation and training new employees or that simply rely on already busy and overwhelmed functional employees and teams (with important day-to-day BAU responsibilities) to create or provide such knowledge sharing without the tools and time to do so will find that the results may be less than stellar and will have significant financial opportunity costs around productivity ramp of new employees. Additionally, a poor onboarding experience can result in new hire dissatisfaction and fast company exit in what is already a competitive environment for talent.
These same principles around learning apply to some extent when employees take on new roles or shift departments. It is important that we think about the fact that all employees are all at different points on their productivity and learning journeys. We must take active steps to ensure that employees and in particular new hires are put on productivity journey that helps them become productive.
If your company needs help thinking about and formulating a strategy around onboarding and employee training, visit our People Consulting page to learn more or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can tailor an engagement to any size and budget and have experience in both the SMB and Enterprise markets.
FinTechTX Consulting Team