In light of the global climate, working from home is the new normal for most fast-growing companies. Despite not being able to congregate in a meeting room, or around a water cooler, companies are doing everything they can to keep their workforces productive, happy, and engaged in these unprecedented times.

On April 1, we hosted Andrew Bardsley, People and Culture Programme Manager for our client Modulr, and Frankie Kemp, of People Skills for Geeks, to have a discussion about how HR can provide an amazing onboarding experience remotely, and how HR can rely on managers and other advocates in the business to help create a stellar employee experience with distributed teams.

As he’s onboarding people as recently at this week, Andrew has been focused on creating a sense of psychological safety, summarizing his principles into the ‘3 C’s’:

  • Clarity – This is all about ensuring that employees aren’t confused. Being dazed early on can create a fight, flight, or freeze state in new joiners, and things as simple as being over-communicative prior to start date or setting expectations both verbally and in writing can help alleviate uncertainty during a time that already has its own stresses (particularly in the current climate!)
  • Confidence – Its natural for a new joiner to spend the first couple of weeks asking themselves if they’ve made the right decision to join this company. It is incumbent upon managers to ensure that the spirit and charter of the team is shared with new folks, and most importantly, put a focus on helping new people acclimate culturally to a new environment. 
  • Connection – This is all about creating pathways to help a new joiner put down roots and develop a family internally. Its important to stress the impact of standardized intake days, which may delay certain start dates, but create a much better experience for the employee in the long term, since they’ll have peers whom they can turn to for support, either on the job or just socially and emotionally. Developing a buddy system can also be a huge asset in helping a new joiner feel welcomed quickly.

Frankie, meanwhile, opened her session by sharing that the average cost of onboarding a new hire is $37,000. With that in mind, she covered a few helpful principles on motivating employees in a remote environment:

  • Autonomy and Environment – make sure people have the ability to do their jobs confidently – ensure they have the right equipment and tools necessary and then let them run with it. Micromanagement is terrible even in a traditional office environment, but trying to micromanage remotely is even more painful since it inhibits productivity and also creates a lack of trust between manager and employee
  • Being Real – Without the physical queues you’re able to pick up on day to day from the people sitting around you, virtual communication can become very sanitized – by sharing anecdotes or personal experiences to your comfort level, it helps create an environment that feels a bit more comforting and welcoming, while encouraging employees to also exhibit authenticity in their continued interactions.
  • Recognition – Its easy to say ‘great work’, but taking the time to craft a deeply personal thank you to an employee can make a huge difference to their morale, especially in a world as uncertain and sometimes dark as the one we’re in today. Think of specifics in terms of how the employee helped the business or made you feel – and use those as the basis for recognition in a way that feels unique to them.

Both Frankie and Andrew also covered a ton of helpful, tangible tips and tricks on how to help HR and Managers create a seamless engaging employee experience when everyone is working from home.

Zoe Haimovitch

From Zoe Haimovitch

Zoe is a passionate manager and leader. Together with her team, she builds our brand story. She loves to connect with people who are passionate about what they do, speak candidly, and are authentic and willing to work together.