July 13, 2021

6 Tips for Onboarding Nontraditional Talent From an Expanded Talent Pool

Employee onboarding is evolving alongside recruiting and hiring. As companies broaden their candidate search to include more nontraditional talent, they are having to rethink their onboarding processes to ensure all new employees, regardless of location, feel welcome. “The goal of any onboarding program should be to help workers transition seamlessly from the point of offer to the first year—or more—with the organization,” explain Denise Moulton, Mackenzie Wilson, and Matt Deruntz at Deloitte Consulting. 

For companies hiring from expanded talent pools, this means developing onboarding processes that create positive experiences for employees whether they are onboarding in-person or virtually. Keep these tips in mind as you reimagine onboarding at your company so that it meets the needs of all new employees.

Personalize the Experience

Onboarding has become much more than simply filling out paperwork and taking a tour of the office. In a time when the competition for talent is tight and workers can be recruited from just about anywhere, it’s critical for companies to personalize the onboarding experience to each employee. In doing so, they set the employees up for success in their new roles.

For example, instead of simply delivering a generic welcome packet to a new hire on their first day, designate someone in the same department to explain everything in the packet and show the new hire the ropes around the office for a few days. This can be done in-person or remotely via video chat or interoffice messaging apps. This helps new hires settle in more easily.

Create Digital Onboarding Documents

Filling out paperwork is a time-consuming yet essential task that has to be completed by every new hire during onboarding. With digital tools such as DocuSign and HelloSign, you can streamline this process by creating digital documents. This not only makes it easier for new employees to complete and sign everything, it also makes it easier for HR teams to track and manage the documentation.  

Make Onboarding Videos

Videos are great tools for onboarding employees at the office or remotely. Through videos, new employees get to know the culture of the company and form a connection to the organization. “Creating videos allows a company to give new employees a look under the hood and understand what makes the organization special, and – as a result – remind them why they joined,” says Aleksandra Sulimko, human resources director at TheSoul Publishing.

colorful hot air balloon; onboarding nontraditional talent concept

Set Clear Goals and Expectations

One of the most intimidating things for employees when starting a new job is not knowing what is expected of them. This can be especially true for unconventional candidates who have been hired for a role they don’t necessarily have direct experience with. That’s why it is so important to set clear goals and expectations for them from day one. 

It can be helpful, especially for remote employees, to have a checklist to work from for the first month or so. That checklist should include specific tasks they are expected to accomplish with deadlines. This eliminates uncertainty and gives new hires confidence in their work.

Facilitate Connections

Building positive relationships with coworkers is important for employee happiness and success, and fostering those connections begins at onboarding. HR can encourage connections by facilitating opportunities for new employees to connect with others early in the onboarding process. “Connect new recruits quickly to each other and their teams,” write Julia Lamm, Rod Adams, and Alex Spira-Gutner at PwC in a list of takeaways for effective onboarding. 

This can be done through coffee break chats or small group lunches during on-site or virtual onboarding. It just looks a little different when done via video calls. The goal, no matter the format, is the same: facilitating face-to-face interactions. 

Share Company Swag

Giving branded items to new employees helps them to feel like they are part of the team. Creating that sense of belonging is especially important for those onboarding remotely and working outside of the office. Sending some swag in a welcome package to their home before they start gives them a chance to “brand” their home office and feel connected to the company.

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