Sunday, May 26, 2024

Technology enabling easy onboarding during WFH

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The Covid-19 pandemic influenced changes to the world have ensured that this is not some imaginary utopia of the future but the story of so many workplaces today.
According to a 2022 survey by Deloitte, three-quarters of Gen Z and Millennial workers prefer hybrid work or remote work. The pandemic has changed workplaces drastically and a lot of the changes are here to stay even when Covid-19 will be a cautionary tale in history textbooks.

Many companies are now seamlessly onboarding new employees without them ever setting their foot in an office or meeting in person.“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have onboarded over 2000 Accoliters,” says Milind Mutalik, Head of Employee Experience at Accolite Digital, a software company. “This was made possible due to seamless collaboration between the business, talent acquisition, and the talent engagement teams.”

The company has redesigned its employee onboarding process, where candidates attend “acclimatisation” and orientation sessions virtually, get their joining kits including laptops at home. They are also partnered with a “buddy” at the organization who helps them join into the company’s culture. The buddy is another employee from the same business unit.

At Cimpress, one of the biggest hassles of joining – documentation – is made easier by having new employees do it on call so that queries can be answered right then while filling out forms.  Employees are also invited to non-confidential online employee events to make them feel like a part of the organisation even as the process gets completely virtual. The company has onboarded over 1,000 employees remotely across 20 states in India and a neighbouring country.

Even social media has been leveraged here to showcase events and the company culture, Amey Sane, HR Director, Cimpress India said. “Social media is the new ‘office space’ to introduce new joiners to the workplace vibe.”

While the process of inducting new employees into the company has been seamlessly modified for a remote-working world, developing a healthy work culture and collaboration are two areas where experts worried that a remote working environment would not be conducive.

To overcome the limitations of a virtual workplace, companies are deploying several technology and behavioral tools.The company also has leadership connect programs at various levels that ensure two way communication between the employees and bosses. What’s more, anonymous feedback is collected and shared with the leadership so that even uncomfortable information can make its way to the right person.

“This allows us to understand the pulse of our employees and take the necessary actions as needed,” Mutalik said. “This helps structure employee-friendly policies to ensure that we create a happy and healthy workplace, which is one of the core values of Accolite.”

Cimpress has taken culture-building a step further with interest-based communities around art, music, books, memes, fitness, travel, photography, food, writing to get people to connect beyond work.

“Families are invited to all our festivities, celebrations or engagement sessions,” Mr. Amey Sane, HR Director, Cimpress India.

Similarly for collaboration, companies are using a variety of tools. These tools ensure that online work can be as intuitive as in-person meetings. Miroboard, which is used by Cimpress, for instance, is an online whiteboard tool that makes it easy for employees to brainstorm on an easy-to-use interface and pen down ideas and feedback. Cimpress also uses other tools such Slack for internal communication to Jiira and Confluence for project management and maintaining databases, respectively.

“As per our employee survey, 97% felt they have the right collaboration tools,” Mr. Amey Sane, HR Director, Cimpress India said.At Accolite, project level, agile meetings are held on a weekly basis to define and track the progress of projects. To build a culture of trust, having one-on-one conversations is encouraged to create a continuous feedback loop that facilitates remote collaboration.

“Automation and digitisation with the right blend of human touch are a must for collaboration,” Accolite’s Mutalik said.The pandemic has thus been a catalyst for bringing about at least a decade worth of change within a couple of years, helping make an ideal future workplace a reality today. It definitely helped that the basic ingredients for this change, in terms of technology, were already there.

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