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The New Normal for Employee Onboarding in 2021

Hiring and orientation of new employees, ie, the onboarding process, is extremely critical for employee and business success. However, like many other things, it has become even more critical during pandemic times. It is also now more difficult than ever.

Reliance Securities created a seamless process, which took care of the social distancing norms and needed minimal time in office for welcoming, training and engaging with the new recruits. The company realigned all its virtual processes, which are now executed through a centralized digital channel to ensure end-to-end execution – right from the phase of online selection to recruitment and finally efficient onboarding of the recruits. The company ensured that the team had all the right tools like the required hardware, software, communication tools, file-sharing applications, etc. An automated welcome kit is part of the processes, ensuring all the handholding required for new joiners in the initial days.

Meenaa explains the induction program: “We introduced an online induction program and video connect call to understand from the new recruits their engagement levels in the initial few days after joining. We conduct monthly manager meetings and 30, 60, and 90-day surveys to understand their journey month-on-month and take relevant actions to align them to the organizational culture. The entire framework has been designed as a blend of technology with a human touch.”

Amrit reveals that the entire induction process at Digit Insurance has been revamped and now consists of virtual content. “We added our culture training module and gamified some heavy insurance modules to make them more interesting,” she says.

She adds that in the covid scenario, the hiring and onboarding have moved completely to a virtual platform. The HR team made sure that infrastructure, systems and configuration were in place when a candidate joined from home. The team onboarded 380+ new employees in a completely virtual format.

DBS Bank developed an onboarding microsite, which serves as a one-stop solution for new joiners, line managers and buddies to ensure effective assimilation into the system. It provides a smooth step-by-step guide for an employee on their first day at work. The bank has also moved its week-long orientation program to virtual mode. Business induction is conducted through sessions by BU/SU leads and subject matter experts. A detailed HR induction follows covering key people practices. The effectiveness of the onboarding initiative is analyzed after the completion of 180 days with the help of a mood ring survey on the new joiner’s holistic readiness. The bank’s new joiner survey feedback scores have been over the roof, with a satisfaction score of 97% at various checkpoints.

Nagina says: “Our onboarding journey has been continually enhanced to ensure new hires are operational from the date of joining with all logistical requirements fulfilled to deliver the best-in-class virtual onboarding experience. To enable employee productivity and acclimatization at DBS, we also initiated a buddy system for new candidates. Joining in a completely virtual set-up can be unnerving for some, hence we stressed on video-based virtual interactions right from DBS’ Group CEO to the line managers.”

Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance made significant changes in its onboarding process to make it more digital and robust, especially to meet the pandemic challenges. The insurer introduced e-onboarding and e-joining forms for new employees during the lockdown with other processes also digitized so that pandemic effects are minimal and the company is able to provide best-in-class joining experience.

Kiran says: “We used to conduct a meet-and-greet session where the new joiners could meet the leadership and have a direct session with the business heads of various functions and also have an interaction with the HR SPOCs. A quick e-version of the same was launched where employees interacted in an online session and given a walkthrough of all the policies.”

According to Manisha, there has been immense learning on the go and unlocking possibilities for the future as well. “We at CRIF Highmark did a quick transition to create processes and platforms for digital and remote onboarding. The platform facilitated virtual video interviews, online document submissions, managing compliances, conducting online induction sessions and managing logistics to provide the required infrastructure to their residences.”

Most of the steps that these organizations have undertaken can be summarized in 2 categories: (i) converting existing physical processes to digital (ii) adding new processes to enhance integration to the organization. Whereas there is no explicit mention, all these organizations probably made the onboarding process more efficient in terms of time and costs.

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