In 2020, the pandemic changed the way organizations approach employee onboarding, perhaps for good.
We saw HR departments scramble to re-write the new hire rule book, preparing onboardees for a fully remote start. We witnessed the rise of reboarding as cross-sections of the business world headed back to the office. And we watched as preboarding and offboarding became indispensable additions to the onboarding vernacular.
So what’s next?
2021 brings with it an opportunity to put the last 12 months firmly behind us and begin to understand how the future of work may be shaped from the lessons learned.
Here are our predictions for the 7 HR onboarding trends you need to watch out for in 2021.
|Trend #1: Prioritization of mental health support services for new hires|
New hires are always on. They feel the pressure to prove their worth and therefore are likely to find it even more difficult than existing employees to get work-life balance right in a remote setting.
For this reason, expect to see mental health support services, from wellbeing app subscriptions to company-sponsored therapy, become a standard part of the new hire experience.
|Trend #2: Longer onboarding journeys|
Onboardees who undergo longer new hire processes become productive 34% faster than those in the shortest programs. Lengthier programs can also help reduce turnover by 25% compared to more condensed, process-based onboarding.
Expect organizations to take full advantage of these insights and extend their programs beyond the standard 1-month duration, particularly for remote hires.
|Trend #3: Increasing focus on social aspects of onboarding|
Proximity has a tangible effect. Without an in-person connection, it can be difficult for new joiners to navigate the unspoken and undocumented rules of how a company works. It can also make it hard to build positive long-term working relationships.
Expect HR to up-the-ante on social activities for new hires with creative onboarding ideas like video get-togethers, fun ice breakers, and even professionally facilitated team building sessions to combat the lack of face time.
|Trend #4: Expanded internal talent mobility programs|
Most organizations experienced some sort of hiring freeze during the peak of the pandemic, and those who have since resumed recruitment efforts have done so with a cautious hand.
One way to alleviate some of the pressures of a decelerated hiring environment is to shift focus to your existing in-house resources through internal talent marketplaces and mobility programs.
We’ve already seen evidence of these talent marketplaces from our clients in response to COVID-19. Expect to see many more crop up as organizations look at how best to meet their own resource needs, whilst keeping their employees engaged.
|Trend #5: Preboarding becomes a ‘must-have’ component of onboarding|
With the worldwide economy struggling to get back on its feet, organizations will be looking for accelerated new hire productivity. Their best bet will be to leverage the preboarding period like never before.
Expect to see HR departments double-down on pre-start training, admin, and team introductions to ensure their newest staffers are ready to hit-the-ground-running come day 1.
Preboarding (historically the domain of larger corporate and enterprise organizations) is also set to expand, as a wider range of organizations join the party to ensure they attract and retain their best people.
|Trend #6: Growing awareness of the importance of good offboarding|
Beyond essential services (and Amazon), you’d be hard-pressed to find an organization that didn’t have to let go of a few of their employees during COVID-19.
As more than one company that suffered the displeasure of the internet through indelicate dismissal processes during COVID will likely tell you, the way in which your staffers depart your organization, is just as important as how they arrive.
Expect to see offboarding become a formalized part of the employee journey as HR departments recognize the role that ex-staffers play in employer branding and ambassadorship.
|Trend #7: Increase in organizations using a full-service digital onboarding solution|
One thing HR departments have struggled with during the pandemic has been the sudden shift to a fully remote working landscape. For those with an integrated digital onboarding solution in place, the move has been significantly easier than those without, who have had to completely overhaul their processes.
Expect to see organizations small and large shifting to centralized, digital onboarding software solutions that integrate with their existing systems and allow HR a higher level of oversight.