Blog Post

    An introduction to remote onboarding for hybrid working environments


    • Hybrid working models are key to attracting and retaining top talent in 2022.

    • Having the ability to work remotely for part of the working week is a deal-maker for many prospective new hires.

    • Remote onboarding hybrid employees needs a slightly different approach than traditional onboarding.

    • Onboarding in a hybrid environment requires streamlined communications, clear expectation management, and an emotional core supported by the right digital infrastructure.

    In a post-pandemic job market, hybrid working models have become not only popular but a necessary tool to secure and retain top talent. The working world has changed and the ability to operate remotely for part of your working week is increasingly becoming a deal-maker for prospective new hires.

    Of course with every shift in the way we work comes the need for a better, more targeted approach to onboarding to ensure employees are well prepared for this new hybrid working environment.

    In this introduction to remote onboarding for hybrid working environments, we’ll take a look at different hybrid models and why they’re here to stay, how onboarding for remote workers differs from a traditional new hire process, and share best practice advice for successful onboarding in hybrid working environments.

    What is a hybrid working environment?

    Hybrid working is a flexible working model that allows employees to work some of the time from a physical office space, and some of the time remotely - either from home or another non-traditional workspace.

    There are four main variations of the hybrid model, each with its own set of pros and cons for both employees and employers:

    With an office-first hybrid work model, employees spend the majority of their time in the office with the ability to choose a few days per month to work remotely. Office-first models are easy for employers to implement but ultimately don’t deliver the flexibility employees are looking for.

    A remote-first hybrid work model is the opposite of office-first with employees spending the majority of their time working remotely, coming into a physical office only occasionally. Remote-first offers a LOT of flexibility for team members but can lead to low levels of employee engagement without top-notch communications and a cutting-edge tech stack.

    Fixed hybrid
    The fixed hybrid model sees the employer setting fixed in-office days for employees, often lining up schedules to ensure entire teams are in the office together on specific days. The fixed-hybrid is a popular model for employers looking for more structure in their remote working setup but removes the freedom of choosing which days work best for the individual employee.

    Flexible hybrid
    A flexible hybrid model (or ‘true hybrid’) allows employees to have full control over when and how they choose to divide their time. Some employees may choose to work remotely often, others may choose to spend the majority of their time in the office - the choice is entirely up to them. Flexible hybrid working models are the most attractive to prospective employees and, although difficult to implement in larger organizations, are worth the investment long term.

    Why hybrid working models are here to stay

    Hybrid working models have wide-ranging benefits for both employees and employers that make it likely they’re here for the long haul:

    For employers

    Attract talent
    Offering a hybrid working set-up will help organizations secure top talent with 83% of workers saying they would be more likely to apply for a position if it offered a flexible way of working.

    Retain talent
    The right hybrid working model will help organizations retain their hard-won talent. According to a recent ADP research report, 64% of surveyed employees would consider looking for a new job if they were required to return to the office full time

    For employees

    Mental health benefits
    The right hybrid working environment appears to positively affect the psychological health of employees with a recent Salesforce survey finding that 59 percent of workers felt a hybrid work model contributed positively to their psychological well-being.

    Reduced work-related expenses
    Hybrid working can help reduce work-related expenses for employees. From pricey lunches, to work wardrobes and transport costs, hybrid employees could expect to save thousands of euros by working from home part-time.

    How onboarding for hybrid employees differs from regular onboarding

    A standard onboarding process assumes your new hire will be physically present for most (if not all) key milestone moments. Traditionally, good onboarding blends digital communications with in-person touchpoints to create a seamless experience that helps the new hire integrate with ease.

    Depending on which model you choose, hybrid working means onboarding new staff remotely, at least in some capacity.

    Luckily, this doesn’t mean we need to reinvent the wheel, it simply means HR needs to double down on certain activities to ensure new hires feel calm, confident and connected.

    The biggest difference between traditional onboarding and hybrid-friendly onboarding is your digital infrastructure. In a traditional onboarding process, a bespoke digital tool to manage your process from start to finish is highly recommended, but many (especially smaller) organizations do without.

    In a hybrid work environment, the right digital tool is essential to the success of your onboarding process - without it, your HR team will be up to their ears replying to emails and calls from new hires trying to navigate their new workspace.

    Download our Remote Onboarding Checklist


    5 best practices for onboarding hybrid employees

    Successful onboarding in a hybrid environment hangs on some key best practices that aim to establish strong lines of communication, set clear expectations, and support new hires on an emotional level.


    #1 Spotlight mental health support

    Although research has shown that hybrid working models can improve employee mental health, there is also evidence showing that without the right support, starting a new job remotely can negatively impact an employee's frame of mind.

    Shining a light on good support resources and normalizing talking about mental health is a great way to support your newest hire to ensure they have the tools they need to address issues themselves or reach out for help if they need it.


    #2 Be strategic with in-office time

    When you’re putting together your new hybrid employee's onboarding schedule, think about when it is most valuable to have them in-office.

    Digital training and role exploration are easily done from the comfort of your own home, whereas coffee catch-ups, presentations, and welcome celebrations are much more fun IRL.


    #3 Determine their working preferences in the Preboarding phase

    Undoubtedly your organization's hybrid work set-up was discussed in the recruitment process. Now that your new employee has signed on the dotted line, it’s time to find out exactly how they like to work within your chosen hybrid system.

    Send a short survey to your new hire before they land on day 1 to find out their hybrid working preferences and share your organization's formal policy on hybrid working, to ensure everyone’s expectations are aligned.


    #4 Centralize resources digitally

    When you’re in-office, it’s easy to turn to your colleague for answers. Whether you’re looking for contact details, a particular document, or an answer to your latest burning question, help is only a half meter away. As a new hire onboarding remotely, barriers to information can severely impact your integration process.

    To combat this, it’s important to centralize need-to-know company resources in one location - whether that’s a bespoke onboarding tool or your company intranet.

    Not only will this give hybrid employees access to everything they need to do their job, but it will also save time for HR who won’t have to spend every waking moment responding to emails asking ‘where can I find my payroll login’.


    #5 Regularly gauge how onboardees are feeling in their new role

    When an employee is in the office on a regular basis, their colleagues, managers, and even HR can gauge their emotional state and respond in the moment with the right support. In a remote setting, this is much more difficult, so it is important to regularly reach out and find out how an employee is feeling, especially in the onboarding phase.

    A regular anonymous survey that allows new hires to rate their experience and emotional wellbeing is a great way to ensure that you’re providing the right support.


    The takeaway?

    Remote onboarding for hybrid working environments can be a challenge, but with the right digital infrastructure, the task is a lot more manageable.

    If you’d like to know how Talmundo supports more than 100 clients globally with their digital onboarding, book a call with one of our friendly team members and we’ll show you the goods!


    Our onboarding software balances experience and process to deliver an engaging new hire experience to remember. Want to see how we do it? Book a no-obligation 15-minute call today with one of our team.

    New call-to-action

    Topics: Onboarding , Featured
    Subscribe to email updates