During a pandemic, the few first days of a new job can be overwhelming. Companies with established onboarding processes may find it difficult to make the switch from in-person to virtual programs, which makes it more difficult for new hires to adjust and get up to speed quickly. Many human resources (HR) professionals wonder if they’re providing new hires with everything they need, or if their processes and training are sound enough.

In this article, you’ll learn about six concerns that new employees have and what you can do to alleviate them.

  • Will I be able to start right away because I don’t have the necessary tools and equipment?

On a typical first day, new hires fill out paperwork and make their way to the IT department, where they receive the equipment they need to do their jobs. After getting ready, they’ll head to their desk to get to work. Having the right tools on hand from the start of a remote new hire’s employment may cause some anxiety, as may having to learn new programs or technology while working remotely. These are problems that can be avoided with a little forethought. Automating equipment requests can help companies stay on top of their delivery schedules.

  • Will I be able to build meaningful relationships within the Organization?

Trust is the foundation of both the workplace culture and the relationships that exist within it. Repeated positive interactions help to establish trust over time. However, trust can be difficult to establish when all of the interactions take place over Zoom calls, email, or Slack. Employees who are unable to make personal connections and break the ice with their coworkers may find it difficult to feel a part of the team. Their initial productivity may suffer as a result, and they may reconsider whether or not to continue working for the company in the long term.

New hires who work virtually should be paired with a buddy or mentor from their team, department, or division to help them adjust to their new role. Since the buddy assigned is familiar with the company’s culture, they know what this person will be doing in their new job, and they can assist them with certain aspects of it. It’s also wise to send a short video introducing everyone in the team to the new hire ahead of time.

Using videoconferencing technology, businesses can schedule virtual lunches where employees can eat together and converse virtually. It’s something that will encourage all new employees to meet each other in a more casual setting and start building relationships right away.

  • I’m afraid I won’t be able to live up to my employer’s expectations in a timely manner?

As soon as they start, employees require attainable, measurable goals, as well as a system for keeping track of the tasks assigned to them. For new employees in a remote working environment, setting expectations is especially important because it helps them get on the right track. The manager and new hire should therefore set up an early one-on-one online meeting to clarify job-role responsibilities, set short- and long-term goals and outline specific metrics and milestones for their performance. Along with common expectations, remote work calls for detailed guidelines outlining the frequency, method, and scope of an employee’s work status reports. Remote employees must adhere to these guidelines strictly.

  • Will I have to spend my entire day on Zoom calls?

The process of onboarding can take several weeks, if not months. Remote new hires dont often get a chance to visit the company’s physical location during onboarding. You cant schedule online sessions for the new hires through the day and expect them to stay engaged and walk away with all the necessary information.

In order to make the onboarding sessions “more digestible,” companies should consider dividing them into shorter segments. By doing so the new hires won’t feel overwhelmed or trapped online because of the fun elements like ice breakers, study breaks, and Q&A sessions.

New hires won’t feel overwhelmed or trapped online because of the fun elements like ice breakers, study breaks, and Q&A sessions. The process also has fun built-in, with ice breakers, study breaks and Q&A sessions so the new hires don’t feel overwhelmed or stuck online.

  • Will I be helped if I run into a problem?

A new position entails gaining new knowledge and developing new skills. During the first few weeks and months after starting a new job, even employees who work independently face issues they need to discuss. When they needed assistance in the past, they could have simply walked over to a colleague’s desk or inquired with their immediate supervisor. Now, that assistance must be purely online.

Businesses should set up communication channels like slack for all employees to provide feedback and ask questions.  Zoom calls encourage new hires to ask any questions they may have about anything. Managers and HR should regularly check in with new hires to see how they’re adjusting. For the first week or two,  hiring managers should check in with new hires for 10 minutes on video at the end of each day.

  • If we all go back to work, what will happen?

Nearly two-thirds of respondents to a recent Gallup poll said that once the crisis is over, they’d like to continue working from home. Given the virus’s many unknowns, some new hires may be apprehensive about returning to work after the holiday break. They may be caring for young children, elderly parents, or close family members. Or, they may be in a high-risk category due to underlying health issues.

HR managers should have a direct conversation with each new hire after they are brought on board. Employees must know if they are expected to return and when.  It’s possible they have children. It’s possible that their spouse is ill at home. All of the topics that were off-limits during the interview should now be open to discussion. Businesses should learn about the challenges new hires face and how you can help them overcome them.