What to Consider When Hiring During a Pandemic

August 17, 2020

Authors: Tom Callam, Clare Trainor, and Christine Organ

Hiring under “normal” circumstances can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. But hiring – or starting a new job – during a pandemic that has upended daily life and the way businesses function… well, that is something else entirely. As we adjust to this “new normal,” businesses continue to evolve and grow, including sometimes by changing or expanding their workforce.

The following are some best practices for businesses that are engaged in the hiring process, as many businesses are still functioning with a largely remote workforce.

 

During the Hiring Process

  • Be intentional about new hires. Hiring new employees or filling open positions is a good time to take a closer look at the position’s or department’s needs and objectives. Perhaps the needs have changed, and the hiring process is a good time to make sure the responsibilities of the position align with those needs.
  • Consider whether the position can be permanently remote. Now that many businesses have worked out the kinks with managing a remote workforce, some companies are considering whether to hire for positions with long-term or permanent remote options. This can expand the pool of candidates outside the immediate geographic area of the business and may also be an added incentive for candidates who want a remote position.

 

During the Onboarding Process

An important step in the new hire process is being intentional about creating and managing the employee’s integration through the onboarding process, as well as over the first several months. The following are some ways to do so:

  • Be intentional about mentor relationships. At LP, we match new hires with an “LP Buddy” who is outside the new hire’s team. This person is a friendly face and a go-to for all those questions that can pop up, especially during the first few weeks at a new job.
  • Make sure that new hires have the equipment they need. New hires will need a computer, phone, and other technology equipment. It is helpful to also provide any information around office supplies and how to entire the office building, if necessary.
  • Provide as much information as possible upfront. I recently joined Levenfeld Pearlstein, and the Talent Team provided a wealth of information before my start date on everything from how colleagues dress while on Zoom calls to my first-week meeting schedule.
  • Be mindful of Zoom overload. Speaking of Zoom, it’s a good idea not to overload new hires with video conference calls. Talking via Zoom or Skype is a very different experience than an in-person conversation, and new hires may need more breaks than would be typical during a more typical new hire onboarding process.
  • Provide ample time for technology training. Showing someone how to use technology over the phone or via video conference can take a little longer than when it can be done in person. Be patient with yourselves.
  • Set and communicate specific goals and clear expectations. As always, it is important to set clear expectations and goals. This applies to all employees, not just new hires. Read more about best practices for building employee morale while working from home.
  • Schedule time for getting to know the team on a personal level. Colleagues miss out on all those casual and spontaneous interactions that happen when you are working in the same physical space, so make sure to schedule time for the new hire to get to know their team on a personal level through informal conversations, like Zoom coffee chats or virtual happy hours.

 

And Beyond…

Building and maintaining employee morale is important not just for new hires, but for all employees. Here are a few tips for engaging employees while managing a remote workforce:

  • If you don’t have an employee recognition program, now is a great time to start. This is a simple, yet impactful engagement tool that motivates people every month.
  • Schedule regular group meetings that aren’t just productive, but are fun as well. For instance, you could have regularly scheduled meetings, with a rotating meeting host who solicits questions for that person to answer during the meeting. These can be especially helpful when introducing a new hire into the team as a way for everyone to get to know each other personally and professionally.
  • Weekly “stay interviews” in the form of surveys. These are a good way to keep a consistent pulse on employees while fostering a culture of action-oriented feedback. They are also a great way for managers to understand how their employees are handling the ups and downs of the pandemic and other life events.

 

At Levenfeld Pearlstein, we understand that companies are adjusting to this new way of doing business. Stay up to date on current developments, along with tips and advice for navigating the COVID-era world, with our Daily 3.

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