Virtual Onboarding and the Challenge to Trust Building

Team IIBP Anveshan, Employee Selection, Issue 4

Work from Home is not a novel term, it has been used by organizations for a very long time. However, the COVID 19 pandemic situation has compelled even the unwilling ones to resort to the same. This has made even the departments ,which rely heavily on face to face interaction to follow a virtual method of operation. One such department is Human Resource Management. The personnel engaged in HRM make their best efforts to bridge the interactional gap between a new employee and the employer. The first person or team to welcome a new entrant, who is supposed to be experiencing a variety of emotions related to anxiety, curiosity or excitement ,is usually the HR team. This induction plays a pivotal role in an employee’s perception of the company, their work culture and the employee’s comfort with placing himself within the system.

Onboarding is not just an introduction to the protocols of the organization, rather it can be seen as the first step of building trust. Thus, an onboarding done half-heartedly or without proper consideration can even lead new employees to quit sooner than later. The importance of discussing this is more pressing than ever because of the uncertain situation everyone has been subjected to. The deep level of perception of uncertainty in individuals has made it imperative to look for certainty, stability, and transparency from the organization. Virtual onboarding makes it difficult to establish these aspects in the mind of the new employee and makes them vulnerable to distrust and doubt.

This doesn’t entail that onboardings be essentially done physically, this would even worsen the situation. Nevertheless, a middle path can be taken which encourages companies to invest more in the onboarding process to make it at least at par with, if not equal to the physical onboarding. A prior notice to engage in a video call by keeping the video on would add a non-verbal component to the communication which would help in the trust building process. A small token of welcome in the form of voucher or coupon could also mean a lot to the new joinee. Most importantly, applying an empathetic approach by letting the employee decide when to join physically would go a long way in the trust-building process.

These are just a few suggestions for strengthening virtual onboarding processes as a step of trust building, but the crux of the matter is to pay attention to the challenge that the process poses and work in one’s capacity to make it an effective one.

About the author: Abhipsa Satpathy is a psychological counselor with experience in counseling school and college students, adults in distress related to anxiety, depression, relationship issues, issues of identity and self-esteem, and career planning. She has worked with children with special needs. She can help you with work-related stress along with the above. She believes in the Right to Life with Dignity and uses an eclectic approach in her practices.