A pandemic? Another lockdown? Working from home? How does this affect the HR space in recruitment and onboarding? What are some of the challenges and what can be done to smoothen the process?

The COVID-19 pandemic has derailed business continuity plans and businesses have had to adapt to the virtual way of talent acquisition and induction. However, remote working should not be an excuse for sloppy onboarding processes; first impressions matter.

Today, I share with you tips on how to smoothen this process. But before I get into that, allow me to tell you a story, and from this story, you’ll understand what I mean.

Recently, I got an opportunity to join an impeccable team at SeamlessHQ, a startup out of Impact Africa Network designed to capture the fragmented HR space in Africa and make it one seamless experience.

I was part of a group of new hires who were virtually onboarded, and as much as the process was atypical, the hiring team outdid themselves.

 “Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.”

– Robert A. Heinlein

From my experience, it was exciting and engaging. The series of interviews were conducted via Google Meet, and it was a delight not having to travel from upcountry to a 7 am interview in Nairobi. After two weeks, I got an invitation letter, signed the contract and sent my personal documents via email. It was a thorough yet simplistic process, which is what I appreciated most about it.


Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

We can all relate to the hassle that is attending a physical interview; waking up very early in the morning, getting a reliable means of transport to the venue, guarding your original documents, finding the perfect outfit (which if selected wrong, could cost you the job), and many other nitty gritties. COVID-19 has brought about many negative effects in the society but it has also enhanced our analytical thinking.

My orientation was virtual; various teams from different departments scheduled meetings with us to introduce themselves and their projects. It was an interactive session, one with a shocking rule of having videos on (Something I have come to appreciate). We asked questions about the ongoing projects, and I got to see the faces of my colleagues and teammates Kefa and Mercy whom I’ve never met up to date, but it feels like we’ve been family and friends for a long period of time.


SeamlessHQ team

What amazed me was the Slack app. A team collaboration platform used by the organization for official internal communication — call it our office. It was interesting to me and to my younger siblings who would randomly sneak up to my laptop during my working hours. They would ask me questions like; is this another version of WhatsApp? How does it work? The app offers options of engaging an individual directly, via teams’ chat and other project-specific channels for the entire organization.

When you have a technical issue, the virtual meeting rooms allow screen sharing to enable faster problem solving and create a smooth workflow; it’s like a physical office, except you don’t move from one desk to another, or department to department to ask for help.

Moreover, we have weekly learning and development sessions. These sessions help us interact with each other as like-minded peers, share ideas and empower each other. We engage with motivating content that helps us grow and shift our mindsets.

Here, I’ve found another family and a bunch of friends. It barely feels like I’m working from home and I’m thankful to the organization for the opportunity.

Want a smooth onboarding process? Here are some top hacks!

1.Transition from traditional hiring to virtual hiring - Embrace the new norm of hiring and ensure that your top priority is giving your new hires an amazing first impression. Invest time in the onboarding process.

2. Define to new hires their job description and responsibilities - No one likes to be associated with a confused crowd. Set expectations prior for your new hires and make their deliverables as clear as possible. This is the opportunity to make them comfortable enough to ask all the questions.

3. Empower them with the right tools for the work - Ensure your new teammates understand how to use communication tools, file sharing applications and online meeting tools relevant to your team’s day to day activities.

4. Provide all necessary equipment and resources - Make sure new hires have access to tools needed to work. For example; a laptop and access to the internet.

5. Introduce them to their reporting managers and teammates - Let the new hires know the protocol of the company; who they should report to and who they will be working on the same project with.

6. Conduct orientation sessions and training new employees remotely - Equip new employees with the necessary skills and techniques to enable them to work effectively and adopt the organisation's culture.

7. Schedule one-on-one meetings with the new hires to know how they are coping up- Catch up with your new hires to gauge how they are doing, what they are happy or unhappy with within the organization.

Make your first impressions last!