Onboarding in the Current and Post-COVID-19 World

Pam Roman

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a seismic shift in the job market, going form record low unemployment to devastatingly high out-of-work numbers in just a couple of months. This section from a recent Guardian article sums up the grim news in stark terms:

The latest figures from the (U.S.) labor department mean more than 36 million people have filed for (unemployment) benefits in the last two months. The rate of claims is slowing but the record-breaking pace of layoffs has already pushed unemployment to levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Such news begs two questions: Is anyone hiring during this time? And what happens when the pandemic eases and businesses begin hiring again – how will millions of people get reabsorbed into the workforce?

Hiring now – and a glut on the way?

Believe it or not, while the pandemic is decimating certain industries, others need workers now. The Glassdoor blog “54 Companies Actively Hiring During COVID-19” posted on May 1 by Dominique Fluker lists – you guessed it – 54 companies filling positions. Some are even labeled “hiring surge.” As might be expected, health care and related companies dominate the list, along with tech companies. But there is also strong representation from food companies and financial institutions. A quick search will show similar lists, including many local news organizations compiling openings for their areas. So, there is some light in the darkness.

And what about when (hopefully) things return to a semblance of normal? There are already many human resource departments thinking about just that. The blog “CHROs Plan for an Abundant Talent Market Post-COVID” was posted on April 22, 2020 by Roy Maurer, Online Manager/Editor, Talent Acquisition, for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Online. Maurer wrote:

The employment situation has shifted dramatically in the last few weeks since the coronavirus outbreak shut down large portions of the economy. HR leaders have had to quickly pivot from recruiting amid the lowest unemployment on record to managing a sea change in the way people work while planning for a very different post-COVID future…Planning for a return to normal will bring a new set of challenges. The biggest change from a talent acquisition point of view could be the glut of job-seeking talent on the market.

Tech is key to getting people back onboard

In the HR Technologist’s blog “15 Tips to Hire Talent Post the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic,” the website quotes Jeanniey Mullen, chief innovation officer, DailyPay:

Industries need to immediately shift to a heavy reliance on digital for all aspects from recruitment, interview, onboarding and even termination pay…Anticipating a re-emergence after the global health crisis calms down, we’re not only focused on today but hiring for tomorrow. We’ve pushed our HR Tech to help us thrive.

Kimberly Houston, writing in the April 29, 2020 JotForm blog “Online onboarding and training for new employees during COVID-19” reinforces this idea of needing current – if not cutting edge – technology for onboarding in the current and post-COVID-19 world:

We’re living in a new reality — one where online onboarding and training for new employees is no longer simply a perk offered to lure new talent or a tool used by tech-savvy companies, but a collective “new normal.” While many companies have instituted a hiring freeze during the COVID-19 pandemic, others are bringing on new talent, despite the disruption. And that means relying on technology to onboard and train new employees with the same effectiveness as your previous face-to-face process.

Current onboarding may not be up for the task

Unfortunately, many onboarding processes lack the technology to make them effective and efficient, especially given a hiring surge. Many companies still rely on manual /paper-based input into their different HR systems for onboarding needs like W-4s, I-9s, payroll info, benefit elections, equipment assignments and new-hire designated training/learning paths.

So, to mash-up the article quotes here, if in the current or post-COVID-19 world your company is looking to compete and fill its ranks from a “glut of job-seeking talent on the market” and get them up and running quickly, you should consider your need to “immediately shift to a heavy reliance on digital” and “relying on technology to onboard and train new employees.” Without the proper onboarding tech, you may be setting yourself up for lost time, lost money and lost talent.

Prolifics can help

Meet Leia — our digital Employee Onboarding Officer. She can complete your onboarding processing in two minutes. She can identify and understand forms and documents; connect to different HR systems; enroll new hires in payroll, benefits, and training; notify security and facilities; and more. Leia helps you manage applicant volumes, ensure data accuracy and speed up the onboarding process – all leading to more satisfied managers and new hires. Connect with Leia at solutions@prolifics.com.