5 onboarding trends for 2022 and beyond

Appical Team
Milo Baars
January 6, 2022
min read
Table of Contents
The past 2 years have been quite challenging for HR departments worldwide. The pandemic asked for drastic changes to employee onboarding. While remote & hybrid working brought a lot of benefits, it also brought new challenges. In this blog we will share our take on the onboarding trends for 2022. A year where focus will be on workplace flexibility, building relationships, the digital transformation and employee retention. Let’s jump right in!

Office returns? Or not?

2020 changed the view of remote work and we will continue to see the effects in 2021 and beyond. Many full time office workers got a taste of remote working during the pandemic and desire more flexibility once workplaces reopen. A study by video messaging platform Loom shows that 46% of the participants prefer a hybrid approach by spending at least some time in the office opposed to working fully remote or fully in the office.

Organizations that embrace remote or hybrid working will need to establish clear business rules around this new way of working. By reboarding your employees, you can take away insecurities about the ‘new normal’. Whether the reboarding process will be virtual or on-site, it’s important that the information is consistent, engaging and accessible. 

Need help? We got you covered! Our latest blog shows you how to transform your onboarding strategy to fit the hybrid workplace in 5 steps!

Battle isolation & build relationships

The shift to remote and hybrid working has often led to an isolating experience for existing employees. A September 2020 Gartner survey of more than 3,000 employees revealed that 46% said they were interacting with coworkers less often since shifting to remote work; 53% of employees reported that their interactions with colleagues were more transactional rather than meaningful.

This sense of isolation is amplified for new hires, who often feel like a stranger in a foreign land. A good onboarding program can help them feel welcomed and at ease but be aware that a remote onboarding experience is set up differently from an in-person onboarding process. We suggest these three tips to get you started:

Tip 1. (Virtual) Onboarding Buddies

Assigning onboarding buddies to new hires helps them build an immediate connection between them and the organization. They can provide the type of context your new hire won’t find in the employee handbook, show your new hire around and help making connections by introducing them to others. This leads the new employee to feel comfortable sooner and to achieve a sense of acceptance and belonging. See our Onboarding Buddy Toolbox if you want to learn more about onboarding buddies.

Tip 2. Stay in touch

Check in frequently. As you are unable to walk past a new hires desk every now and then, it’s important to stay in touch with them and make sure they have everything they need.

Tip 3. Build relationships

Building relationships during their first months can help new hires feel less isolated and more confident. After all, the onboarding process - whether remotely or in-person - should be all about people.Focus on building community and encourage human connections. Why not set up a virtual lunch date between colleagues and have food delivered to both? If you know of colleagues that live near each other you can even set up a live coffee date!

Facilitate Career Moves

Today's employees are far less likely to dedicate their entire careers to one employer. In fact, on average, people now change jobs every four years. As the world opens up, more employees are evaluating their next move. According to Microsoft research, 41% of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year. 

As a response, organizations are investing in employees’ careers to retain talent. Offering and facilitating career moves benefits both employees and your organization. By promoting or moving employees to better-matched roles, you boost morale, create a more positive experience, and entice them to stick around.

Your organization will benefit as well. Internal hiring reduces the costs of recruiting and there is no need to train an employee from the ground up as they’re already familiar with company systems, processes, and culture. What’s left is functional onboarding on the new job.

HR Technology

Many organizations implemented new technologies and tools in order to ensure a swift transition to remote working. With the average number of HR systems per organization increasing from 10 in 2020 to 16 in 2021, according to a study by Sapient Insights, it becomes clear that HR teams are looking for new tools to help them automate and simplify their workflows. 

Before hiring, you can use a digital screening tool that can help you verify a candidate’s CV. Once hired, an onboarding platform can provide new hires with easy access to the right information and knowledge wherever they are located. Furthermore, eSigning or electronic signature tools allow new hires to sign the necessary HR documents. 

Worried about an ever increasing toolstack? Don’t be! Many of today’s HR tools offer integrations with other software solutions, allowing you to build your ideal tech environment that’s tailored to your team.

VR Training

When thinking about VR (Virtual Reality) you might think of entertainment or gaming instead of HR. However, many global leaders in various industries have already implemented virtual reality solutions for new employee onboarding & training. 

With the on-demand nature of VR training, new skills can be practiced in a realistic environment as many times as needed to feel more confident and capable on the job. Bank of America did a VR Training pilot with 400 employees covering areas such as strengthening and deepening relationships with clients, navigating difficult conversations, and listening and responding with empathy. After the pilot 97% felt more comfortable with their tasks after the training. 

Peugeot uses VR to create a healthy, safe and productive work environment by making participants visit a physical therapist to create the right work posture in physical and mental form. DHL trains their employees on how to organize packages as efficiently as possible and Erasmus MC is using VR to train nurses on dealing with Covid-19 patients. More examples can be found in this article.

That’s it! Our take on onboarding trends that will shape up 2022.

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