The new rules of online onboarding – Harnessing the power of technology:
The global pandemic fundamentally changed the world of work, onboarding has to take place digitally in many cases. It remains to be seen how lasting the changes will be. One thing is certain, however: online onboarding has become a new reality. Family businesses must adapt accordingly to remain attractive to top talent.
It is important to understand the challenges and opportunities of digital onboarding:
- Issues: there are no more informal relationship building chats at the coffee machine, the impromptu learning opportunities in the corridors have disappeared. One cannot see the other person’s body language, feel the atmosphere. It can be longer and more challenging as a newcomer to build rapport when you can only connect online with people one has never met before.
- Benefits: it is faster to bring together simultaneously people who are in different locations, it is easier to reach out and build rapport with a broader audience and maintain a continuous communication line. One can significantly save time, energy and costs all of which can be re-allocated elsewhere. One may gain quality time for deep thinking and reflection.
Online onboarding requires even more planning and proactivity than traditional onboarding, which can happen in a more “organic way”. How can the non-family executive build trust and engage the family, the owners and the employees when he cannot see them in person?
Ideally, the leader or representative of the family, or the chairperson, should formulate a welcome message for the incoming CEO in a video message for all the employees, clearly indicating that the future CEO enjoys the trust and support of the family.
The non-family CEO could:
- Segment his/her audience, identify who are the key stakeholders in the company and in the family he/she needs to connect with and answer the following questions: with whom should he/she build a one-to-one personal connection? Who can he/she address as a group?
- Customize the frequency of communication in each case: with whom should he/she have a quarterly, monthly, weekly or daily online meeting?
- Adapt the format according to the audience and the objectives: virtual townhall with all employees, frequent video conferences with the chair or whoever represents the family, online workshops for projects, e-learning programmes for specific topics, virtual morning coffee open to all direct reports.
- Strive to integrate the informal coffee chats and impromptu learning moments into the meeting agendas.
- Share a well-structured and transparent process.
- Assign a digitally savvy coordinator to setup and organize all those online interactions.