By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

COVID-19 has successfully upended the world of work and has delivered us to the era where Working from Home (WFH) and remote work has become our new reality. 

As digital workplaces become an integral and everyday part of our work culture, organizations have to evaluate effective strategies to coach new hires for the remote world of work. Since every organization has its own rhythm, they need to help new hires acclimate to the professional and social expectations of their work environment. 

While most organizations have jumped on the Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Learning Management Platforms bandwagon to onboard and engage their remote hires,, these mediums do not always meet the needs of the organizations to the tee. 

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, has admitted that one of the significant pitfalls of remote work is that it can often feel like ‘sleeping at work’. He states that while organizations need to help employees transition between work and private life in this remote setting, it is even more essential to onboard the new hires successfully and focus on their reskilling and upskilling initiatives as per the business needs.

Work from home might not be a new phenomenon, but the scale at which it has been implemented has been experienced before. As it settles as our normal, organizations have to discover new ways of building engagement with their new hires and help them thrive in their workplace. 

The challenge with onboarding new hires

The objective of onboarding is more than just introducing the new employee into the workplace. The right onboarding experience helps employees organically integrate into the company processes and culture, its attitudes, rituals, tools, and methods. The onboarding program helps the employee get used to their new environment and understand their roles and responsibilities in great detail.

In remote work, the absence of physical interactions is driving less-than-optimal experiences for new hires. More often than not, the onboarding exercise is summed up in a video interaction, first with HR and then with their managers and team members. 

But in the absence of physical, face-to-face everyday interactions, such one-time sessions do not fulfill the objectives of onboarding and end up resembling an orientation session, a one-time session aimed at just welcoming new hires. 

Orientation is about creating the space for the new hires to acquaint them with the company vision and mission, understand company benefits, codes of conduct, and other organizational benefits.

Onboarding has to include orientation, but it cannot stop at that. Onboarding continues to remain a series of events and exchanges that happens over a period of time. Since onboarding is tailored for a specific role, it contributes significantly to driving employee engagement. 

However, the world of remote work has to account for the challenges that new hires are experiencing and drive onboarding experiences accordingly. 

  • New hires are not aware of the culture of the organization. In a remote work environment, internalizing the same through a day-long session or a video demo is not effective
  • The absence of physical interactions with team members and managers can make it hard for the new hires to establish and cement work relationships and build strong connections
  • It can be overwhelming to identify growth plans for them and assess how to leverage them
  • It can be confusing for new employees to identify the ideal pathways to demonstrate value in a remote set up
  • Evaluating how to build the professional network within the organization can also seem challenging

Coaching leads the way 

With ambiguity ruling the roost, organizations need a fool-proof strategy to drive employee experiences and help their new hires gain ground in the new environment. 

Coaching can be the most effective way to build a bridge between expectations and outcomes and provide new employees with the direction they need to navigate their careers. 

Here is a look at how coaching can help new hires to find their ground in the organization. 

  • Coaching complements onboarding in a remote set up

Complementing virtual onboarding with coaching drives greater clarity for new employees and ensures that the initial message is clear. Since new hires are not physically engaging with their team members and managers, it can be intimidating to ask questions and gain clarifications they need to get healthy working relationships going. Coaching can help new employees learn the ropes on how to navigate everyday challenges at work, be it technical or soft skills related. 

  • Coaching helps in establishing trust bridges

Establishing a coaching culture on Day 1 helps new employees realize that the organization is invested in their personal development and career growth. Providing access to skills coaching and development to every new employee helps organizations in building trust bridges with the employee. This also helps in driving employee engagement. 

This becomes especially relevant for the millennials since they are the primary demographic in the workplace and these initiatives are of great value and a big motivator for them. 

  • Coaching helps new hires find their feet 

Coaching is also an effective strategy to help new hires build connections and develop their network in the workplace. Coaching provides new hires the guidance they need to find their ground and helps them bridge the gaps that can come in their career path. 

Coaching helps new hires power through the initial days to establish themselves within the organization by helping them discover how to communicate and collaborate effectively in the remote work environment. It also helps them identify the skill gaps (power skills or technical) and also find ways to build networks.

  • Coaching provides support to new employees 

Modern-day, AI-enabled coaching platforms are the perfect support system that organizations need to evaluate where new hires need help and direction. 

By connecting the new employee to the right coach by using powerful AI algorithms, organizations can help new employees gain and increase expertise through systematic coaching interactions. 

  • Coaching drives inclusiveness 

In this world of remote work, coaching also helps organizations establish a positive and inclusive work culture. 

It helps organizations continue along the path of their diversity and inclusion initiatives and helps the new hires see that the organization is invested in their growth story. This can be a powerful motivator and can help significantly in driving employee engagement. 

  • Coaching provides direction to new hires

With the help of their coaches, new employees can also take charge of their career development and growth. Coaching platforms that take the data route and employ tests such as 16- Personality Factor self-assessments or Behavioral Skill assessments and help the new employees capably identify the gaps they need to fill to move along an upward growth trajectory. 

Coaching also helps them identify opportunities faster and discover the tricks on how to become more visible at work and drive an impact. This thereby helps new employees settle in and move along their career paths, irrespective of the remote set up.

In conclusion

Organizations have to also pay close attention to the needs of new hires who are in leadership roles. This demographic has to identify ways to not only remain engaged and productive but help those reporting into them to stay the same as well. Coaching can prepare them to lead by example and help them build the right leadership styles that are appropriate for this remote era so that they can confidently lead their teams and the organization to success. 

Connect with our team of experts to identify how our AI-enabled coaching platform can help your organization develop effective coaching strategies for your new hires and drive peer-to-peer coaching to build an inclusive and positive work culture in a location-agnostic manner.