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Onboarding: “the action or process of integrating a new employee into an organisation” - PKF Littlejohn

Posted by Dominic Watt

With what has been a whirlwind nine months during this current pandemic, many organisations have adapted to new ways of working, new technologies and new work structures. Dominic Watt, Managing Consultant at Pro-Tax speaks with Karen Soo (HR and Recruitment Specialist) from PKF Littlejohn and discusses how they reacted to lockdown and getting back to hiring ways with a newly reformed onboarding system.

The importance of a good onboarding cannot be underestimated. This is the opportunity for employers to ensure that new employees are engaged from the get-go. With hiring processes being both time-consuming and costly, it is an absolute must to prevent any early stage disengagement.  

In March 2020, the UK government announced a national lockdown and what followed was the largest economic recession since the Great Depression. It came as no surprise that recruitment freezes were seen across the nation. 

Uncertainty loomed and nobody knew what was about to be faced in the coming months. However, for PKF Littlejohn it was more of a pause and reflection before they turned the ‘hiring taps’ back on.

The business had to face the facts that getting 100% interaction, as you do with a face-to-face onboarding, may be something of the past and had to act efficiently.

With an already agile workplace and last year’s investment in a new IT infrastructure, PKF Littlejohn managed to adapt with ease and have really hit the nail on the head. Being in the mindset of embracing technology and moving with the times has certainly helped.

In terms of change, they had an already robust onboarding programme for new starters but had to tweak things slightly. The most critical change was around “over-training and over-communicating, regardless of level of seniority.” Having more touch points throughout the day has ensured those new colleagues felt fully supported during those critical first few weeks.

In addition to this, they continue to draw up fully comprehensive schedules and ensure all meetings are booked with relevant members of the business in advance. This even comes down to administrative support and IT to ensure everything runs smoothly, all voices are heard and due to them having an enhanced structured approach.

With years of experience in HR and Recruitment, a key ‘top tip’ from Karen is to "work to the strengths of the technology available", even more so as we head towards 2021 and the ‘new norm’ to prevent the business from falling behind, the show must go on as they say.. 

Since lockdown, all the firm’s interviews have been conducted via Zoom. This has had a positive impact and improved the overall candidate experience. As well as this, interviewing processes have become easier with more general availability to arrange a video call over having to attend a face- to-face interview.

In summary (with the pandemic not disappearing anytime soon) it is paramount to adopt crucial changes to business procedures, especially when it comes to the recruitment process and onboarding. At the end of the day, you do not get a second chance to make a first impression! 

Dominic is having daily conversations with many hiring organisations to ensure he is best advised on market situations. For any help with your recruitment needs, or further discussion on how to best onboard your teams, please contact Dominic on 020 7269 6310 or email dominic.watt@pro-tax.co.uk

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