Tips for Onboarding New Recruits Post Pandemic in the Hybrid Workplace

Small Business Canada

PEO Leadership, a firm offering executive leadership support, offers tips to help create a successful onboarding process

As the economy heats up and companies accelerate plans for a new hybrid workplace, business leaders are focusing their efforts on employee retention and top talent recruitment to ensure their organizations continue to succeed. In fact, a July 2021 Global Study done by McKinsey & Co., states that 26% of workers in the US are already preparing to look for new employment opportunities and 40% of workers globally are considering leaving their current employers by the end of the year.

“Recruitment and retention go hand in hand, so I’d like to focus on three objectives both leaders and their organizations should be focused on when dealing with new, interim, part-time, and/or full-time recruits,” states Leon Goren, president, and chief executive officer of PEO Leadership. “Remote work has made it harder to give employees opportunities for an apprenticeship, traditional onboarding, and contributed to mental-health risks. Communicating to employees how values play into the big picture, helps reestablish bonds.”

Goren explains that:

It’s important to continue to build and reinforce the organizational culture, which includes high performance and innovation. To do this, new recruits need to feel welcomed, challenged and excited to jump in with both feet. They need to feel that their organization is going to help them grow and prosper in a potentially high mental stress world.
Leaders need to create an environment where new recruits can build their confidence and affirm their decision, that they joined the right company.
Leaders need to bring fun and a sense of purpose back into the workplace culture.

Here are some tips for onboarding new recruits in a hybrid workplace in a post-pandemic environment:

Institute a buddy system. Create moments in which coaching, mentorship, idea sharing, and co-working take place. Figure out your new employee’s interests and match them with someone within their generation, similar interests, and personality. Formalize a structure around expectations – How will it work? What’s expected? How often will they meet? In-person or on Zoom? This process may only be in place for 90 days, allowing the new recruit to adjust to his/her new environment.
Create or enhance your mentorship program. Different than the buddy system, new employees may be paired up with someone a level or two above. The goal is to be able to navigate the workplace environment and speak freely with someone with experience about some of the challenges and/or opportunities this new employee may be dealing with.
Create and focus on in-person interactions. With increasing screen time, physical interaction is becoming more important than ever in dealing with anxiety, loneliness, and stress. Humans need to be able to interact with each other and to continue to learn how to interact professionally with others in a workplace environment.


As leaders, we need to strategically plan situations where our people can meet. A new recruit should not be coming into the office 3 days a week to find that no one is there to interact with.

Strategically plan who will be in the office every day and form clusters, especially around those that are new to the organization. Operating at 40% capacity needs to be countered with figuring out where employees sit, so they’re able to properly interact and not be spread out all over the office.
The Plexiglass Lunchroom is simply not much fun. Most of these set-ups result in employees eating at their desks in front of their computers. Create safe eating environments outside to encourage employees to safely come together and interact.
Over-communicate, because many corporate social norms are not that obvious. New employees without proper communication, are having a hard time understanding the basics within your organization, such as work hours and dress code.


Leaders and managers need to be visible and present; role modeling is essential. Many executives have come to enjoy working from their homes, cottages, or vacation properties, with time for reflection and a chance to reengage and spend time with their families. It’s not easy to let that go; however, you can’t be managing a business from your vacation property and expect your people to be in the office engaged and performing at a level that will allow the organization to succeed.
Take the time to walk the office even if you’re at only 40% capacity. Speak with the employees, ask how they’re doing, show patience, interest, and actively listen for feedback. Take a few employees for lunch or invite them to attend a meeting. Expose them to other parts of the business so they can appreciate the impact you’re having and relate their own responsibilities with that of the organization. Every person has a role to play in the success of the organization, employees need to be aware of how their role connects to the entire business.

It’s also important for executives to have support outside of their organizations, where they can get unbiased feedback that will help them “hit the ground running”. A trusted network of their peers will empower them to navigate the changes and challenges that come their way. PEO Leadership is offering two 8-Week Executive Programs starting mid-September. One is for CEOs, COOs, Presidents, and Business Owners (click here) and the other is for C-level Executives, SVPs, VPs, and Directors (click here).

PEO Leadership offers an executive leadership community that represents over 100 business leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and top executives. Its services include peer advisory boards, executive coaching, community connections, strategic business advice, an annual world-class leadership conference, and thought leadership events including PEO Leadership’s “The Way Forward” live webcast and podcast. The company is owned by Leon Goren, who has over 25 years of leadership experience in helping business owners and executives realize their personal and organizational goals.

About PEO Leadership

PEO Leadership is a Canadian peer-to-peer leadership advisory firm that has been the destination for business leaders to regularly meet and discuss important issues, solve problems and explore new opportunities since 1991. The organization provides a safe and highly confidential environment, with PEO Executive Advisors who facilitate stimulating and astute dialogue to leverage the collective experience, creativity, intellect, and wisdom of the Peer Advisory Board and the PEO Leadership Community at large. They support, cultivate and accelerate business leaders’ leadership excellence to achieve great impact through the organizations they lead, the communities they serve, and the lives they live. Current members include Umbra, Miele, Crayola, ThinkOn, and Nestle. For more information about the company and services, visit the site at: https://peo-leadership.com.

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