Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Wicked Challenges ™
Filter by Specialism
An interactive discussion and demonstration on:

28 June 2022


Hosted by Hywel Griffiths


A trade-off between Face-to-Face and Remote- or can you enjoy the best of both? An interactive discussion and demonstration. Organisations are On/Reboarding new and existing colleagues using a mix of face-to-face and online activities for a ever more remote workforce. Everything is a trade-off and as such has pros and cons. In this interactive discussion we'll explore that with Hywel Griffiths, Chief and Finance Partner @YourBigPic.

What's on your pad?

Tell us your challenge


Discuss the pros and cons to Onboarding and Reboarding in the current climate.

There is a shift in expectations of new and existing colleagues in the way they see themselves within the workplace. The speed of the change has caught a lot of organisations out as the established ways of formalising the relationships through contracts, role-names and T&Cs have not had the chance to catch up.

Turning the tables a full 360° how about a more human colleague-centric approach to keep colleagues productive over a more sustainable period? Let’s discuss how we might be able to do that ..

Working in the office:

  • Have everyone on the same page;
  • Allows upline and colleagues to better understand the individual;
  • Opportunities to be more inclusive – helps MENTAL HEALTH;
  • Chance to relearn old habits and learn and work in the ‘RIGHT WAY’ for the business;
  • Adds flexibility to the business approach ..

Working from Home or Hybrid:

  • Onboarding concentrates on the staff member rather than the value added of the staff member and what they bring to the business;
  • Retention challenge – poor Onboarding leads to staff turnover; leading to loss of profit;
  • Feeling alone and not included;
  • Difficult to understand the needs or the culture of the business.
“Consider is a colleague's communication skills and how personable they are. Also, having the overriding impression that you can trust the colleague.”
Client Onboarding & Activity Planning Manager

One of the areas of the discussion that we felt was most important was the level of TRUST.

For long periods of time, employers were reluctant to have employees WFH, but the pandemic put us in a position that this had to be ACCEPTABLE.

“Good working tech that allows for virtual breakout rooms, whiteboards etc to keep the sessions inclusive.”
Global Product Deployment Director

Engaging the employees is so important. Those employees that are usually engaged when in the office would feel engaged WFH as well. The important point is to make sure those that may be reluctant to engage are not forgotten.

“Interview conversation definitely needs to be honest so they know what they are signing up for. I would say utilise the recording function as much as possible on teams so they have a reference point for training & make the office days count. Lots of meeting other departments. Relationship building so they are comfortable reaching out to them when at home"
Onboarding Specialist at Virgin Media

Introducing hybrid approach, but ensuring it is completely open and understood is a very important part of the discussion.

“Create some interaction between the two. Buddy home workers with site workers to minimise silos and increase empathy and collaboration.”
The Learning Interventions Company Ltd

The discussion about 'buddy' strategy was really interesting - is this something that can become a norm moving forward?

“Training, training, training, buddying up and Whatsapp open for dialogue with the teams during the day."
Recruitment Specialist

Social media of all sort as 'chat' platforms to keep everyone engaged and on top of the business requirements was keenly discussed.

“I think when onboarding you need to get them into the office for a few days proper training. That way they can embrace the culture and values early. Get it wrong and they will feel disengaged from the get go.”
 Senior Corporate Relationship Manager 

Another part of the discussion relating to a hybrid approach - making sure the employees felt 'special'.

“In some ways where someone spends most of their working day should not be important. Everyone would be participating in the same on-boarding process. So, the training can be the same. The difference comes from working out what needs to be different because the person is not working in a conventional way. This could include information about how to deal with practical things like when something goes wrong, or when they do not know how to do something. There should also be information about how to manage remote working. This could include being able to identify how to set-up a safe working space, desk etc and how to manage the psychological aspects of being a remote worker. How to build relationships remotely is also very important. Lots of people now have online friends around the world that they are unlikely to ever meet but no one has yet identified how it is that people build trust without face-to-face contact? ”
Building Business Focused HR Operations

A very important point brought up that relates to when things don't always go right. It is so important to know what to do if things go wrong as well as too try to make sure things are right.

“I think the main thing for me is Hybrid Working where its a mix of working from home and working in the Office . What lessons have we learnt from this in our Group in Cambridge is that having this mix significantly reduces the risk of some of the disadvantages mentioned by Hywel . Hybrid Working is worked out at the Team Level so there is no minimum time you need to spend in the Office . It's what is best for the Employee balanced with the needs of the Organisation. We have found this provides a sustainable work life balance. It give people the option to choose what suits them coming into the Office. The flexibility to move between workspaces offers convenience and variety. Employees can diarise their tasks depending on their location – for example; meetings in the office then longer, focussed tasks (like coding at home – to maximise productivity struggle to compartmentalise work, returning to the office – then unwinding on the commute – gives them the physical distance needed to mentally log off. Employee Welfare employees feel recognised and cared-for both in and out of the office. This has built job loyalty and breed stability, trust and connection. Its resulted in an improved sense of fulfilment and overall Wellbeing. So far then Hybrid Working has been very successful in creating a happier workforce ( It was a low base ) It hasn't been as successful in other parts of the Organisation where hybrid has been strictly defined you must be in the office two days per week etc . ”

A quote on how most felt about hybrid approach.

“It is important that everyone feels welcome. Any technology such as computers should be sent to new remote starters before the first day so that they can communicate and have access to internal systems right from day 1. I think it is always important to get to know the team. All meeting face to face if possible, even just for one day, but if not, virtually. It is important to ensure all employees feel the human touch and sense of community. Also an understanding of company values and purpose and how each job fits with that. Prepare activities where new starters have a chance to get to know each other, - break out rooms etc. Try to create a common experience. Home workers should not feel they are missing out. Could pair as buddies an office worker and a home worker ”
Award winning People Development Specialist

Making sure once again that the employees are made to feel special.

“1. Ensure location, impact and value are accounted for in role expectations
2. Keeping colleague engaged, involved and feeling valued - how, who, when
3. What are colleagues feelings/concerns/hopes about role and hybrid working
4. Workplace needs are met
5. How to ensure well-being / emotional support when remote
6. Making colleague feel emotionally connected to the firm, culture and values of not office based
7. How will effective performance management work in a remote setting
8. How has the firm adjusted colleague experiences to account for varied locations/ settings for operating. Obviously this assumes all pre-onboarding checks have been done so no risk to firm. ”
People & LifeWork™ Consultant

It was good to hear the suggestion about making sure the pre-boarding as well as onboarding was sound.

“That question right there is pretty much the crux of my whole job right now! Vetting: How can we keep the experience engaging while satisfying info sec requirements and regulators. Vetting is long and boring… line managers can help with contact, but ‘drop out rates’ are increasing; how can we stop that? Induction: How do we drive an engaged colleague population who are going to carry our culture from day 1 digitally!?? How do we manufacture those ad hoc conversations across multiple teams, like what happens in the office, when most people are at home? First weeks: We currently courier all our laptops nationwide… can we keep that up? If not… how can we do it instead?? If culture is the most important thing … the thing that differentiates us from other employers (it does) then how can that come to life at home as well as in the office? When people come into the office how does that experience impact the teams in a positive way. ”
People Operations Manager at Metro Bank

Paul summed up the feeling of importance for the employees in this quote.

“Ok sure. Firstly though i have to say that i detest the word "onboarding" 😉 - I think welcoming is better for so many reasons. I did a gig at a software company a few weeks back and they are all remote across Europe. But they had a few new starters start actually on the day of the conference, which made it so much easier, then they have real relationships to build on. A weekly work social online is a good option too. 30 minutes of fun/sharing and no work esp for extroverts.”
Award-Winning Motivational Speaker + Presentation Coach

A suggestion that onboarding or reboarding might not be the best terminology. It was a welcome discussion.

“I think some of the things we need to look at are some of the basics, - getting the right systems/access they need for day one so people aren't watching zoom on their phones - the feeling of being in a team whilst in different places - the support learners might need that would be almost instinctive 1:1 support in a classroom - in role support, if in a contact centre for example, supporting people taking their first call whilst potentially on their own which can be scary ”

Getting back to basics to make sure all employees are happy and comfortable was part of all the discussions.

“Make it personable, and have the onboarding echo the recruitment process seamlessly."
Talent Acquisition Management & Advisory

Making sure that even before there is an application, the recruitment process emphasises how the time at work will go.

“Innovation Consultant & Founder at Counterpoint Digital Consulting It shouldn’t matter where people work as long as where they work means they achieve optimum results - hope that helps ”
Innovation Consultant, Author & Founder

The RESULTS thought -at the end of the day the employer will want to make sure they get the best results.

“Things we consider at the very beginning is how we provide that feeling of belonging and being part of a wider company. This links into the psychological contract we want to gain. We do this in several ways starting from the interview process and moving it into the offer and onboarding process. Similar to what you mention in your audio we do regular reviews during the early stages and ask them to complete a new starter questionnaire at 90 days to gain an understanding of how things are going. The questionnaire covers recruitment, onboarding and management support during the first 3 months. Hope this helps ”
Head of People and Culture at Derwent fm

This quote sums up the discussion nicely - make sure from the very start of the process to when the results come from the employee that the employee is happy.

We concluded this event by summarising the informtion in a table -

CommunicationHow strong are the communication skills to ensure business continuity and added value?
TrustHow strong is trust to get the work completed to time and budget?Building online trust?
TechnologyGood strong tech and ability for breakout rooms.
Recording of all gatherings/meetings/interaction.
Company devices to be sent to home location.
How is that managed for hybrid approach?
How does this impact on cost/ROI for businesses?
TrainingContinuous training opportunities.
Team BuildingVirtual meetings so comfortable when ftf.
Buddy wfh with office staff.
Whattsapp and social platform groups.
OnboardingInitial training onsite.
Setting up a safe environment at home.
Ensure location, impact are accounted for in role expectation.
SupportWhat support available if things go WRONG?
e.g. tech at home; not knowing how to close a requirement.
BalanceRight amount of time in office and wfh.
Target is to get the work done.
Employee welfareBalanced approach helps sustain welfare.
Imposed approach has caused issues.
Ensure all feel emotionally connected.
Values/cultureEnsure all are fully aware of this.
Business needsMust be met at all times irrespective of work location.
All contracts updated to account for new approach.
All requirements and regulatory needs are accounted for.
Performance ManagementHow does this work in remote environment?
FinanceHow does the business ensure ROI for remote working re personnel?
How does the business ensure ROI if all assets are relocated?
What is the financial impact re insurance?
What is the financial impact re GDPR?

We will use the table above as the catalyst for the final discussion.

These have been informative and interesting - we look forward to summarising all of this in the final event.