How can companies ensure their onboarding and training processes remain fair and balanced in a hybrid work culture? – Workers’ Rights/ Industrial Relations
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Linda Wong – CEO and Partner, Wong Fleming – USA – New Jersey
Onboarding and training should be consistently developed and provided to all new hires, and training should be consistent with face-to-face meetings and video conferencing to discuss office procedures, work assignments, and problem-solving strategies.
Many continuous professional growth courses are delivered remotely and should be offered consistently to all employees. If employees are also active in certain professional organizations, employers should encourage their membership and consider paying membership fees and subscriptions to trade journals.
Lionel Paraire – Partner, Galion Société d’Avocats – France
Working from home increases time spent on HR and administrative tasks, team leadership, individual follow-up, and activity coordination. By making individual exchange and team cohesion more difficult, teleworking also has a mainly negative impact on team management.
It’s also important to adapt leadership styles to this way of working, with less control and more interaction with the employee. More than ever, the manager must guarantee the cohesion of the team by inventing new rituals of conviviality; through more and better communication and; by building a solid relationship of trust.
The employer’s managerial or supervisory authority must continue to be exercised remotely, while respecting the teleworker’s privacy. The collective agreement drawn up by the employer must specify the periods during which the employer can contact the teleworker.
Since 2016, French workers have had a “right to disconnect” and companies must include this issue in the annual mandatory negotiations and regulate the use of digital tools to ensure respect for rest and vacation times, and private and family life.
Diana Neagu – Partner, Vernon | David – Romania
A good onboarding program is an essential first step when it comes to welcoming new employees. Apart from learning guidelines, internal regulations and manuals, the actual introduction of the layout of the place where offline work is done is very important. This became even more apparent during the pandemic, when some new employees took months to visit the site after starting work with an employer. However, because onboarding was done online, we have encountered unfortunate instances where employees were unable to properly grasp the capabilities of their on-site offices when required to return to work in person, resulting in significant psychological distress for employees and potential liability claims for employees Employees led employers. Based on this time, we therefore strongly recommend that all onboarding be done both online and onsite (in smaller groups) once staff resume their onsite work.
In terms of training, we believe that a hybrid work culture offers the perfect opportunity to ensure that all employees have access to the same level of training. We believe companies should reallocate part of their offline training budget to a combination of online and offline training aimed at smaller groups. While cost is always an issue, in our experience, we’ve found that employees seem to benefit more from smaller group training than from large group offline training.
Rebecca Torrey – Partner, The Torrey Firm – USA – California
Employee onboarding and training is critical to the success of any workforce, especially a hybrid work arrangement. Onboarding may be virtual or require in-person meetings depending on job requirements, company practices, and budget. In any case, employers should put in place a deliberate and well-designed new hire process that takes into account the circumstances of their hybrid arrangements.
Formal initial professional training typically consists of an overview of: Company policies and procedures; work expectations; corporate culture; use of devices; perks and benefits; and professional skills and know-how. Informal on-the-job training that occurs naturally when working with others should not be overlooked or minimized. Employers with remote workers need to find ways to replicate the collaborative learning and team building that occurs when people are in the same place together. This is the area where I see the most challenges and frustrations.
Learning to work better is an ongoing process for employees. Remote work may require additional communication and supervision to assess an employee’s knowledge of the job requirements and understanding of company culture. It may take longer as new methods are required to get acquainted with colleagues and build a relationship. Some employees feel distant and unleadered due to insufficient interaction with management. This can be a source of employee retention issues. Managers may need training and coaching on how to communicate more effectively, develop teamwork, and supervise their team in hybrid working arrangements.
Shilpen Savani – Partners, gunnercooke llp – England
The starting point is creating a clear work from home or hybrid work policy that can be added to the employee handbook so that it is accessible to all employees. The policy should state whether workers are required to submit formal requests for flexible working hours (if eligible) to request a contract modification that reflects the agreed arrangement, or whether a policy is preferable to discretionary hybrid work. Some employees may appreciate a flexible arrangement, while others prefer a formal contract change.
As far as recruitment and onboarding is concerned, it is important to clearly inform candidates about the flexible and hybrid working opportunities during the recruitment process and, wherever possible, to share specific information about the flexible working options available. Recruitment managers should also be properly trained and virtual interviews should be encouraged to maximize accessibility for all candidates.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently published practical guidance for the government’s flexible labor deployment group. Her tips include: providing training based on a candidate’s experience with remote work; Helping new workers structure their work to separate work and home; create a social connection as soon as possible; providing newcomers with a buddy they can turn to for support, and; ensure newcomers have all the technology and access to systems they need to be effective from day one.
Gabriel Bleser – Partner, Bonn Schmitt – Luxembourg
The Convention deals specifically with the issue of training, which states that the principle of equal treatment of teleworkers and regular workers must be respected, particularly with regard to access to training and career development.
The convention gives companies two practical tips. First, to avoid any discrimination against teleworkers, training on remote work and how to manage it can be put in place. Second, in order for everyone to share equally in the benefits of telework, distance learning and technology, teleworkers must receive adequate training on the devices at their disposal and the characteristics of remote work.
The process of onboarding new employees is not specifically covered by the convention. It does say, however, that employers must take steps to prevent remote workers from being isolated by giving them the opportunity to meet regularly with colleagues and access company information, including onboarding processes.
With that in mind, to prevent isolation, other recommendations include: begin the onboarding process before an employee’s first day to make their first few days less overwhelming; to focus on personal connections via paperwork in those early days to improve morale and relationships between colleagues; set up welcome events for virtual teams and; Showcase the offices, even remotely, so employees feel welcome when they need to work from the premises.
Gerd Müller-Volbehr – Partner, ACURIS Rechtsanwälte – Germany
Employees need to continuously learn and educate themselves to keep up with the demands of Work 4.0. In addition, newly emerging professions require ever higher qualifications. Soft skills such as personal responsibility, time management and adaptability are becoming increasingly important in order to be successful. Training and further education should be ensured through face-to-face events and online courses and every employee should be given the opportunity to participate, for the benefit of the company and the employee.
Mark D’Alelio – Founder, Legal Asean – Thailand
In this ‘new normal’, training appears to be more remote, particularly given the current Covid-19 restrictions on group gatherings. Will these restrictions be relaxed over time? Certainly one would hope so, but this offers an opportunity for companies to refine their training methods to allow for more remote and IT-based learning. Again, this must start with changing the internal culture to adapt to the “new normal”.
Thailand has a rich and distinctive cultural heritage and the same goes for Thai businesses. Where the workforce is older, it will be important to change these traditional mindsets to encourage change in terms of training.
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