Social distance - or maybe not?

Author: David Djerf
Published: May 08 2020

At a time when we need each other most, to create security and understanding, it is unfortunate that social distance has become synonymous with physical rejection. On the contrary, we should continue to be social but avoid being physically close to each other. Many companies now face the challenge of creating a strong us-feeling at a distance.

Technology allows us to continue to be social and in a short time many organizations have had to switch to digital solutions. For better or for worse. In my world, at Induction, where our most important task is to welcome new employees to their new workplaces, we have always used technology as leverage to create engaging, structured and effective introduction programs.

Through a warm and structured welcome, we bridge physical distance and give new employees good conditions to succeed as new at work. Through our learning platform Promote, we create meetings between people and strategy, structure and building culture. Sure, technology can make it easier, improve, and simplify for many organizations, not least for overburdened managers with too little time for their new employees. 

Digital onboarding should support and drive social interaction but very rarely replace the interpersonal meeting between the manager and new employee! Something that can happen both digitally and physically.

So what does it take to succeed if you want to digitize your onboarding process?

The first step must be to dare to think new. Simply creating a digital checklist in a neat user interface will hardly create a WOW feel for your new employees. There must be room for interaction, reflection and, not least, inspiration.

The second is to facilitate and support managers. I have not met any manager who does not want to be present, coaching and a good role model. Unfortunately, however, the reality is all too often different, where constant priorities and urgent commitments mean that there is not enough time. Here technology can help us, as support and free up time for managers.

Last but perhaps most important. There is a great risk that new employees will receive far too much information during their introduction, believing that it will help them perform their duties as quickly and well as possible. Many companies drown their employees in theory, e-learning and PDFs. But when was the last time you read a pdf of ten pages?

What can you do today?

My tip is to look through your onboarding process with new eyes. If you were the new one, what would have ignited your spark? What would have made you feel committed? What would have given you a good start in your new role? Think about this and how you would like to experience this digitally – but still socially!

Take care of each other and good luck with what you are going to do today and not least tomorrow.