Push Back Start Dates? 7 Steps to Keep New Hires Engaged

Some companies have had to push back the start dates of new hires indefinitely as a result of COVID-19. How can these companies keep their future employees active and engaged as they wait? Here are a few ideas.  

  1. Acknowledge their expectations. A new hire may have already left their prior company to come onboard. Verbally recognizing the impact of pushing their start date back may have on them, their income and their access to benefits is important. Acknowledging this with them can help them feel seen and understood, even if you are not able to change the situation at this time. 
  2. Ask what you can do for them. Do not assume that you know exactly what your future employees need. Talking to them directly is the best resource. Provide the caveat that you may not be able to give them what they ask for while letting them know they are still a priority. The intention behind offering your support will not go unnoticed. 
  3. Provide a virtual orientation. While the future employee has time on their hands during quarantine, they may be willing to begin self-taught training to get up to speed on your employee handbook and certain software or practices they may be less familiar with. Consider sending them onboarding materials to go through at their leisure.  
  4. Have a virtual lunch. A casual video conference lunch with their manager can help ease anxieties and get the future employee acquainted.  Take time to ask genuine questions to get to know them. Ask about their family, new hobbies they’ve picked up during quarantine, or creative ways they have been staying connected with loved ones during this time.  
  5. Send them skillbuilding material.  Whether it is an informational book you recommend, an online course or a list of applicable webinars and podcasts to listen to, your future employee can use this time to build their skill set. 
  6. Invite them to virtual company events. If possible, invite new hires to virtual company or team events – whether they are happy hours or BINGO nights. This will allow them to get to know the culture of the organization and help them feel connected to a community.  
  7. Follow up. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and any way you can ease some of that will be appreciated. Whether you have news or not, continue to reach out to your future employees to check in and give updates, even if nothing has changed. Reassure them that while you may not be able to make promises for the future, for right now their job is still secured. 

For more resources on navigating the workplace during the Coronavirus, click here.  

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