According to a recent study by Unispace called “Returning for Good,” a staggering 89% of employers admit feeling more comfortable hiring new staff in person, while 84% indicate that face-to-face training is more effective.
Losing the Human Touch
The absence of physical interactions in the virtual environment creates gaps that technology can’t fill. Employers believe that the nuances of company culture and working styles are hard to transmit online. Julie Lecoq of Unispace comments, “Data from our Returning for Good study shows that the workplace offers an invaluable human connection that cannot be replicated on a virtual basis.”
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Performance Suffers in Virtual Environments
Another unsettling statistic from the study reveals that 4 out of 10 employers think new hires take longer to achieve the expected level of performance when onboarded remotely. This comes at a time when the UK is dealing with a skills shortage and a drop in productivity. Unispace suggests the solution lies in a return to physical workplaces, where new employees can benefit from direct engagement with their peers.
New Employees Find It Tough Too
It’s not just employers who find remote onboarding challenging; new employees feel the pinch too. Around 17% of new hires say they struggle with reading body language and establishing connections with colleagues when working remotely. The lack of these essential social cues can make the onboarding experience stressful and less effective.
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Time for Action
Julie Lecoq says, “We know that mandating returns does not work. Businesses need to find a way to make their new and existing employees want to be in the office.” The sentiment resonates with the need for companies to redesign their office spaces to meet the changed expectations of their workforce post-pandemic.
A previous study we referenced suggests offering more flexibility in work arrangements, enriching office amenities, and introducing comprehensive wellbeing programs. These strategies could serve as enticing factors for employees to opt for office-based work, thus potentially solving the issues related to remote recruitment and onboarding.
The Cost of Inaction
If employers don’t adapt to these changing realities and expectations, the risk of low productivity and engagement looms large. The lack of effective onboarding could lead to longer time-to-competency, lower job satisfaction, and higher turnover, exacerbating existing issues like skills shortages.
Time to Reimagine the Workplace
Companies need to find a middle ground because remote work isn’t going away. The Unispace study makes it clear that the path to efficient hiring and training lies in reimagining the workplace to serve post-pandemic needs. This isn’t just about redecorating; it’s about rethinking what a workspace should offer to draw employees back into a physical setting where they can be at their most productive and engaged.
If companies are serious about overcoming the pitfalls of remote recruitment and onboarding, they must listen to both statistical data and human feedback. A hybrid environment could be the answer, where in-person interactions become both achievable and desirable. The last three years have shown us that being adaptable is essential for staying relevant in today’s fast-paced work environment.