Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Onboarding Employees remotely at Kanaka


We all know that on-boarding calls for a lot of effort because the idea is to welcome new employees with warmth and make them comfortable in the new office environment. Meeting new employees in person, explaining them stuff, helping them adapt to office culture, becomes way easier if that happens in a physical environment.

Due to pandemic, Kanaka like most organizations has had to close offices and hence we are stuck with on-boarding new employees online. When it comes to online on-boarding, things become challenging not only for the HR team, interviewers, but also for the new joiners. Why so? Well, it becomes way easier for them to interact with the team leads, team members and understanding all the product requirements if interaction happens face to face. Explaining things remotely requires a lot more effort is not as smooth as it seems. Also, people miss the lunch time interactions and coffee time gossips.

We at Kanaka, believe in employee first policy. We have always been thriving to make on-boarding experience smooth for our new joiners. Despite the pandemic woes, and more of online / virtual interaction rather than face to face, we have ensured quality and diligence in our process, right from hiring to on-boarding formalities, to providing training and helping our new joiners with all the requisites and guidance.  

I am Niranjan Aradhye and I lead the HR team at Kanaka. My team is always trying to identify the right candidates who will fit our requirements, our culture and have desired attitude.

I feel that establishing a connect with the candidates at the very start is extremely important to the entire process. My HR team takes great effort to establish connect with the candidates and learns all about the candidates expectations, their goals, areas of focus and explain them the job description. Once we feel that we are on the same page with the candidate, we move ahead with the next steps.

In the earlier days, we used to invite candidates for interviews directly, but in the new pandemic regime, it has become very difficult and time consuming to evaluate the candidate remotely. So, we decided to introduce an online test for the candidates. The online test allows the interviewer to quickly judge the strengths of the candidate as far as the technical competency goes thereby reducing the length of the interview.

A couple of rounds of interviews that follow are made as personal as possible by assigning the team member who is going to work with the candidate to interview them. So, the connect with the candidate can start right at the time of the interview. The interviews are conducted in a secured manner and to get a physical feel for the interview, it is done through video calls.

Rutuja Deshmukh, who joined Kanaka during pandemic thought that the process for interviewing was smooth, and the interviewers were quite nice.

While selecting the candidate, I think that it is extremely important to imbibe some of the cultural aspects of the company right at the start. My team has a detailed interaction with the candidate about the company, its culture, the people in company, the engagements, and other any other information.

I believe that the connect with the candidate needs to also continue during the time that the candidate is completing his duties at his earlier employer. We take great pride in making sure that we reach out to candidates occasionally, to ascertain their well-being and their keenness to join Kanaka. Any issues even small are addressed upfront.

As part of the joining process, we make sure that the joining kit which is  provided to the candidates on the day of joining. We need to go lengths to plan on the way we are going to deliver the joining kit. We have had cases where the employees joining Kanaka were based in such a remote location that there was no courier service to get to their native place. We ensure that the employee has Internet infrastructure available at the place of remote working whether it is wired broadband or mobile dongles are available with the employee. The onboarding process involves providing productivity tools to the employees on day one  of their joining.

I strongly have believed in a buddy system in an organization is necessary for successful onboarding of an employee. The pandemic time has proven that that process of buddy system is even more important. My team goes through great lengths to identify the right buddy in the team based on the new employee’s character. Past experience has given me a fair idea on who will bond with whom and so, the buddies are decided on a personalized basis.

Tejas Dhande who joined very recently, expressed his delight at the entire process of joining Kanaka. He said, “Right from the beginning, team Kanaka was in touch with me and followed up for all the formalities. The HR team, the interviewers, the training / learning sessions, the onboarding formalities, everything was wonderful”.

At Kanaka, we practice an open-door policy. With remote working, we no longer have doors, but everyone can reach out to anyone within the organization up to the leadership without any issues or concerns. Employee concerns are handled with the highest priority always.

My goal in Kanaka has been to make sure that the employees feel welcome within the organization from the first day. It has been challenging in the work from home situation, but as we evolve in this, I am trying to make sure that employees feel that they are integral part of Kanaka while they are working from the comfort of their homes.