New Hires in the Pandemic Feeling Disconnected From Colleagues

Personality Tests Could Help Bridge the Digital Divide Separating CoWorkers

Employees who started new jobs remotely during the pandemic are gradually adapting to the evolving fully remote and hybrid work environments, but many are struggling to make meaningful connections with colleagues, according to a recent survey of HR professionals conducted by Principles at the 2021 HR Tech Conference.

Ninety-four percent of HR professionals surveyed revealed they have onboarded new employees during the pandemic who have only interacted with their colleagues virtually and have not met anyone in person. Of these, 31 percent reported that while new hires are adapting in some respects, they are struggling to make connections with their coworkers. More alarming, 10 percent were unsure how these new hires were adapting in a virtual environment – highlighting a concerning disconnect between HR executives and the employees they onboard.

Onboarding and Remote Operating Strategies Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic

When asked about pandemic and future operating models, the survey found that:

  1. Pandemic Operating Models: 44 percent of respondents’ companies operated fully remote throughout the pandemic; 36 percent followed an optional remote/in-office format; and 15 percent followed a mandated hybrid model.
  2. Future Operating Models: 49 percent of respondents are adopting an optional remote/in-office model for the future; 23 percent will be fully remote moving forward; and 19 percent will have a mandated hybrid model. Only six percent are requiring all employees to be on-site in the office.

“While workplaces quickly adapted to remote work at the start of the pandemic, no one was prepared for how long the pandemic would last and the permanent impact it would have on the workplace,” said Jeff Taylor, GM and Chief Customer Officer at Principles. “When hiring picked back up, HR professionals were faced with the challenge of welcoming new employees and integrating them into the company culture without ever meeting in person. The survey shows that we are now dealing with a workforce that is disconnected and disengaged due to the challenges of remote onboarding and operating. HR professionals need to find a way to fill in this gap or else they will run the risk of increased turnover at their organizations.”

As the majority of companies will operate with some remote work moving forward, the survey highlights the necessity for managers to be more aware of the disconnects that can occur in a remote or hybrid workplace between co-workers and the need to leverage new tools and strategies to help employees build better relationships.

Using Personality Assessments to Improve Employee Retention & Engagement

To gauge how companies have been dealing with this disconnect, the survey asked respondents if they have utilized personality assessments in the workplace for team building and management purposes. The survey found that:

  1. 54 percent of respondents believe that personality assessments help people understand their strengths and areas where they might improve, and;
  2. 48 percent said that they allow you to build better teams, however;
  3. 62 percent of those same respondents’ companies don’t utilize personality assessments.

“The truth is that employees feel disconnected, and companies are struggling to find compelling new ways to improve communication, engagement, and team-building to address this disconnect,” said Taylor. “Looking to the future, if organizations want to recruit and retain top talent, they should consider leveraging data-enabled tools to gain deeper insights into employee’s approaches to work, which can help to assemble the best teams and identify the most optimal staffing structures. Using Principles’ tools, organizations can empower all their employees – from CEOs to new entrants – to better understand themselves, understand others, and help others understand them.”

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