Because of the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic for employers and new employees, in May the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced temporary flexibility in the requirements for completing the Form I-9 while employers are operating remotely. Employers with employees working remotely due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. However, employers must inspect these documents remotely (over video link, fax or email) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents within three business days. This temporary guidance was set to expire June 18. Because of ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended this policy for an additional 30 days.
The provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. Additionally, it is possible that the policy may be extended beyond the current expiration date of July 19 depending on the state of COVID-19 and its continued impact on the U.S. This is an indication that remote work is very likely to become more common than ever before as it adapts to the new normal for workplaces and employee safety. Many employers have been focusing on supporting remote employees since March and are developing policies to continue a remote work plan for workforces that extends beyond 2020.
Remote Onboarding Needs to be Flawless to Drive Employee Retention
What does all of this mean for HR? HR teams will need to shift from supporting on-site employees to creating a positive employee experience for a remote workforce, from remote hiring to onboarding to ongoing employee engagement. In order to retain talent in the virtual workspace, it’s necessary to rethink how we hire and onboard new employees. Even before COVID-19, onboarding has been a company’s best tool for retaining employees. It’s an opportunity to take a deep dive into company culture, introduce mentorship, team building, ongoing career development, and start every new employee off in a positive way.
Orientation meetings, printed materials, videos, and computer-based training have been the norm, but new research shows that these methods of onboarding are failing. HR software provider BambooHR released a study about onboarding and new-hire orientation. It surveyed more than 1,000 people and asked what was most important to them when they started new jobs and it indicates that new hires are leaving companies within their first six months at an alarming rate.
Here’s the breakdown of when people leave:
- 1st Week: 16.45%
- 1st Month: 17.42%
- 2nd Month: 16.77%
- 3rd Month: 17.42%
- 4th Month: 10.97%
- 5th Month: 5.48%
- 6th Month: 14.48%
And why are they leaving? According to the BambooHR report, cited reasons include the feeling that new employees have that they are neglected, overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and underqualified.
E-Verify and Electronic I-9 Processes Help Create an Awesome New Hire Experience
In order to counteract high turnover in the first six months, specifically for remote employees, it’s imperative to rely on technology to handle routine tasks so that your HR team can be available and present during the virtual onboarding and training process. For example, simply filling out new hire paperwork like I-9s and other required documentation can be tedious for candidates and difficult for an HR team to manage when onboarding remote employees. Using an electronic system capable of handling I-9s for remote hires can help expedite the process – and it can be completed online after an offer is made so it doesn’t take away from the onboarding experience.
If you can make it easy for your HR team, they can make it easy for your new employees. Cisive’s onboarding solution, for example, allows remote applicants to complete onboarding documents such as employment applications and direct deposit forms, to name a few examples.
It also provides a real-time view into the status of current and past background checks and offers a customizable dashboard that enables your HR team to easily manage tasks associated with the new-hire process.
Focus on mobile first by enabling candidates to upload important documents securely from their mobile devices. Remote employees rely on mobile, so you’ll want to give them the option of using tools they have (before your company sends issued laptops, for example). Cisive’s mobile device document uploader gives candidates a fast and easy way to securely send virtually any supporting documentation required during background screening, from W-2 forms and passports to licenses and diplomas, and it has encryption technology to keep candidates’ information secure.