Successful virtual onboarding can be key to tackling the UK’s technology skills shortage and become the “future of recruitment”, says Kirsty Carter, chief of staff for £43 million turnover firm Solutionize Global.
Responding to the first UK lockdown in 2020, the Yorkshire-headquartered technology solutions and services provider continued to recruit during the pandemic following a period of growth – and has recruited 25 employees since March.
Utilising digital comms tools – such as video conferencing and instant messaging – the team has also been able to help each new starter settle into their roles more effectively, despite working remotely.
Without technology, Kirsty says the enterprise’s recruitment plans would’ve suffered and the business has, in fact, widened its talent pool as a result of using collaborative tools and digital comms platforms.
“I firmly believe virtual onboarding is the future when it comes to tackling the skills gap within our industry,” she commented.
“We have some amazing talent in Yorkshire, and this way of welcoming new people into Solutionize Global has enabled us to further recruit throughout the north of England. We’ve also attracted people from further afield too, for example our head of alliances is based in Southampton and has only stepped foot into our office twice since being onboarded in 2020.”
Speaking about the future of the company’s onboarding operation, she explained: “It’s not about getting rid of face-to-face meetings, it’s addressing how we can use tech to our advantage to enhance our processes and also strengthen and develop the skills we already have.
We’ve recognised that interviews are now more streamlined and new starters are not only settling in quicker, but they’re empowered to work autonomously and flexibly – and, as a result, hitting the ground running from day one.”
Kirsty, who has this year launched the SG Academy to train talented graduates in business and technology leadership, says getting to grips with virtual onboarding has been a learning curve.
“There’s still so much value in face-to-face meetings and there is more planning involved when you’re adapting to doing everything online. But once you’ve agreed mini KPIs with the employee, and all the team come together to ensure the new starter is happy and motivated, it does really enhance the entire onboarding experience,” she explained.
Kirsty, who joined Solutionize Global in 2019, now wants to explore other sectors and identify individuals who might be looking to retrain or haven’t thought about technology as a career.
“There are so many wonderfully talented people who aren’t sure how to transfer their skills. By using technology and speaking to them directly, both parties get a feel for how they can add value, enhance the company culture and kickstart their ambitions,” she added.