News, Blog, Employment, Awards, Careers | Thursday 5th November 2020

Onboarding your staff virtually

Talented people are in great demand in the Fire & Security industry, so excellent staff recruitment and retention practices make perfect sense. Employee engagement is key if you’re to realise your investment in recruiting new staff, and that begins with effective onboarding.

Recruiting now will give you a competitive edge in the future so what are the key measures you can take to welcome your new joiners if your business is still operating, but your services are maybe curtailed and your employees are working from home?

How can you maximise the value in maintaining your recruitment strategy with good onboarding for those people joining in the middle of this crisis?

Here are a few ideas.

Don’t delay induction 

Your training suite may be closed, but there’s no reason to delay the induction process and leave your joiners in limbo.

  • Provisionally complete employment and security paperwork remotely from scanned documents, which you can verify in due course.
  • Complete your HR induction process using well-established platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams if you can’t meet face to face.
  • Courier out necessary kit such as laptops, tools and PPE to arrive on day one.
  • Complete IT induction so that your new team members can access necessary resources and information.

Integrate your new team members

The simplest way to make them feel welcome and secure is to involve them in their team’s activities, even if that’s only online.

  • Provide a proper handover to line managers so that they can extend a personal welcome.
  • See that they formally introduce the new member to the full team and that they’re included in team briefings, discussions etc.
  • Even if they’re not up to speed on your products, include them as observers in any ongoing live work where it’s safe and practical to do so.
  • Provide a buddy: an experienced colleague who is doing the same or a similar job.

Use any downtime wisely

Even if your operations are curtailed, you can use the time to prepare your new employees

  • Zitko is maintaining a growing list of major security manufacturers releasing online technical training.
  • Have them complete your in-house or third party e-courses in areas such as H&S or company policy.
  • Identify any training which could be completed earlier than originally planned to best use downtime.

Keep talking

  • Good onboarding doesn’t end with week one.
  • It’s more important than ever to check in with your new starters for the first few months, especially if they're working from home.
  • Remember, there may well be employers circling ready to exploit second thoughts.


Post lockdown, effectively recruiting in the fire and security industry will be harder and more competitive than ever before. Successfully implementing a proactive and flexible recruitment process, coupled with structured onboarding can ensure businesses come out of the crisis in a healthier and stronger position.


Bear in mind that if your staff are furloughed there are strict regulations about what they can and cannot do in terms of their employment. Always refer to HMRC guidelines and take specialist legal advice as required.

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