laptop video conference (Agenturfotografin/Shutterstock.com)

New federal hires get virtual onboarding

While COVID-19 keeps workers out of the office, federal agencies are using remote technologies to onboard new employees.

In a March 24 memo, Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Michael Rigas directed agency human resources officers to with their CIOs to leverage Skype, FaceTime, videoconferencing and other online tools to swear in new employees and sign and send in official documents. New employees can also complete onboarding procedures and orientation remotely, he wrote.

OPM noted that the Department of Homeland Security temporarily relaxed submission and physical inspection policies for the I-9 form, which determines employment eligibility. Departments that take advantage of this option would need to provide DHS with written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee upon request.

Once the national emergency declaration is lifted, agencies must perform in-person swearing-in ceremonies for employees who were sworn-in virtually during the pandemic.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Lia Russell is a staff writer and associate editor at FCW covering the federal workforce. Before joining FCW, she worked as a freelance labor reporter in San Francisco for outlets such SF Weekly, The American Prospect and The Baffler. Russell graduated with a bachelor's degree from Bard College.

Contact Lia at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @LiaOffLeash.


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