After the outbreak of Covid-19, and tech making it easier to communicate and work remotely, remote work is becoming a more prevalent practice. Employers are seeing greater productivity, lower absenteeism, and reduced turnover as benefits. The needs of remote workers differ from those of office workers, and this also applies to their onboarding.
With more and more employees demanding work-from-home schedules, And a rise in offshore outsourcing of talent, it’s imperative to refine your onboarding process for remote employees.
Onboarding Your New Employee The Right Way
It’s about doing a bit more than just setting expectations and following up promptly. Proper planning, being available to answer questions, and investing in technology to create a unique candidate experience are the next step up… But there is more you can do to ensure your remote the new hire is not only prepared to serve you and the company better but is excited and fulfilled while doing it.
Send a Welcome Package – Virtual or Physical
One in ten people will change their minds after receiving an offer. Warm greetings will encourage new employees to accept your offer. It will also set the tone for employee engagement. Tell them how happy you are to have them join your company and encourage them to contact other employees via email, chat, or video.
Please share the next steps and information about employee onboarding. Remote workers can be flown to the company headquarters by some companies for employee onboarding. This information should be communicated to new hires well in advance of the offer stage.
They should also receive details about their travel arrangements and itinerary as soon as they accept an offer. Employees who will be receiving remote employee onboarding must also be informed about what to expect.
You might consider hosting a virtual lunch for them during their first day. Ask them what they think will make them the most successful in their new job. Ask your colleagues to record videos or welcome messages and send them to the employee’s inbox.
Give Remote Workers a Work Buddy or Mentor
Buddy programs are a great way for new employees to adjust to the workplace. New hires can be helped by their buddies to learn about where to find IT support and how to communicate with other employees using tools such as Slack or Asana.
It can be beneficial to match remote employees with remote workers if you have a mixed workforce. These workers can answer specific questions for this type of worker. They can help you with things like how to manage interruptions at work, how to use the VPN, and any other questions that might be specific to remote working.
Virtually Recreate Your In-office Experience as Best You Can
Consider all the personal touches that employees might experience at work and how you can bring them to life. You can arrange virtual meet-and-greets without the manager. To give them face-time, announce them to your organization via staff video calls.
Use a Checklist
You can use a checklist to ensure that you do not miss any important steps during your onboarding process. This is especially useful for hybrid workers since you don’t want your office staff to miss a crucial step like shipping computer equipment to a remote worker.
People Operations Platforms are great for automating and streamlining many of the tasks required to onboard remote workers. A spreadsheet with task name, assignee, and due date is a good way to keep track.
Remote Workers Should Have all the Equipment They Require to Perform Their Job From Day 1
On their first day of work, office employees usually have a desk, chair, and computer. Remote workers might not have their own office yet and may need the company to provide the equipment.
Set aside a budget to allow remote workers to establish their own home offices. To make this easier for new hires, it may be useful to create a list with all the essential office items. You should ensure that equipment such as laptops arrives before the employee starts work. Employees may be offered an ongoing stipend that can be used to pay for electricity, internet, or supplies.
Create and Share Remote Work Policies
Nearly two-thirds of employers employ remote workers. However, only 43% have policies for remote work. It’s time to create one if you don’t have one. Remote work policies might include information about the hours employees are expected to be available and what remote workers can purchase with their stipend.
Ensure that you review your remote work policy as part of your onboarding process. This will help to clarify your expectations. Also, review all processes that are related to your policy. For example, how to submit expense reports for office expenses.
Make Their First Day Memorable – In a Good Way
We have all been there. An Employee’s first day is critical to their long-term engagement and retention. Remote new employees might fly into your office headquarters. The day may be structured in the same way as an office employee. Remote-specific training should be included, such as how to access key technology remotely.
Remote onboarding can be started with a virtual coffee meeting. Your new employee’s manager, and perhaps the entire team, should meet for a cup of coffee via Zoom. This could be made even more special by ordering a care package or breakfast delivery to arrive the next morning.
Get Employee Feedback
For designing and executing great human resources programs, employee feedback is essential. And this is a great time to collect it, while they are still new and fresh to your company.
Focus groups and surveys for new hires can help you identify what has been successful and what could be improved.
The hope is that this feedback will be used to refine your onboarding experience for those that will join your teams in the future.
Tips For A Great Remote Working Relationship (Onboarding and Beyond)
Build A Real Sense of Community
Build a sense of community and foster human connections. We do this by setting up Slack channels for cohorts of new hires to interact and ask questions. We also offer group volunteer opportunities, which help new hires build a sense of community within our organization while doing good in their local communities.
Cater To All Learning Types
Whether onboarding takes place in person or virtually, companies should make sure their process caters to all types of learning styles. Some people learn through seeing, some by hearing, others by reading and writing, and some by doing. As a result, employers can be certain that their message reaches all new hires, enabling them to feel welcome and part of the company culture.
Support New Hires Need to Build Connections
We must think beyond “onboarding”, which is a tech and admin setup, to consider an “integration” process. This program assists new hires in integrating into the workplace culture and building meaningful relationships with key stakeholders. It is important to create opportunities for new hires to make connections and communicate with colleagues, especially in remote environments.
Give a List of Key Stakeholders for Projects and Departmental
Hiring managers need to create a list of top stakeholders that the person will work with within their new role. They should also share pertinent context with the new hire. Why is it important to meet this person? What will their future collaboration look like? Onboarding is easier when you have established key stakeholders and encouraged (or set up) meet-and-greets.
Have Current Employees Create Introduction Videos
Of course, this can be done by the new employee(s) as well, but ask your current employees to make introduction videos as part of your onboarding process. You can post them somewhere or send them to new workers.
This allows them to introduce themselves to new colleagues and share their experiences and interests. Employees sharing their personal lives helps make them more human and makes it easier to connect with others, even if many of them are joining from far away.
I like to have employees share their videos on a live call where people can chat and interact after watching the videos.
Creating videos like this shows a new hire that time and thought went into their joining by each member of their new team.
Assign A Culture Mentor
This could be the same as their work buddy or someone different. Make sure that there are mentors for the new hire. Designating a culture mentor is especially important. A culture mentor can break down the spoken and unspoken aspects, as well as organizational culture, clearly to the new member. They can explain and decode norms in both virtual and in-person work environments.
Have Virtual Lunches or Show and Tells
We organize a virtual lunch for new hires with their managers and HR. Everyone receives a $20 Grubhub gift certificate and uses this meeting to get acquainted beyond what was written on their resumes. We ask each other questions such as “Where would you eat for the rest of your life?” Sometimes, we may tell two lies and one truth. It can make a huge difference in our onboarding!
You can also show each other your workspace to get acquainted with each other or other creative and personal ways to connect.
Plan events that combine training, team building, and internal networking. For new employees, host a happy hour, welcome lunch, or team meeting. New hires will benefit from icebreakers that allow them to share their team’s inside jokes and favorite parts of the culture.
Remember and Plan to Have Fun!
Interactive and live virtual onboarding is a great way to start a relationship both for the remote employees and the rest of the office. It involves telling stories, playing games, and mixing informal and formal chatting. For a new hire to enter an organization, the first 90 days are crucial. This is one of the most important program designs HR oversees. Onboarding should not be a chore. It should include socializing, learning, and other activities that bridge the gap between assimilation and engagement.
Taking time for this kind of intentional management is very beneficial beyond the onboarding process too. Continuing to create fun and engaging activities ongoing will add to everyone’s experience with you as a manager and the company as a whole.