The importance of successfully onboarding new employees is undeniable. Onboarding helps new hires acclimate to their work responsibilities as well as to the company’s social and professional environment, so they know what’s expected of them and how they fit into the organization. Most employers have an effective onboarding procedure in place for on-site employees, but the real challenge lies in designing a satisfactory program for onboarding remote hires.
Having no opportunities to bond through face-to-face meetings is a very different experience. When preparing an onboarding program for remote employees, you should consider each new hire’s skill-set and responsibilities, and how they fit into the team. Here are some best practices for onboarding remote employees and integrating them into your company culture:
Make your remote onboarding process consistent and repeatable by documenting it. Your onboarding document should read like a lengthy to-do list, and it should be shared with the new hire to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Welcome to the team
Video conferencing technology is an extremely valuable tool for onboarding remote hires, particularly with the recent outbreak of COVID-19. You may have to work a little harder to make sure new virtual hires feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts. Remote employees who feel a connection with your company will be more motivated to make a positive impression.
Start by setting up a video meeting that permits you to introduce the new hire(s) to your current employees and afterwards perhaps set up individual calls with more veteran team members to establish a sense of mentorship.
Break it down
Break down the training into small, discrete elements; after completing each step, assign the employee a series of activities that allow you assess his or her understanding of the task. When the employee has mastered an item, move on to the next one.
You should verify that new employees understand their tasks and the systems they’ll use in their work. Discuss upcoming projects, organization leaders, and access to shared employee resources.
Refine where needed
Continual evaluation and tweaks are necessary to keep your remote onboarding process and materials up to date. Ask for feedback from new employees about their onboarding experiences. What could or should you have done better or differently? What questions were asked that you did not anticipate? Did you offer enough personal support to make your virtual employees feel comfortable working remotely? Are your on-site employees communicating effectively with their remote counterparts?
Use the responses and reactions from all employees to make thoughtful improvements to your onboarding program.