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How to Optimize Remote Employee Onboarding

5 min read
Last Updated on

The aim of onboarding employees is to make your new employees familiar with the work culture and the professional expectations of your company. This makes sure that the new hire proceeds comfortably and gets adjusted with their new role effectively. Onboarding in itself is one of the more difficult parts of the hiring process. Mix into it the ingredient of a remote employee and you have got one of the most challenging aspects of a hiring process. Remote employee onboarding.

Welcoming new employees is quite easier when you think about it. You are there to address any questions, you introduce her with everyone and get her on board with the responsibilities. Throw into the equation variables like remote employees and different time zones you have got a real challenge on your hands. With the COVID-19 pandemic(at the time of writing) employers and companies are forced to work remotely and thus hire a lot of remote workers(at least for the time being). With all your hands tied, you have no other option but to evolve and change your methods. Let’s face it, these learnings are going to be a lot helpful and are not just limited to pandemics and emergencies.

Okay, we know. It’s not an ideal situation. It is in fact quite difficult to carry out activities online whose USP was in-person interaction. But hiring remote teams or workers need not always be a hassle. we have a few ways through which you can tackle remote employee onboarding with relative ease.

Day 0 Before Day 1

What most professionals missout on is being organized. Professionals can save a lot of time by being organized. One of the ways to do it is to carry out all the formalities before the day of joining, i.e. Day 0. We all agree that office paper works are boring and tedious and nobody wants to do that on their first day at work.

With the help of simple tools, you can complete a major chunk(if not all) of the paper works before your new employee gets introduced to her manager. Not only will you save your new employees a hasslefree first day, but you will also be going green by handling all the required paperwork digitally.

Also on day 0 i.e the day before the new employee joins, her team members should be well of the fact(and not just the manager). This is going to save a lot of time and make the onboarding program much smoother. And let’s face, informing the team members is going to save you a lot of new employee awkwardness we all face but never talk about it!

Making Goals and Expectation Clear

This is one of the areas where you can go horribly wrong. One of the key elements of effective onboarding is the proper communication of job expectations. Just because you are not present in-person for all professional duties doesn’t mean that the goals or objectives are lowered(at least not in all cases). Make sure you communicate properly on the expectations of the job to the new employee. And if there is any relaxation on goals than that should be communicated effectively.

Make sure that you have an HR onboarding ebook ready. Also, you can share with them any video of previous training and onboarding experience. If you don’t have any such videos or media than your first target should be to create one. It is going to save a lot of time in the future and make your life a tad bit easier.

Face-to-Face Communication

Another mistake most companies make while handling a remote employee onboarding process is the lack of face to face interaction. Communication tends to happen mostly through text, chatting apps, and e-mails. You need to bypass this form of communication(although not completely it is extremely difficult to function without text-based communication altogether). You need to get your new remote employees on video chat as soon as possible. You need to get them acquainted with the video calls as it is possible that they will have to do multiple video calls in a day. And hey, it is much easier to introduce them to their team in a video meeting than through a text-based text!

Mail them the preferred video chat tool you use well in advance so that there are no last-minute glitches. A healthy amount of face time will not only make them feel more comfortable but also give them a sense of “being involved”.

Creating a Constant Feedback Loop

For remote workers, one constant complaint has been that they are not able to provide any feedback. In the case of an in-person onboarding process, the new employee can and often communicates effectively with HR. If she is finding it difficult to grasp the concept of the product she can often enquire with HR and get another product explanation session. This normally doesn’t happen during a remote employee’s onboarding. Usually, this happens because conducting an onboarding session for a remote worker is challenging in the first place. So, creating a feedback loop can be another obstacle for an easy day at work.

What you can do to combat this is to create a feedback path for employees working from home. You can create specific feedback surveys to enquire about any difficulties of the employees. Also, HR personnel themselves can conduct periodic video meetings with the new employee for a couple of weeks to properly understand any shortcomings or problems of the new employee during the onboarding program. Also, you need to communicate regularly with the new employee’s manager to check that one-on-one meetings, product coaching session or anything related to the complete onboarding program are carried out.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

Let’s be honest, we all have been at the receiving end of a very award first day at work! We don’t really know anyone in the office(except the recruiter!) and it’s kind of difficult to make new friends from the get-go.

Before the new employees’ team manager takes charge to make sure that her team members are well acquainted with her.

In fact, informal training before the formal one from the HR department or managers is in fact seen to boost productivity and helps the new employee settle in the workplace faster. For onboarding remote employees, this acts as a double-edged sword! With peer mentoring, your new employee not only gets acquainted with the training beforehand but also gets comfortable with the communication method you use for your remote workers. By working with their peers they are going to be able to handle the learning with much more ease.

Finally

It is important to understand that remote employee onboarding is in fact a difficult task. But having these tasks on your onboarding checklist is going to help you a lot and for a long time. A smooth onboarding program speakers volumes about your company culture and helps a great deal in your employer brand. And don’t forget to welcome your special new employee on social media. This will make them feel much more comfortable and appreciated.

  This article is written by Iftekar Ahmed. Iftekar is working as a content and digital marketer at Vantage Circle. When he is not playing guitar or solving puzzles, he is often seen fussing over foods he can't eat because he is on a perennial dieting spree.
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