Onboarding employees aim to make your new employees familiar with the work culture and the professional expectations of your company. It makes sure that the new hire proceeds comfortably and gets adjusted with their new role effectively. Onboarding in itself is one of the more challenging parts of the hiring process. Mix into it the ingredient of a remote employee. You have got one of the most challenging aspects of a hiring process—remote employee onboarding.
Welcoming new employees is relatively more manageable when you think about it. You address their questions, introduce them to everyone and get them 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 many 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 challenging 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 miss out on is being organized. Professionals can save a lot of time by being organized. One way to do it is to carry out all the formalities before 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 significant 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 hassle-free first day, but you will also be going green by minimizing paperwork.
Also, on day 0, i.e., the day before the new employee joins, her team members should be well (and not just the manager). It is going to save a lot of time and make the onboarding program much smoother. And let’s face it, informing the team members will 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 wrong. One of the critical 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, then you should share that 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, your first target should create one. It will save a lot of time in the future and make your life a tad bit easier.
Another mistake most companies make while handling a remote employee onboarding process is the lack of face-to-face interaction. Communication tends to happen primarily through text, chatting apps, and e-mails. You need to bypass this form of communication(although not entirely, it is challenging to function without text-based communication altogether).
It would be best if you got your new remote employees on video chat as soon as possible. Get them acquainted with the video calls as they may have to do multiple video calls in a day. And hey, it is much easier to introduce them in a video meeting than through a text!
Mail them the preferred video chat tool you use well in advance to have no last-minute glitches. A healthy amount of face time will make them feel more comfortable and 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 an in-person onboarding process, the new employee can and often communicates effectively with HR.
Suppose she finds it difficult to grasp the product concept. In that case, she can often inquire with HR and get another product explanation session. It usually 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 can conduct periodic video meetings with the new employee for a couple of weeks. It will help you properly understand any shortcomings or problems of the new employee during the onboarding program. Also, it would help if you communicated regularly with the new employee’s manager. Check those one-on-one meetings, product coaching sessions, or anything related to the complete onboarding program are carried out.
We all have been at the receiving end of a very award first day at work! We don’t know anyone in the office(except the recruiter!), and it’s challenging to make new friends from the get-go.
Earlier the new employees’ team manager takes charge to make sure that her team members are well acquainted.
Informal training before the formal one from the HR department or managers is 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 gets acquainted with the training beforehand and gets comfortable with the communication method you use for your remote workers. By working with their peers, they will be able to handle the learning with much more ease.
It is essential to understand that remote employee onboarding is, in fact, a difficult task. But having these tasks on your onboarding checklist will 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 new employee on social media. It will make them feel much more comfortable and appreciated.