How to Onboard Remote Employees Successfully
Working remotely went from being an exception for almost any business to becoming a staple. Logically, with such a major change, businesses have started adapting new ways of onboarding their remote workforce. According to FlexJobs, the number of people who began working remotely has increased by 159% since 2005.
Effective and successful onboarding is a crucial part of employee retention, which is why it’s so important to do it right. Though it might seem like a daunting task to onboard your employees while being fully remote, there are steps you can take to ensure a smooth process, and we’re going to break down the most significant ones.
STEPS TOWARDS ONBOARDING YOUR REMOTE EMPLOYEES
Begin in Good Time
You’ll want to begin onboarding your remote employees at least a week in advance, and ideally three weeks in advance. It’s ideal to introduce your new remote employee to the standard company procedures and provide them with any tech equipment they might need in order to start working on time.
You should also give them access to any email or other project management apps so that there’s no time-wasting once their workday begins. Make sure to set up any security protocols or company configurations necessary. This will reduce any chance of technical issues or unnecessary anxiety once they start working.
Get Them Online
Your organization and teams across it are probably using various apps for team communication, project tracking, and other important things. Make sure to provide your remote employees with accounts and access to these apps so that they can have a smooth transition into your company.
It’s wise to do this prior to their actual first day of work, as it will allow them to get to know the apps, communicate with others, and get the overall sense of how things work in terms of team communication, deadline tracking, or anything else that’s crucial to the success of your business.
Provide A Digital Handbook or Manual
Each company should have a digital handbook or manual that they can provide to their new employees so that they can familiarize themselves with the company culture and learn more about how your company came to be.
Many companies keep memories of various projects, events, successes, or simple day-to-day happenings that happen outside working hours. All of these can be very useful for your new remote employees, as it’s going to give them insight into the atmosphere and the overall expectations they can have.
Explain Company Culture And Workflow
Your new employees must get familiar with the culture of your company from the outset. It’s a smart idea to explain what’s typical versus what is atypical across all cultural dimensions in your company. You should also welcome any questions regarding how things are done at the organization.
It’s also important to set clear boundaries in terms of dress code, the company’s level of formality and tone, as well as any other explicit guidelines or norms that the company has. You should also get them acquainted with schedules, meetings, and deadlines they’re supposed to stick to.
Make Them Feel Welcomed
During the first few weeks of onboarding your remote employees, it’s essential to make yourself available for any follow-up questions or consultations necessary. This will make your new employees feel welcomed and will help set their minds at ease. Another great idea is to assign an “orientation buddy” to your new hires, which will create a sense of belonging.
Regardless of how you choose to conduct your onboarding process, make sure that it caters to all learning types since it will significantly help your new hires feel familiar with the company culture and welcomed. Create a strategy that will help your newcomers feel at ease and relaxed once they begin working.
Create Individualized Remote Onboarding Plans
As mentioned before, different people have different learning types, so it’s important to cater to all of them. A nice welcoming touch would be creating personalized remote onboarding plans for each new employee.
It could be a video presentation, PowerPoint presentation, or even a real-time video tour of your office. The options are limitless and each of these will definitely help your new employees get off to a great start in your company. Proper support from a manager during the onboarding process will result in more productive long-term employees in the future.
As a good manager, making sure that you’re available throughout the workday is of utmost importance. Be prepared to answer any and all questions, and always encourage your new employees to ask as many questions as they need to.
Communication is the key to success, and when you’re dealing with remote employees, it’s even more essential to regularly check in. Regularly providing feedback and keeping in touch with your new hires is going to set them up for success. It’s important to maintain great communication not only during the first week of onboarding, but throughout the entire month, or for as long as your feel it’s needed.
Initiate Personal Growth
A great company will support the personal growth of its employees. This does not only mean work-related training and seminars. You should also make it a priority to help your employees, new and old, maintain their mental and physical well-being while working remotely.
You can organize seminars, and team buildings, and even provide them with valuable courses that will help initiate their personal growth. A satisfied employee will certainly be more productive and more willing to respect strict timetables and deadlines, which will ultimately help grow your business further.
Support Professional Development
Aside from supporting your new employee’s personal development and growth, it’s also crucial to encourage their professional growth. Make sure to explain the company hierarchy and the expectations that they are supposed to meet in order to grow within the company.
Set clear goals and expectations from day one in order to keep your new employees feeling motivated and maintain productivity during remote work. For example, if they’re starting out at a junior position, explain what is necessary and create a path of growth towards becoming a medior. No employee will want to be stuck in the same position they first started in, so ensure to establish a clear goal your new hires can work towards from the very beginning.
Encourage Collaboration and Learning Together
Managing a remote team is no easy task, so you’ll need to encourage your employees to collaborate and learn together from the very start. Your new employees should feel like they’re part of the team in order to be the most productive they can be. Encouraging collaborative work and maintaining a positive attitude among your team members is essential for their growth and success.
It’s also a smart idea to pair new employees with existing employees from other teams. This will establish contacts amongst departments and encourage cross-team learning and training, both of which are beneficial to your overall company’s success. You can even have your current employees create useful videos or manuals to help better introduce your company and workflow to newcomers.
SETTING YOUR NEW REMOTE EMPLOYEES UP FOR SUCCESS
Since remote work during COVID-19 has become increasingly popular, it’s important to adapt and learn how to successfully onboard remote employees. An engaging onboarding process is vital to employee retention, regardless of whether you’re doing it in person or remotely.
Having to onboard fully-remote employees might be even more difficult, but if you begin in good time, you can ensure that it’s done right from the get-go. Getting your new employees online and connected with others is essential. Providing a digital handbook, manual, video presentation, or anything else is certainly going to help your new employees get off on the right foot.
Encouraging both personal and professional development is of utmost importance, but so is maintaining a positive attitude amongst team members and across departments, especially when it comes to new hires. Making them feel welcomed and checking in with them regularly during the onboarding process will provide them with the confidence they need to become long-term, productive, and dependable employees.
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