2020 presented a multitude of challenges for employers around the world and we all had to quickly adapt to new working arrangements, some of which may never have been considered pre-Covid! Working from home became the new normal, companies had no choice in the matter and have now realised that employees CAN be trusted, deadlines can be met and production levels can remain high. But what if you’re starting a new job and you have to work remotely, you can’t go into the office for a full onboarding experience?
Can remote on-boarding be done as effectively?
No in-person welcome.
No office tour to meet your new team.
No patting the office dog!!
And now I sit here, writing this from the comfort of my home office. I am into my 4th week of my new job and I have yet to meet anyone in the flesh, however, I feel like I know the team very well and I am 100% up and running, BUT no pats for Toby and Bono the company dogs as yet.
So it can work and here are 5 tips on how to best onboard new employees remotely and effectively:
1. Create a connection, immediately
Start their first day with a Zoom meeting, get the immediate team involved and keep it casual and fun so to break the ice and make them feel welcomed. Consider giving each new hire a “buddy” so they can ask any questions that they may not want to ask in front of everyone. This “buddy” can either be someone a step above the new hire or a volunteer that’s been through the on-boarding process before. Establishing connections early on is an important part of someone’s first few weeks.
2. Provide employees with a welcome/induction pack.
Consider creating a welcome pack that can be distributed electronically to new remote employees. The welcome pack should be aimed at providing new employees with general information covering company structure, values and of course outlining the function of their position. Making a video that welcomes new employees to the company can be a great way to create an immediate sense of belonging as part of the team.
3. Create a step-by-step remote onboarding plan
Your remote onboarding plan should be concise, well thought out and be a document you can share with everyone involved. A document that introduces hires to the tools and software they’ll be using, login and security information, a list of relevant team members’ contact information. A list of tasks that managers can do as they onboard new hires such as scheduling one-on-ones, getting them up to speed on existing projects and anything else necessary to make the hire feel comfortable.
4. Take it slow to get it right
Your onboarding process should always be a work in progress. There is so much to take on and learn so have a well thought out plan but include breaks, just like you would in person. Plus, if you perfect a remote onboarding plan, you have the opportunity to hire more remote workers in the future giving you access to the best candidates nationally. Just remember that on-boarding remotely can/may be more daunting than in-person, so remember to let new hires have ample time to breathe.
5. Check-in regularly
Checking-in regularly with a new employee allows you to assess the effectiveness of your onboarding process as well as making sure that the employee is progressing as expected. Checking-in with an employee can be as simple as sending an e-mail or arranging a video call. Or use an open company communication platform like Slack or Skype. It is also important to note that it shouldn’t just be the Manager who checks in. Someone from HR or team members should also be involved.
And to finish off, my experience onboarding at Creative Recruiters might have been new for all of us but it was efficient, effective and I had my best, 4-legged, buddy at my feet to keep me company.