Remote onboarding in 2020: A guide for employers

With Coronavirus forcing many businesses around the globe to transition to working from home, suitable talent has all of a sudden become much harder to find. Flexible recruitment strategies have taken centre stage as the best way to achieve a successful hire, but for this to happen, business leaders will need to invest speed, care and time into the process. With proper planning and guidance, it can be done well. 

Before we delve into some tips on the best process for onboarding remotely, it’s important to remember that new starters may feel an increased level of stress and anxiety at this time. Along with the usual worries around starting a new job, they may also be feeling anxious around job security and their health during the pandemic. With this in mind, regular check-ins and extra training time are all the more important for them to learn the ropes and help them feel integrated into their new role, team and company.

Let’s look at some tips for how to onboard remotely with the goal of having happy and engaged virtual workers:

Pre-Onboarding

Ensure tech, equipment & security is in place

  • Ahead of their start-date, ensure you deliver all the necessary physical equipment and manuals to your new hire such as laptop, keyboard, monitor etc.
  • Determine their Wi-Fi capacities.
  • Ensure they have access to bespoke company software along with log-in details/access to your password manager. If there is no password manager in place such as LastPass, this could be worth looking into. Make sure to check in with your candidate if they’ve received their equipment and need any help getting set up. 
  • Security: having the necessary security software, guidelines and protection for working online is essential, especially when it comes to sensitive company data that your new hire may need access to. 

Send a welcome package

Sending out a welcome package to their home address will make them feel excited to join the team and shows that you really care about your employees. Gestures could include:

  • A welcome letter from the Managing Director/CEO and/or video message from the team
  • Company branded remote working essentials – mugs, pens etc
  • A welcome plant for their desk
  • Sweet treats/tea/coffee

Prepare admin/induction documents

  • Prepare employment contracts and other legal documents (which can be extremely time-consuming, especially when printing, scanning and posting is involved.) Investigate legally binding online tools and integrate them into your hiring process.
  • Compile contact details for team members, indicating who they should reach out to for specific issues
  • List of handy tools your company uses
  • List of tasks to help them learn about the role and what is expected of them 
  • A timeline of training sessions

Once you have gained some remote onboarding experience you may want to consider developing an online portal where all onboarding administration, communication and induction materials belong. Populating and updating this ahead of the new hires will ensure all bases are covered. 

Set up virtual social events for the whole team

Whether it’s online morning yoga sessions or Friday Happy Hour, make sure your new starters stay connected with the rest of the team to help avoid loneliness. Get the team involved in planning too! 

From Day One

Meet the Team

Make day one a special one with an introductory virtual ‘meet the team’. This should be an informal, fun chat to welcome the newbie but should also have an agenda that allows your new hire to understand each co-workers role and who they need to be communicating with on a daily basis. Ensure that regular team meetings are in place going forward to keep up the motivation and integrate all team members with your newbie.

Consider a Virtual Mentor

Although a classic onboarding process, it’s one that can easily be neglected in a remote working context. Assigning your new employee a ‘welcome buddy’, a friendly face who can nurture them into the company culture via video conferencing technology can speed up the onboarding time, allow for greater learning & growth and in the long term, really set your new hire up for success.  

Training

Ensure there is a level of training in place to integrate your new starters with your systems. Space out the learning to avoid them feeling overwhelmed in a completely remote environment. This will give your new hires a chance to absorb all the information and ask questions instead of unloading everything at once.

You could also consider adding some much-appreciated flexibility during these unusual times, to show empathy for those who are responsible for other family members at home, as well as focusing on their work. Allow your new hire to work their way through onboarding information at their own pace and in hours that they set.

Review progress regularly

It is important to establish ongoing touchpoints and check-ins. Keep your new employees feeling engaged, motivated and connected by arranging virtual one-to-one meetings on a weekly basis (at the very least) to discuss current projects, priorities and expectations. These catch-ups are also a great forum for new hires to share their own ideas and suggestions. Be open to change and new ideas! 

Essential check-in questions 

It’s important to ask for the right kind of questions to check in on your new hire, and to find out whether you need to adapt your remote onboarding process. Here are some example questions to ask after the initial onboarding process:

  • How has the onboarding process been for you?
  • Are you happy in your new role?
  • What are you finding challenging, if anything?
  • What do you think of our company culture?
  • Is there anything you are unsure about?
  • Is there anything I can do to make your remote working experience easier?
  • Are you happy using our software/systems?

 

If you would like to find out more about how to adapt your recruitment process for successful remote hiring and onboarding, please get in touch with us, we’ll be more than happy to help.

Email us at info@ryderslade.co.uk or call on 01392 401 330.

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