It can be tough to onboard new remote employees. They can't just pop into the office for a meeting, and you can't always quickly bring them up to speed on all the company's goings-on. But with a little effort, you can make the process smooth for both the employee and your team.
Remote work became more prevalent even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the outbreak has forced even more companies and employees to adapt to this way of working. Some surveys found that 88% of organizations plan to allow remote work permanently, even after the end of the pandemic.
So if you're responsible for onboarding new remote workers, here are 12 tips to help you get started:
1. Get everyone on the same page about what's expected
Working from home can be a brand new experience to most. The first step is ensuring everyone understands what's expected of them during the remote onboarding process. What information do they need? Whom will they be meeting with? What tools do they need to be successful? You can avoid confusion and frustration later on by getting everyone on the same page from the start.
This is also a good time to set expectations for communication. Will you use email, Slack, video conferencing, or a combination of all three? Let your new employee know how you prefer to communicate and the best way to reach you.
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2. Set up a dedicated onboarding space
If possible, set up a dedicated space for their remote onboarding process. This gives them a place to go where they can find all the information they need in one spot. It can be as simple as a folder in your company's shared drive or an intranet page with links to all the relevant documents.
Having a dedicated space also makes it easy for you to keep track of your new employee's progress. You can quickly see what they've read and what still needs to be covered.
As your business grows, it might be a good idea to consider tools to help during this process. HR Clouds Onboard platform can help to automate a lot of the repetitive tasks that build up as you get the hang of remote onboarding.
3. Make sure the basics are in place
Before your new employee starts, ensure they have everything they need to do their job. This includes a computer, internet access, company email address, and necessary software or applications. If possible, ship these items to them in advance, so they're all set on their first day.
Suppose you are working on many different online marketing tools. In that case, putting together a list of recommended tools for your new employee may be helpful. This way, they can hit the ground running and start being productive immediately.
If you’re working with a project management tool, ensure that their accounts are already set up in advanced and they’ll have access from day one.
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4. Introduce them to the team members
One of the challenges of remote work is feeling like you're part of the team. So take some time to introduce your new employee to everyone on the team, even if it's just through a quick email or video call. If possible, set up regular virtual coffee chats or happy hours so they can get to know their colleagues in a more informal setting.
5. Give them a tour (virtually)
If your company has a physical office, give your new employee a virtual tour so they can see where their team members work and what the space looks like. If you don't have an office, you can still give them a tour of your company's website, intranet, or social media channels.
Make them feel like they're part of the team by showing them around and introducing them to everyone they'll be working with, even if it's just virtually.
Always make an effort to have your camera on to create a warm face to face feeling when giving the tour.
6. Assign a buddy
One way to help your new employee feel welcome is to assign them a buddy. This should be someone who's been with the company for a while and knows the ropes. They can answer your new employee's questions and help them feel comfortable in their new role.
Having someone to go to for help and advice will make the transition to a remote job much smoother for your new employee.
7. Provide training and resources
As part of the onboarding program, provide your new employee with all the training sessions and resources they need to be successful in their role. This may include an overview of your company's products or services, how to use specific software or tools, or even just a general introduction to your industry.
The goal is to set them up for success by providing everything they need to hit the ground running and make sure you’re both on the same page once their onboarding plan is complete.
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8. Schedule regular check-ins
Working remotely makes it easy to feel like you're out of sight and out of mind. To avoid this, schedule regular check-ins with your new employee. This gives you a chance to see how they're doing, answer any questions they may have, and give feedback on their progress.
Check-ins also allow your new employee to bring up any concerns or issues they may be having. By addressing these early on, you can help them feel more comfortable in their role and prevent any potential problems down the road.
This will help to create a welcoming remote work environment which they feel comfortable in and give honest feedback about their onboarding experience.
9. Celebrate their success
Make sure to celebrate your new employee's big and small successes. This could be anything from hitting their monthly sales target to completing their training program. Recognizing their achievements will make them feel valued and motivated to continue doing great work.
10. Give them room to grow
Finally, remember that your new employee is still learning and growing into their role. They may make some mistakes along the way, but that's okay. What's important is that you give them the space to learn and grow.
Encourage them to ask questions, try new things, and take risks. This will help them become even more successful in their role and feel like they're truly part of the team.
11. Check-in after their first week
After your new employee's first week, check-in with them to see how they're doing and how your employees feel about the job. This is an excellent time to answer any remaining questions they may have and give them feedback on their progress. It's also an opportunity to find out if there's anything you can do to make their job easier or more enjoyable.
The goal is to ensure they're settling into their role and feel like they're part of the team. You can set them up for success from the start by taking the time to onboard them properly.
12. Have a remote work policy
Suppose you're going to be onboarding remote employees regularly. In that case, it's important to have a remote work policy in place. This should outline your expectations for how employees will conduct themselves while working remotely and what you expect from them regarding communication and collaboration.
Having a clear policy will help make the onboarding process smoother and ensure everyone is on the same page from the start.
Several tools and technologies can help make the onboarding process easier for you and your new employee. For example, video conferencing software like Skype or Zoom can be used for virtual training and tours. And there are many online tools, such as Google Docs, that can be used for collaboration and sharing documents.
By taking advantage of these tools, you can make the onboarding process smoother and more efficient.
Remote work is here to stay, so it's important to be prepared. By following these tips, you can set your new remote team up for success from the start.
This article is written by our marketing team at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is dedicated to providing powerful solutions for your HR teams and creating an exceptional employee experience. Our aim is to help your company improve employee engagement, onboarding, and to save you valuable time!
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