As your business turns to remote work, you would also need to adjust your recruiting and onboarding processes. Traditional methods might no longer work in this new setup. Factors such as the lack of face-to-face interactions mean it will be harder for you to determine whether your new hire is a good fit for your company.
According to Owl Lab, 80% of workers expect that they will be working from home in the coming months or years. It is highly possible that you might be recruiting and onboarding your new hires remotely as well. It is high time that you adopt new recruitment and onboarding strategies for remote employees.
With that, here are some tips on how you can effectively recruit and onboard new employees for your remote teams.
1. Leverage technology to go digital
Working remotely means moving away from the traditional pen-and-paper method and fully embracing the digital space. This would require you to digitize your documents, paperwork, and processes. A hiring manager needs the right tools to ensure everything you need remains accessible anytime and anywhere.
With technology nowadays, you can easily do all your HR tasks virtually. Various tools and software can help you recruit and onboard new hires remotely. Some examples are different types of HR software, video conferencing tools, recruitment and onboarding applications, and e-signing tools.
These software solutions also offer additional functions to help streamline your processes. For example, your HR software can automatically schedule onboarding orientations for your new hires and notify them for every step in the process. This way, you can focus on making sure your new hire is the right fit for the company, starting right from a successful onboarding.
“Our hiring managers now have a reliable system that is easy to navigate. Our HR team can actively monitor the process, and assist if needed, but Onboard has helped them save so much valuable time and effort while increasing data accuracy. All of this has helped us improve compliance and gives us a powerful tool to achieve even more results in the future.”
2. Consider individualizing experience
Something you need to consider when you recruit and onboard remote employees are their respective working conditions at their home offices. In the case of remote work, there are many factors affecting their productivity and efficiency that you cannot control. This can come in the form of a family member or pet demanding attention, an urgent household chore, and many more.
Some of your new hires might not have the privilege of having a conducive environment to work in. To make sure that you give everyone equal footing, you should consider individualizing or personalizing your recruitment and onboarding experience. New hires feel valued by being able to choose the best and most optimal way to get to know your company and the culture within it.
Personalization can come in the form of booking their own interview schedule during the application process. You can provide an asynchronous orientation on your remote onboarding process, allowing the new employees to take in new information at their own pace and time. This way, you can assess all your new hires fairly.
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3. Make onboarding materials always accessible
The benefits of going digital with your HR process is the opportunity of making important documents, files, and data more accessible to your employees. You can use this advantage to improve your virtual onboarding and the new hire experience.
By using software, you can make onboarding programs and materials always available for your new employees. You can put them in a cloud-based storage system which your remote workers can access anytime and anywhere. This allows them to easily pull out any information they need in between tasks.
After all, a one-time orientation might not be enough to cover everything they need to know about the company, its culture, and policies. By making essential onboarding materials accessible, they have something to go back to in cases they have questions about the processes or policies within the company.
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4. Create a buddy system for your new hire
Alone, your new hire might have trouble approaching the rest of your remote teams. They might even find it intimidating. But with someone at their side, the process can become a whole lot easier and seamless.
By using a buddy system, you can provide a more focused onboarding process with your new hire. Their buddy will guide them throughout their adjustment period while also acting as their mentor. This way, your new employee will always know who to turn to whenever they have questions during the process right from their start dates.
Their buddy can also act as a bridge that connects them to the rest of the team. They can introduce new hires with the members and explain the processes and dynamics within the team.
5. Schedule frequent check-ins
Effective employee onboarding can sometimes take time. First day orientations are just the beginning of the journey. It will take some time for them to adjust fully and get to know the organization and their colleagues more. Just make sure to keep track of their progress along the way.
This would require frequent check-ins to see how your new remote employees are acclimatizing to the organization. You can conduct a survey, asking how well they are adjusting and getting along with their colleagues. You can also ask feedback on their performance from their buddies or other team members.
Doing so will let you know whether your new hire is a perfect fit to the company. Likewise, it helps you determine the strengths and weaknesses of your onboarding process. This way, you can improve and optimize your strategy along the way.
6. Provide opportunities to bond with the team
One of the biggest questions when recruiting and onboarding new remote workers is how to make them feel welcomed to the team. After all, your new hire has little to no opportunities to interact with their colleagues personally. There are no team lunches or team building activities to get to know each other more. This can make it harder for them to connect with the rest of the team.
Keep in mind that face-to-face interactions aren’t the end all be all for team bonding. There are numerous ideas for onboarding remote employees to make them feel connected with the rest of the team.
For one, you can hold social events virtually. You can conduct simple team building activities online such as an introductory meeting where the new hire gets to interact with the rest of the team, weekly quiz or game nights, or just simple video chats where team members can catch up. This will make your new employee feel more welcomed and settled with the company, improving employee retention in the long run.
7. Keep communications line open
According to a Mitel report, 15% of employees’ total work hours is wasted on inefficient communications. This can be in the form of unclear set of instructions or the lack of effective communication channels within the team.
Keeping your communication line open is one of the most important remote onboarding tips out there. Fortunately, there are many ways for your remote workers to reach out to the team despite the distance. This includes emails, instant messaging apps, centralized dashboards, and SMS messaging.
Your new hires will have a lot of questions during their first few days or weeks in the company. And sometimes, these questions aren’t found in your employee handbooks or manuals. So, you must make sure that they can get all the support they need to adjust to their new environment.
The future of recruiting and onboarding
Times are changing. Many believe that remote work is the future for almost all businesses worldwide. Your company must be ready to adapt to such changes if you want to remain relevant and competitive in the market.
The challenge now is how to optimize and streamline your recruiting and onboarding processes for remote employees. You can start by leveraging technologies to help you migrate your usual processes into the digital space. And with these tips in mind, you can make sure that your new hires will fit perfectly with your organization despite the challenges of remote hiring and onboarding.
About Author: This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.