Successful remote onboarding programs go beyond simple welcome emails. You’ve spent a lot of time and money recruiting, hiring, and finding the right person; don’t waste all that effort with a poorly-executed remote onboarding program. You must become proficient at remote onboarding new employees and preparing them for success.
Effective remote onboarding boosts employee retention while saving your company time and money. It is also essential for maintaining productivity and performance. If an employee has a terrible onboarding experience, they are more than likely to look for another job.
The better you provide this remote onboarding process to them, the faster they will have the positive impact you seek in the company. They must understand what is expected of them and how the company operates.
This article will go through seven strategies and best practices for a successful remote onboarding strategy.
1. Engage in preliminary communication
Hiring managers typically engage in preliminary communication with candidates to assess for basic information such as their abilities, qualifications, and interest in the role. Candidates, on the other hand, want to know where they stand. So, they expect to be kept informed and communicate with the company regularly.
One of the first things you need to do is to create a new account specifically for new employee onboarding. Unless you’ve been involved in the recruitment process and have been in regular contact with the new hire, they’re unlikely to recognize your name in their inbox. On the other hand, a custom email address like “firstname.lastname@example.org” will convince the new hire to open your message.
The preliminary communication step is crucial since both parties are unsure about their decision. If you decide to hire a candidate, this step begins when they are a good fit or accept your offer and continues until their first day on the job. Your communication should be consistent, efficient, and personable. That will make candidates more enthusiastic about their decision to join your company.
Here are a few things to consider when communicating with your candidate.
- You must use the appropriate language and tone to ensure smooth and productive communication.
- Make sure you respond whenever candidates contact you or your team for further information about the company.
- It’s crucial to figure out which communication platforms would work best for reaching out to your candidates.
- If you hire candidates, you should help them with their paperwork or check it.
- It’s a good idea to send a follow-up email one week later to let them know their application is being processed.
Engaging with applicants is essential for companies who want to attract top talent and impact crucial outcomes. It also spreads the word about your company to other possible candidates.
2. Introduce them to the online tools
Remote employees rely on online tools to succeed. These tools allow teams to communicate, share information, organize meetings, and do various things. So, you must present or create a list of the tools you are using for your new hires.
At the same time, ensure that they are familiar with the online tools you are using. If not, you should supply them with documentation, video tutorials, and training. That will allow them to practice with the tools ahead of time and use them correctly when needed.
Also, make sure you allow access as needed if your company has strict permissions or requires licensing for the tools you use. You must provide them access to all of your company’s systems, including project management and collaboration software, timesheet app, chat platforms, email, and other software they’ll need to do their job.
If possible, set up technical support that allows new team members to request assistance with the tools as needed.
3. Undergo onboarding during their first week
To ensure that your new hire adopts the proper habits and expectations, you must assist them in integrating into the team, getting used to the company culture, and getting them up to speed on their tasks during the first week. That includes any discussion in which new hires can ask questions, address issues, and provide immediate responses to each topic.
So, the first step is to inform your staff that a new employee has joined the company. You may arrange an online meeting to introduce the new employee or send them an email with information about the new hire.
During the first week, it’s also a good idea to start with what the new hires want to learn. You may use statistics, such as the one in the image, to choose where to begin with your new hires.
It is preferable to create a list clarifying the exact job duties, expectations, and short and long-term goals for the role so that the new hire understands what should be accomplished. As a hiring manager, take time for orientation. During the first week, set aside a few minutes each day to check in with the new hire and address any questions.
Last but not least, at the end of the first week, review and ensure that the new employee has grasped the abilities essential for the position, critical performance, or the results you want them to generate.
Remember that one week is insufficient for onboarding. HR professionals generally believe that three months is the minimum for onboarding new workers. So, you may need to broaden the orientation process for the new hire.
4. Be approachable and communicative
Being approachable is a professional skill that has various advantages in the workplace. According to Yello, Gen Z candidates value personal connections with their recruiters more than previous generations. That means developing effective communication can significantly influence the candidate’s experience, retention, and success.
When you maintain your interest in your new hires, you will establish personal and professional credibility, make long-term relationships, and provide a motivation boost. All of this will motivate new hires, even in challenging circumstances, to offer high-quality work, productivity, and engagement.
You should make the first move and show you care. Use their names and give them your complete attention to make them feel valued. This email, for instance, demonstrates that the company is aware of Thomas’s efforts and ethics and encourages him to keep up his excellent job.
Furthermore, admitting your mistakes will help them talk about their own and improve their skills. If possible, check in with them once a week through video call or email to discuss any challenges or feedback on any essential aspects related to the position. Ask them questions that are clear, consistent, kind, and timely. Always allow them to share their thoughts, concerns, and visions.
5. Emphasize company values and ethics
Core values define who you are as a company. An ethical workplace provides employees with a feeling of purpose and integrity at work. However, it might be tough to convey the culture that distinguishes your company when working remotely. So, it’s crucial to establish clear behavioral guidelines that reflect your company’s values for your new remote workers.
Include the same type of material about culture and values that your new hires get during their orientation. Communicate your company’s values and cultural goals to employees to keep them interested and working toward a shared goal.
New employees learn about the corporate culture through interacting with coworkers, participating in projects, and attending social events. So, be sure to include them in social events, activities, and meetings to bring remote employees together.
6. Assign them a mentor or “work buddy.”
A buddy system is when a new employee is assigned to an existing employee who assists them through their first weeks or months on the job. It allows new hires to feel encouraged while also acquiring valuable insights from their colleagues’ expertise.
The buddies you select do not have to be the most experienced or highly competent members of your team, but they should best reflect your company’s culture and goals. It is vital to guarantee that new hires have access to buddies at all times. That means that your buddies aren’t called away on many projects, making them less available.
It’s a good idea to create a list that includes the necessary characteristics of the buddy to assist you in finding the correct match. Here is an example from Zavvy to give you an idea.
After you have selected the buddy, you must set clear goals, responsibilities, and expectations for the buddy system. Make a list of all the topics and tasks that each buddy should discuss with the new hires. You can also set SMART goals for the new hire, so they understand how you’re tracking their progress.
7. Ask them for regular feedback
Employee feedback helps managers identify strengths and areas for growth. It also helps them make critical changes and improve their business management skills. However, getting relevant and honest feedback from employees isn’t easy. You must foster a feedback culture and encourage employees to share their thoughts.
It’s a good idea to regularly send out feedback surveys to team members to make providing and receiving feedback easy and natural. Before, during, and after social events, meetings, presentations, and projects, request your staff to get ready to deliver any feedback.
When encouraging your employee to submit feedback, it is critical to be specific. Rather than asking, “What do you think?” try, “How can we prepare X for our next projects?”. Don’t forget to thank them for their assistance by following up with them in an email.
Managing the process of onboarding new remote employees may be challenging. However, remote onboarding needs a well-planned strategy and methodical stages like any other process. It should empower new hires to gain an effective, productive employee.
On the other hand, hiring managers should take ownership of the candidate’s experience and focus on enthusing their new hire.
So, tread carefully and develop a robust remote onboarding approach that offers new employees all of the knowledge, relationships, and resources they need to perform at a high level.
Owen Jones is the Senior Content Marketer at ZoomShift, an online schedule maker app. He is an experienced SaaS marketer specializing in content marketing, CRO, and FB advertising. He likes to share his knowledge with others to help them increase results.