Now, more than ever, remote employees have gone from being the exception to becoming a major part of the workforce. Onboarding plays a critical role in a new hire’s success and happiness. And onboarding remote employees is especially important, since they don’t have as many opportunities to organically integrate into the company processes and culture. Let’s look at some best practices for onboarding remote employees.
What is onboarding remote employees?
Employee onboarding is a series of activities that allow new hires to get to know their team and learn about the company’s attitudes, methods, rituals, and tools. Onboarding remote employees is the same process, but with the employee working remotely rather than from the office. From an employee’s perspective, an onboarding program is an opportunity to get used to a new environment. For an employer, it’s a valuable time to share all of the elements that will help new team members be successful as they learn more about their role in the company.
Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees
- Start Early – Send them information about company culture and projects they’ll be working on up to three weeks prior to their start date. Use video conferencing and internal messaging software (Slack) to introduce your new hire to co-workers. This allows new hires to be more comfortable in conversations that create personal bonds. Video conferencing allows employees to make eye contact and observe facial expressions that are important to interpersonal communication.
- Get Remote Employees Online ASAP – As a remote employee, your connection to the team is through the web. Your new hire should be set up with IT early on with their passwords and access right off the bat. Without access to the digital workplace, i.e. company intranet, messaging apps, video conferencing software, and other apps and tools, new hires will feel like they are cut off from asking questions and becoming familiar with the day-to-day culture of the company.
- Provide a Digital Employee Handbook – Make an effort to digitize all existing employee documentation in addition to information about company culture. It is advised to maintain digital documentation of company projects and culture outside day-to-day operations.
- Create a Sense of Belonging – Working remotely is challenging in itself and more so for a new hire. Assign a mentor or “orientation” peer colleague to guide the new hire through the entire remote onboarding process.
- Set Expectations – Clearly communicate your expectations to new hires before they start work. Onboarding remote employees with a clear picture of their duties is the basis for successful hires. Both you and the remote worker should be clear on company values, team objectives, and individual goals. You should also establish time frames for training, reviews, and milestones.
- Encourage Collaborative Learning – During the onboarding process, assign new employees to work in a group to complete a case study or other project. This type of collaborative learning introduces them to other team members and forges bonds. It can also be a great opportunity to cross-train teams.
A successful program for onboarding remote employees will have a tremendous impact on employee engagement, productivity and retention. Use these Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees to set your new hires up for success.
Make HR management one less thing to worry about. Whether you are a startup or a growing company with 50+ employees, HRO has the tools you need so you can focus on guiding your team to success.