3 Things To Consider When Onboarding Remote Employees

One thing that hasn’t changed over the past year is that first impressions still matter. Your onboarding process is the first insight that employees get of what their workplace experience will be, so it is crucial to start on the right foot. Unless your recruiting and hiring processes are fully in place to meet today’s challenges, you will find it very difficult to build an onboarding process that enhances your employee experience. As you evaluate your onboarding efforts and identify what needs to be done to embrace a more remote onboarding experience, follow these guidelines to keep you on track.

1. Adapt Your Current Process

Over the past year, many organizations have had to rework or adapt their traditional processes and operations. With many people working remotely, adopting new technologies and tools to support a virtual workplace has been crucial. Just as your company adjusted to a remote work format, you need to adapt to a remote onboarding process.

Start the process by evaluating your current methods. Keep the stuff that works. Ditch the parts that don’t. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; just change out the rusty parts.

If your traditional onboarding process included mounds of paperwork for new hires to sign and date, instead embrace a digital format that rids you of that pesky paperwork entirely. With e-verify and DocuSign platforms, you can get all the legal information you need, ensure compliance, and save yourself from organizing and storing tons of paper. Employees will enjoy a more positive employee experience thanks to features like auto-fill and smart forms that save time from inputting redundant information.

When you evaluate your current onboarding strategy’s effectiveness, make sure to highlight what parts of the process previous employees most enjoyed. Have you found that your current employees loved being paired with a mentor or buddy on the first day? Find a way to keep this tradition alive as you onboard remote employees! It is essential to ensure your onboarding process feels personalized to your organization.

Tip: The buddy system works! 87% of organizations that assign an ambassador or buddy program during the onboarding process say that it’s an effective way to speed up new hire proficiency.

2. Create A Clear Path To Completion

This last year has provided enough turbulence and uncertainty for a lifetime. Leave the confusion out as you onboard remote employees, and instead create a clear and concise path for your new hire to follow. Before you onboard a new hire, make sure you have a detailed plan in place. This plan should include any milestones or expectations that new hires need to accomplish within the first day, week, month, and quarter with your organization.

Remote work offers flexibility that many employees enjoy, but your remote onboarding strategy should be more structured. Your new hire should know precisely what will be expected on their first day and have a clear understanding of who is in charge of ensuring they complete their onboarding milestones. Organizations that set timelines for their new hires see more highly engaged employees and see higher rates of productivity from their new hires.

Remember that your onboarding timeline and new hire expectations need to remain flexible. As your new hire begins working within their role, you might find that they need additional support or resources to be successful. Check-in frequently with your new hire to make sure they feel adequately supported. They might raise concerns you haven’t noticed before!

Bonus Material: Check out these 3 strategies for onboarding employees in a post-Covid workplace.

3. Establish A Personal Connection

In traditional onboarding experiences, the new hire gets a tour of the building, meets the team, and has opportunities to socialize with the staff. While some of these things are lost on a remote onboarding experience, there are ways to maintain social interaction.

Utilize video conferencing. One of the easiest ways to make the remote onboarding experience more personalized is to use video conferencing tools. This allows you to interact with your new hires face-to-face. Additionally, video chats are a great way to introduce your new hire to the whole team. Tools like Zoom provide opportunities for employees to talk in large and small groups and can be an invaluable tool for providing some overview into your company’s various departments. Consider setting up 15-minute meetings between your current staff and your latest hire so they can learn everyone’s name and see how each role plays into the larger organizational goals.

Send a welcome pack. Spend some time curating a welcome pack that you can send to your new employee. Ideally, this welcome pack should arrive before the first day to prepare them and get them excited to start working. Some things to include are:

  • Name and contact information of colleagues they’ll work with directly
  • A handwritten welcome letter
  • The employee handbook
  • Company swag
  • Necessary office supplies
  • A branded mask

Bonus Material: We’ve got everything you need! Check out the expert advice for onboarding new employees during a crisis.

The onboarding process is one of the first places where an employee learns what it’s going to be like to work for your organization. As companies rebound from a global pandemic and continue to respond to unanticipated changes, ensuring your onboarding experience remains strong, productive, and future-ready remains a high priority.

ClearCompany is here to help you adjust your current strategies to support a remote onboarding experience. With our award-winning Onboarding platform, leaders can quickly and effectively get their new hires up to peak productivity. With added features like automated task tracking and mobile-friendly capabilities, you can rest assured that your onboarding experience is nothing short of stellar. To take the first step in adapting how you onboard remote employees, reach out to one of our experts and sign up for your free demo.

This article was originally posted on ClearCompany’s blog.

As a Digital Marketing and Events Manager for ClearCompany, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events with HR practitioners.