The new year may be in full swing, but many companies aren’t fully returning to their brick-and-mortar offices just yet. However, the show must go on, and this is why many HR practitioners are looking to improve their remote onboarding processes.
We’ve previously given you a step-by-step guide to welcoming new hires and pointed out 10 mistakes to avoid when onboarding, but these lists assumed that you would at least be able to meet and greet your fresh recruits in the flesh. Now that COVID-19 has thrown us all for a major loop, and many businesses are realising the benefits of a distributed workforce, this won’t necessarily be the case.
As such, here are a few insider tips on effective onboarding that will allow you to bring your dispersed team members into the fold from day one.
3 Ways To Win At Remote Onboarding In 2021 & Beyond
1. Help Remote Team Members To Connect With Their Peers
While there are many benefits associated with working from home, there are certain aspects of the in-person workplace experience that remote workers sacrifice. For instance, they aren't able to forge new relationships with their peers in person, simply because they aren't in a physical space where they can sidle up to a conversation at a watercooler or get to know their co-workers incrementally over coffee in the office canteen.
As such, it's important to find ways to connect your remote hires with their broader workplace and integrate them into your culture. There are many ways to do so when you get creative. For one thing, make sure to schedule an initial group chat on your preferred video-conferencing platform on the day they join your team, to introduce them to their immediate team members.
If this could be followed up by informal, albeit formally scheduled, individual chats in the week thereafter, all the better. After all, a screen full of faces can be quite distracting, so it's a good idea to give your new hire the space to focus on one peer at a time as they learn the ropes and settle into their role.
TOP TIP: If your team feels a little awkward to have initial one-on-one chats with your new recruit, smooth the way by providing them with a fun little 'agenda'. E.g. 'Play two truths and a lie', or 'introduce your pets', or 'share your favourite quick lunch recipe'. These ice-breakers can make it a little easier to get everyone interacting.
2. Put Systems In Place To Communicate Effectively
Getting the hang of a new position can be a tall order, even in a situation where you can walk over to your supervisor's desk and ask them to explain something. As such, you can imagine that a remote situation makes it all the more challenging.
To ensure that your new hires get off to a smooth start with the business, streamline operations and communications with their supervisor and relevant team members as much as possible.
For instance, when it comes to IT assistance, you may want to put a ticketing system in place so that remote employees have an effective way of requesting help. This way, their needs won't fall between the cracks while your IT team deals with on-site matters.
3. Train Managers To Support Dispersed Employees
Of course, it's not only your recruits who have to adapt to a dispersed working model but also your managerial team. Keeping tabs on the engagement levels and performance of a team can be tough even when you are able to look them in the eye or call them in for a quick face-to-face chat, so it only makes sense that doing so remotely can require even more of an effort.
Take time to train your managers in the support of dispersed employees and give them the tools to do so effectively. For instance, a platform that facilitates pulse and eNPS surveys will allow them to analyse results in a matter of weeks so they can make timely operational improvements and proactively prevent needless employee churn.
Remote onboarding does not have to be daunting if you approach it with the right strategy. Start by helping remote team members to connect with their peers, putting systems in place to communicate effectively, and training managers to support dispersed employees.
With these important remote onboarding cornerstones in place, it becomes that much easier to foster a strong company culture and boost employee engagement from within while we navigate the new normal.