Remote Onboarding: Tips to ‘Navigate’ the New Norm
The new norm has forced us all to rethink how we do things, onboarding new staff is no different. We work closely with some of the World’s strongest and most adaptive teams and, lucky for you, we’ve been listening. We’ve put together some of our key learnings…
1. Put it in writing
Whatever your policy becomes, it should be written down somewhere and revised regularly. Communication is key to any successful onboarding strategy, and especially a remote one.
Consider a checklist of steps to follow so nothing gets forgotten or skipped over. Frequently Asked Questions are also a useful time-saver but do encourage the new hires to ask you anything, no matter how simple.
Minimise any confusion by making your expectations of remote workers clear. Are there specific hours you expect them to be contactable? Days when they need to be available for meetings on Google Hangouts?
Review the policy with the new hire as you’re going through it! Give it to them in advance of their first day to give them time to digest it properly and encourage them to ask questions.
Show Collect feedback and document it. Don’t be afraid to adapt the policy to new challenges. Here are some tips for collecting feedback remotely.
- Put together a timetable for personal development goals with set times to review them. That’ll give your new hires something concrete to work towards and measure themselves against. Spreadsheets with tasks and due dates are a simple way to help keep track of expectations!
2. Spread the love
Making new workers feel welcome is a huge part of the onboarding process, remote or otherwise. A worker who feels welcome will feel motivated to connect with your business and your core values. What are the best ways to handle this?
Establishing social connections is even more important for remote workers, since lacking that office space can be quite isolating, and this is especially true now. Encourage people to reach out to new hires and build relationships. If you don’t have a social channel on your communication platform of choice, it might be worth setting one up and actively using it. This is one way of creating a company culture without needing to meet up.
A goodie bag can work wonders if you have the budget for it. Consider sending one in the post!
Training. Don’t forget to plan for any training the hire might need, and make sure that training is tailored for the remote experience. I’ve found a shared Trello board with tasks to be done at the new starter’s own pace in a non-linear way are very good for providing autonomy without losing the north star.
- Show the way. Always talk frankly about the next steps in the onboarding process, so they know exactly what to expect. This means less confusion, less anxiety and more efficient work!
3. Pick the right tools
Onboarding can begin as soon as the candidate accepts an offer from you. By using the various tech solutions available, you can start on the best possible foot before the hire even enters your premises.
People new to remote work may not even have a good office setup or the means to create one. Create a list of Must-Haves for your new hires to help them pick things out.
Decide if you’re going to provide any equipment for remote workers, and set a budget for this. Laptops, microphones, webcams are all very useful. If your remote workers require a specific piece of equipment, it’s good practice to provide this.
If you do send equipment, make sure it arrives before the new hires’ first day! Give them time to get it set up and get acquainted with it.
- You may also want to consider an allowance for things like internet access, phone contracts and electricity bills. If you do this, make sure to outline what it can and can’t be used for, and ask for invoices.
4. Share screen time
A Buddy System can work wonders with getting people up to speed. Buddy’s can help with tech support, point new people to specific help points and help them adapt to the way you use specific platforms and tools in your business.
Virtual Meet and Greets are more viable than ever with tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts. An employee’s first day can be made even better with short ice-breaking meetings. Schedule a tea break or a lunch hour and get everyone acquainted.
When appropriate, virtual office tours can help build connections between coworkers. It’s very easy for remote workers to feel like the also-rans of a company, especially if they have coworkers who are not remote.
Onboarding is about maximising efficiency, but it’s also about making new hires as comfortable as possible and building lasting connections between coworkers.
Get some good tools in place that are fit for purpose, and you’ll see employees becoming more productive, and happier.