Onboarding remote employees is always difficult to get right. You want the employee to feel comfortable and equipped in their new role, whilst acclimatising to the social and cultural aspects of the company. But how do you achieve that without the usual face-to-face interactions?
Here are some best practice tips for making the process as seamless as possible for all involved.
Make sure they have the right equipment and access
Remote employees will only become productive when they have the necessary equipment to fulfil their responsibilities; as well as access to the platforms and systems that your organization relies upon.
As such, it is worth setting up new hires with whatever they need well in advance of their start date, as part of the onboarding process.
This includes providing the physical equipment such as a laptop, headset and office furniture, but also giving login details for whatever systems they will be using on a day-to-day basis.
If possible, go even further and make sure that all of this is set up and working before their first official day, as there may be some issues to overcome and it is better to remedy these when there are no other pressures involved.
Announce their arrival engagingly
There are lots of creative ways to go about announcing a new employee, and in the case that they work remotely, it will be necessary to handle this digitally.
Hosting a specific virtual meeting dedicated to their introduction with the rest of the team can be nice, although possibly a little scary. Instead, integrating the announcement as part of a regularly scheduled virtual event could be a better option.
You can also provide existing employees with a heads-up by sharing information about the new hire ahead of their arrival so that they feel like a familiar face by the time they arrive.
Create a support system
New hires can feel intimidated and isolated if they are joining established teams whilst working remotely.
This is where partnering them with another team member is worthwhile, whether this relationship is that of a mentor and a mentee, or merely a ‘buddy’ scheme formed between equals.
The people you pick for this task will need to be compatible with the new remote hire, have things in common and be willing to go the extra mile to socialize with them virtually.
Ask for feedback and improve
Finally, it is a good idea to be flexible in terms of how you handle employee onboarding in a remote working context.
Be sure to record the steps you take and ask for feedback from the new hire further down the line so that you can determine where there is room for improvement.
Over time you will be able to develop and hone an effective onboarding strategy that works not only for employees who are able to work in-house but also for those who join the team remotely.
Doing so can dramatically increase retention rates and also lead to a more productive and profitable organization as a whole.