How do I onboard remote staff effectively?
To answer this question, first take a look at your process and procedures for onboarding staff when they are free to come into company premises during their induction period and beyond. At the same time perform a sanity check of how effective these are at:
Making the employee feel welcome
Providing access to company tools and systems
Integrating new hires into their team and the broader workforce
Enabling recruits to start becoming productive in their role and to deliver value to the business
Fostering growth of their knowledge, skills and expertise
Creating a motivating career path for their tenure with the company
If your check reveals shortcomings in any of these activities they should be addressed as a matter of priority. Next, identify the onboarding activities that can’t be done, or done effectively, remotely – there are the process and procedures you should treat as your priorities to review and revise.
Traditionally, onboarding staff has been done in person because it allows face-to-face interaction between the new hire and their line manager and co-workers. It also allows for team building and ice breaker activities to help new recruits quickly get comfortable in their new environment.
In most organisations onboarding remote staff typically includes 4 components:
- Company induction
- Role / function induction
- Technical integration and connection
- Social integration
Remote onboarding ‘is’ more challenging both for the company and the new hire but the process is unique to an organisation and often contain steps specific to a given role so can only be developed with closer insight into the nature of the business and the functions new hires have been engaged to perform.
There are a range of tools and techniques which can help (e.g., sending out a Product Care Package prior to joining with samples of the company’s products, assigning an Onboarding Buddy to whom a new hire has regular access, scheduling social web-meetings with colleagues etc.). There are many others but they need to be tailored to the organisation and can only be developed in consultation with stakeholders.
With the right planning and execution, any company can successfully onboard their employees, no matter where they are located.
What should I ‘not’ do when onboarding staff remotely?
It can be difficult to build rapport and trust with your team when you’re onboarding remotely. You miss out on all of the little things that help people get to know each other, such as sharing a lunch break or a social conversation at the coffee machine. When you’re not in the same office, it’s harder to get a sense of someone’s work style and how they like to communicate – and there are some things you should never do when inducting a new team member.
When starting a remote onboarding process, avoid:
1.Sending long emails with lots of links and documents – have a brief video call to introduce yourself and explain what the onboarding process will look like and do a high-level screen share of critical documents and templates
2.Leaving new recruits to find their own way around tools and systems – assign someone to take them through their features and functions who will then be available to answer questions as the new team members starts to make use of them
3.Long periods without contact – during the first few months too much communication is far better than too little
Video text transcript (excluding videos and images):
Hello and welcome to another … ‘Question of Work’. I’m Grant Price from YOHO.I’ve heard from Helen who poses the question: “How do I onboard remote staff effectively?” This is a tough one Helen!
If only it were as simple as that.
And it is critical considering the long-term impact of a poor onboarding experience for the company ….and the new employee. Onboarding is not just about a new laptop, phone and credentials to access company
It’s about enabling new hires to hit the ground running and also about observational learning, cultural support and feeling part of the team.
Best practice suggests creating these connections needs to start before day one. For example, Reckitt, the global consumer products company, sends a product care package to new employees’ homes before their start date.
It’s a welcoming touch and is designed to start building links between the new starter, their products and the company’s mission.
ew hires also need a clear picture of what will constitute success for their first 100 days and beyond. And they also need to understand how they fit into the big picture. Remote onboarding is more difficult – but there are ways to remotely integrate new members into your team.
At YOHO we’re experts in people, systems, technology and new ways of working. We’d be delighted to share our knowledge with you.
Why not book a free 30-minute consultation with me? Just click the link above.