The onboarding process is a future employee's first impression of your business. It's no wonder that the stats show that a smooth onboarding process leads to significantly higher engagement and retention in a role.
“I truly believe that onboarding is an art. Each new employee brings with them a potential to achieve and succeed. To lose the energy of a new hire through poor onboarding is an opportunity lost.”
- Sarah Wetzel, Director of Human Resources at engage:BDR
Many organisations are trying to stay ahead of the curve by implementing online onboarding platforms and processes in order to become agile and limit business disruption ding process runs as smoothly as possible, we have compiled the checklist below to assist you with your next hire.
1. Begin early
It will come as no shock that any onboarding process starts well in advance of the employee's official start date. This is even more true for remote employees. Ensure all logistics are ironed out early; IT have given access to relevant systems; payroll have the necessary documentation; and introductions have been made with their manager and other key individuals across the organisation. You want to engage the employee early on and start to cement those corerelationships - aim to have everything up and running for a smooth first day.
2. Create a new starter hub
Save everything that a potential new hire may need in one place. This may sound obvious but creating a place where all the information can be found, can save time later down the track and encourage the new hire to seek out their own answers to questions, thus building their confidence. The information hub could contain contact lists, training manuals, templates, marketing collateral...the list goes on. Get creative and encourage other members of the team to update / add to it over time, making it a central part of the whole team.
3. Assign a virtual onboarding buddy or mentor
There are many benefits of having a mentor in the workplace however an added benefit for a remote worker is having another person that can help guide them through the onboarding process. A mentor should not be the employee’s manager but another senior member of the team/business. Make the introductions early on and encourage regular catchups. This will help to highlight any minor issues before they become bigger problems.
4. First day
On their first day you want to make them feel welcome and part of the team as quickly as possible. Schedule team introductions via video chat to add a personal feel. Ensure their first week or two is completely mapped out allowing for down time to process information and to catch up with colleagues. Start to build their confidence by assigning minor tasks initially. This can help a new hire feel like they are contributing early on and give them the opportunity to collaborate with their colleagues.
5. Use the tech and communicate
Living in the digital age means that we have no end of technology available to us. There are so many apps out there for communicating with your team whilst working remotely. Some of the most prominent are Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google hang-out, Zoom, Skype and even FaceTime and WhatsApp. Use these tools to schedule regular one-to-ones - even more so than normal - it's important to balance employee motivations and learning behaviours with their professional development goals. Be visible and create an environment where your new employee feels comfortable contacting you.
6. Build the company culture
Create a community that the new employee feels part of from the get-go. By introducing them early on (and where possible) in company meetings, voluntary social groups and work projects you will create a sense of belonging in the new employee. This will allow them to start to develop purpose in their role and recognise their contribution to the business.
7. It's a long process
Onboarding takes time and, when done remotely, may take even longer. With the absence of being in an office every day you may need to adjust your expectations of the role to allow for distance training. Be practical and sensible as it may take your new employees longer to add value to your team as they're missing out on face-to-face and on-the-job learning due to virtual onboarding and working from home.
Download our 'Tackling Leadership Remotely' booklet for other helpful insights around leading your remote team.
If you have any questions or are facing any challenges reach out to one of our helpful consultants here.