As businesses and the job market continue to embrace the remote employee, employers, too, must embrace new onboarding procedures to fit into this work-from-home world. Investing time in creating a well-planned onboarding program is crucial to the success of your new employees and the first impression they have of your organization. Your onboarding program sets the tone for your prospective employees about your company culture and the on-the-job support they can expect to receive. As a consequence, the strength of your onboarding program also impacts your retention rate and company culture.
If you’re looking to give work from home roles a permanent home at your business, here are 10 tips to help you create an onboarding and training program that new remote employees will value and appreciate.
1. Ship your remote employees all required equipment and supplies before their start dates.
Starting a new role is nerve-wracking. To be successful on their first day, remote employees need time to set up their equipment and ensure it is working properly.
The last thing you want to do is have your new hire begin their working experience with your company feeling stressed because their equipment didn’t arrive on time or because they only had a short time to set it up before they need to log in. Strong onboarding processes embrace proactivity. Ensure you give your new remote employees at least 2-3 days to get everything set up so that they can feel prepared and hit the ground running on Day 1.
2. Have your tech team set your new remote employee as a new user (and test their login credentials) before their start date.
It is important to ensure all the login credentials work for your new remote employees and that they will have access to all the necessary systems before their start date. This will eliminate time wasted on technology issues and eliminate some frustration once they start.
3. Don’t Forget Company Swag
Sending some fun items with the company logo to your new hire helps them feel welcome and shows them you’re excited to have them on the team. Items like company shirts, water bottles, hats, pens, etc. all help new employees feel connected to the brand and help build team cohesion.
Additionally, this small gesture speaks volumes about your company culture to your remote team and reaffirms that they made the right choice in accepting your job offer.
4. Make Your New Hire Paperwork Paperless
Spending hours on new hire paperwork is tedious, monotonous, and not an effective use of your new employee’s first day. If you can go paperless, use an e-doc program to send new hire paperwork to your employee early, and allow them to complete the documents at their leisure before Day 1.
This helps with engagement and allows more time for actual training to take place on their first day.
5. Provide a training manual and outline with a timeframe of what to expect during the onboarding process
Structure is critical to success in the remote workplace. Provide a detailed outline of what onboarding and training will look like so that your new employee can start organizing their time effectively.
Onboarding agendas also help new employees feel comfortable because they can see what items have been completed and what is left to cover in their onboarding and training process.
Onboarding is a complex process; new employees have to cover a lot of information in a short amount of time, and that can be overwhelming at first. Providing a training manual to new employees will serve not only as a resource during onboarding, but a reference document they can look back on between training sessions and once onboarding is complete.
6. Set clear expectations for performance
In order to be successful, new employees need to clearly understand the expectations for the role, and how their performance will be measured.
Setting these expectations from the start will allow the newest member of your remote team to understand clearly what is expected of them.
During onboarding, leave space for your new hire to ask questions during training and gain valuable insights on how to achieve these goals.
7. Schedule a virtual team meet-and-greet
One of the downsides to working remotely is you miss out on some of the benefits(remote working for you OR remote v hybrid v in-person) that are inherent to in-person interaction within your team. As an employer, your remote onboarding process must include time dedicated to a team meet-and-greet so that your new hire can put a face to names and voices.
A 10-to-15-minute team meeting via video call starts the process of building comradery and allows the team to start building a rapport with their newest team member.
8. Bake In Peer-to-Peer Time
Every employee approach tasks differently; for your new remote employee, it can be beneficial to have them spend time with different team members during training to learn tips and trick from everyone.
Exposure to how different team members approach the same task will let your new employee pick up bits and pieces from everyone on the team and determine what works best for them. Additionally, this strategy to onboarding bakes in one-on-one time with their colleagues, allowing your new hire to build their working relationships.
9. Check-in before, during, and after training
Communication is vital to the success of an organization. It is essential that your new remote team member feels comfortable coming forward with questions, comments, and concerns.
The only way this comfort level will be achieved is inside a company culture that embraces transparency and feedback.
No remote employee wants to feel like they are alone on “Isolation Island” (Amanda) and like their employer embodies a “sink or swim” approach to professional support and development.
Remember when it comes to company culture and feeling supported, silence speaks volumes –and not to your team’s benefit. To avoid this, establish regular check-ins with your new remote employee to make sure things are going well and that you’re both on the same page with their onboarding progress. During these meetings, be sure to address their concerns to show them that your business is invested and that they will be supported in their new remote role.
10. Don’t Forget About Feedback
There is no better person to help you enhance your onboarding and training processes quite like the remote employee who just completed your program. Set some time to collect feedback and be open-minded about the feedback you receive. Ask your remote employees questions about what they liked, disliked, and how they feel the overall process could be improved.
Applying remote employee feedback to your current process allows you to continue to tweak your processes and build stronger onboarding and training processes, which will aid in the overall success of your organization.
Building a Remote Onboarding Foundation
An effective remote onboarding and training program is essential to the success of your employees and, by extension, your business. It is important to make your new employees feel welcomed, supported, and set up for success on Day 1. While there is no one way to build a strong remote onboarding program, these 10 tips can serve as a jumping-off point to help you build a foundation and make your remote onboarding and training program an effective process for today’s remote employees.