All Onboard! Three Top Employee Remote Onboarding Practices

How can your organization make the onboarding process as seamless and natural as possible from afar? 

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How can your organization make the onboarding process as seamless and natural as possible from afar? 

Think back to your first day in your current job. You probably came into the office, got to meet your team and maybe, if you were lucky, a firstday lunch out with your colleagues to help acclimate yourself to the team culture. With a move to a remote work environment, new employees are meeting coworkers via webcam, getting their company cell phone and IT equipment sent via certified mail, transitioning the kitchen table to become their new workspaceand more often than not having never stepped foot in their new office.   

While sticking to a remote workplace for now is seen as a practical and safe way for your organization to proceedit can be a challenging experience for a new employee. How can your organization make the onboarding process as seamless and natural as possible from afar? 

Three Best Practices for Virtual Onboarding  

1. Have a Plan in Place

With a virtual onboarding process, some organizations tend to keep their programs simple and to the basics. However, your virtual onboarding needs to be as extensive (if not more) than what the in-person experience would be like. Make sure you provide your new hires with a detailed plan covering all aspects of both the selection and onboarding process, including milestones to help them measure how they are progressing through their onboardingThis will also be key to managing expectations of both the new hire and the hiring companyCreating an onboarding flow chart to coincide with some of these milestones being completed remotely or virtually is a great way to help manage expectations. It is important to make sure that you create a blueprint for when the new tasks will need to be completed and who is responsible for these items 

2. Communication is Key

Communication is vital to success in the workplace, but especially important when an employee is starting the job remotely. Checking in regularly with the new team member demonstrates a desire to get to know them better and make them feel more comfortable in the role. In the absence of more traditional onboarding activities like a coffee run or lunch break with coworkers it is easy for a new hire to feel a sense of isolation. By reaching out to the new hire on a consistent basis you can help them feel more connected to the team and also check in on their progress as they continue to onboard with the company. Asking questions like: What is your preferred method of communication, or how can we make sure you feel most comfortable getting up to speed, can go a long way towards showing your employee they are a valued member of the team. We are seeing a lot of our clients welcome the new team member(s) on virtual staff meetings, and even larger corporate virtual town hall meetings to name a few examples. Building out a bio for new hires to be distributed to the company as a whole can help everyone get acclimated to one another 

3. Make the Most of Your Technology

With most of us having worked from home for a few months now, we’re all getting more comfortable with tools like Zoom, Teams and Skype. Take advantage of these tools in your onboarding process to help your new hires feel more at ease. Sharing your computer screen through the programs mentioned above can help a new hire feel more at ease with some of the aspects of the job that need to be walked through to better understand them. For instance, in a professional services setting, knowing how to log and track your time is key to the business’ success. Trying to teach a new hire these steps through a phone call or written instructions can be a challenge, but taking the time to share your screen and walk them through the process can help the employee fully understand how to complete this task. Video conferencing has also become a norm of today’s work experienceand implementing it into your onboarding is key. A lot of organizations tend to assign a new hire a buddy or mentor to help get them situated and answer questions they might prefer to ask a coworker at their level compared to a manager. Make sure these meetings are still happening and that they occur over video conferencing. Getting to see another face during these remote work times will help a new hire feel more comfortable and have a trustworthy colleague they can connect with. A very important step that is often done in person, but can fall by the wayside in a remote environment, is weekly or biweekly new hire/manager checkins. It is vital for managers to make the time to conduct these checkins, as it will build camaraderie and help ensure the new hire has a positive transition into your organization.

Just because your new hires aren’t coming to the office for their first days on the job, doesn’t mean you can take a step back from the onboarding process. By focusing on communication, planning and your technologies, your new employees will feel right at home as they orient to their role and the company.  


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