One of the biggest lessons from 2020 was that many jobs can be done remotely. And, according to a survey on remote work by PwC, there is a positive shift in how employers view the trend. In fact, 83% report that the shift has been a successful one, while 71% of employees surveyed consider it a boon for their company. Although it’s unlikely that offices will remain empty forever, one can expect that there will be more flexibility to work from home moving forward.
This trend puts more pressure on recruitment teams to implement an onboarding process specific to their remote hires. They have different needs to support that will allow them to thrive and fit in well with the company. For some guidance, here are five tips on how you can onboard remote employees successfully.
Host One-on-One Virtual Orientations
Video conference calls can get messy and confusing with a lot of participants. Virtual orientations for remote hires must be done on a one-on-one basis instead of as a batch. This way, the new employee is given their own time and space to ask questions, get clarification on anything they are unsure of, and layout their expectations. For your part, make it clear what’s expected of them in terms of their work output, goals, schedule and availability, and how they should be collaborating with other employees. Giving them the one-on-one treatment is also important in letting them know that they are a valuable part of the team.
Write Out Personalized and Detailed Checklists
After each orientation, each remote hire should also be given a guide to their specific tasks because not everyone will pick up information during orientation. It might also be challenging to get guidance without the luxury of an office, and even time-consuming to wait for replies.This personalized and detailed checklist can be something for them to lean on if they become unsure of how to move forward.
Set Up a Mentorship or Job Shadow Program
The HR department should also consider setting up a mentorship or job shadow program for new hires. HR managers, many of whom have a background in business administration, are specifically trained in recruitment and hiring processes. Part of their job is to fill the communication gaps in the workforce and set up their employees for success — this is where the mentorship or job shadow program can fit in. During the onboarding process, pair remote hires with an employee who already knows the ins and outs of the business’s remote operations. It can be the leader of their team, or someone from HR who handles training new hires. The goal here is to support the new recruits until they are confident enough to work with more independence. That said, providing your remote workers with a strong support system shouldn’t end with the onboarding process!
Provide Remote Work Essentials
As mentioned, remote teams have different needs.To set yours up for success, you need to provide them with the right tools. People operations manager Analisse Dunne highlights that, although there are no mandates to supply remote workers with tools, doing so can “improve company culture and further motivate workers”. She suggests giving stipends or loaning equipment that can support their out-of-office needs. If it’s within your budget, pay for high-speed internet, computers, and even ergonomic furniture and accessories that can be part of the onboarding package.Something affordable, such as a lumbar support, can go a long way towards showing employees you care about their welfare. These resources also ensure that they can function as effectively at home as they would in business offices.
Make New Remote Employees Feel Welcome
After all the formalities of orientation and employee trainings, the onboarding process should also entail a welcome party, albeit virtually. This is an opportunity to set the tone of the company culture and for them to get to know the people they’ll be working with. Make your employees feel welcome by hosting virtual team-building activities, which can even be personalized for your company. One idea is to have a game night with browser-based games you can stream, or host a trivia night. They can be very effective ways to break the ice and integrate the new employees with fun and memorable activities.
It might take time for remote employees to feel confident in their job and fit in with the team. Recruiters, HR professionals, or team leaders should put a conscious effort into reaching out to new employees. Have an ‘open door’ policy in your remote setup or, better yet, initiate check-ins to gauge how they’re functioning at work. Onboarding an employee should not end at the orientation. And with remote hires, it’s even more crucial to integrate them thoroughly and keep them engaged with these efforts moving forward.