74% of employees believe that flexible working is the new normal. 49% of employees wish working from home would be a permanent change post-pandemic. 90% of employees say more flexible arrangements would increase morale. Working in a different location than the company’s office and having the freedom to choose their own work environment has been an important factor for job- seekers especially during Covid-19.
As more companies allow employees to work remotely and others get rid of their in-person offices, creating a great remote onboarding experience for new employees becomes critical. According to BCG, onboarding is among the most influential factors when it comes to employee experience.
Here are nine tips to help HR professionals onboard employees remotely:
1. Mail a welcome kit for new employees before their first day
It is extremely important to make a new employee feel welcomed in your team, whether you do it by sending a handwritten note with a few snacks or have an honest conversation about how well they are adjusting to the company. Make them understand the company’s culture, your expectations from them and what other employees love about your company.
2. Get the paperwork and tech equipment ready
Given that every single full-time employee has to go through and sign a ton of documents, the more you can systemize these processes, the smoother the experience will be for you and them. Clarify the perks that they are entitled to before they sign the document to avoid misunderstandings later. Also, ensure the tech equipment is ready with the necessary software and communication tools.
3. Introduce them to the team
Every single person on the team plays a role in contributing to your company culture. This is why it’s so important to make time for your new employees to chat and get to know at least the people they will be working with on a regular basis. When you’re working in office, this tends to happen organically by going out for lunch or having a happy hour after work but it is essential to make a consistent effort when you are working remotely. Instead of ordering in lunch to the office, get it delivered to their house on a Friday and set up a Zoom call to help them bond with the team.
4. Set clear expectations about internal and external communication
Setting clear expectations about communication is especially important for remote teams that are spread all over the world. Without clear expectations in place, employees feel pressure to always be on and responsive, which can lead to less focused work time as well as burnout.
5. Make your new hire training interactive and engaging
When a new hire is in training, keep the Zoom call more of an interactive session instead of a training session. Don’t confuse interaction with asking them questions at the end of the call about what they understood, instead make it interactive by asking them for their feedback and what their last company followed.
6. Use technology to improve team communication, not replace it
Between Zoom, Slack, and a whole host of Slack plugins like HeyTaco, Geekbot, Donut, and Oskar, there have never been more communication and collaboration tools. However, it’s important that you use these tools to improve team collaboration, not as a replacement for effective communication.
7. Get feedback for your onboarding processes
With any new systems and processes you put into place, it’s important to review and improve them on a regular basis. Ask the new hires to review the onboarding process, whether they want to do it anonymously or not. Once you have an honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t, consider it for your next onboarding experience.
8. Give them a platform to explore, experiment and communicate honestly
If a new hire doesn’t feel safe communicating to you or keeps their feedback for company improvement to themselves, how is the company expected to perform better? Having a third person talk about their perspective of the company and what can be changed by exploring what will work, is a definite way of encouraging them to give their 100% from the first day. While you focus on making your conversation with them transparent and honest, they can focus on taking the company a notch higher because of the open culture they are being provided to work in.
9. Design a roadmap for success
Once the employee is onboard, discuss with them their goals for themselves and the company. Make a viable plan to meet those goals and objectives in a defined time frame. Understand their way of working, their pace and their strengths. They will value you and the company if it plays an important part in their personal and professional journey.
HR pros need to be intentional about how they onboard employees remotely. This is the first impression of an employee about the company and its operations. These nine tips will help you create a smooth remote onboarding experience.