With more businesses hiring remote employees, likely including yours, it is critical to have an onboarding plan that works for employees who won’t be coming into the office, bringing them up to speed and making them feel welcome without the benefit of colleagues’ physical presence and a dedicated office space.
These are the five most important aspects of onboarding, according to Deosingh:
Give an orientation. It might be remote, but a broad overview of the company is important for any new hire to hear.
Explain your company’s core values and expectations. This is always important as you embark on a journey with a new hire. The sooner you set expectations, the better off your company and the employee will be.
Go over job responsibilities. You have likely covered a lot of this during the interview process, but it is helpful to go into more detail now that they have the job.
Give a starting project. Many new hires are eager to get started. Instead of just having them sit through orientations and company overviews at the beginning, give them something to sink their teeth into right away.
Assign a mentor. A mentor in a similar position to the new employee’s role gives them someone to answer their questions and steer them in the right direction.
Roberts said her company’s onboarding process starts with a welcome package (offer letter, new-hire paperwork, benefits information and employee handbook) and carries through orientation and training to the employee’s first day performing their new duties.
“It should include introductions to key staff members, employer resources, office tours, etc., [anything] that will help a new hire assimilate to their new role as a member of your team,” she said.
According to Schwartz, onboarding should also consist of any necessary personal data encoding, explanation of your company’s mission and vision, training on your standard operating procedures, and issuance of supplies and uniforms if there are any.
“Onboarding is about first impressions and engaging the new hire in their commitment to work with your firm,” Handrick said. “It’s much more than paperwork.” She added that you should map out, in a checklist format, every task and activity necessary to help the new hire feel welcome, be productive and want to stay.
Handrick also noted that, while first-week activities tend to focus on paperwork, the real value of onboarding is what happens in the first 30-90 days and its effects going forward.
Key takeaway: The hiring process doesn’t stop once an offer has been accepted. You need to spend time properly onboarding and training new employees to help them hit the ground running.
Hiring remote employees, Tatyana Tyagun, HR generalist at Chanty, said you should pay special attention to two specific areas when hiring a remote employee.
“First, the recruitment stage, because you need to find someone who actually does what they claim,” Tyagun said. “Second, onboarding should be even more detailed, because you can easily lose new remote hires if the onboarding is not done right.”
Deosingh said hiring and onboarding is in a much different place now from several months ago. The majority of onboarding is happening remotely.
“While the core principles of onboarding remain the same, there are differences,” said Deosingh. “They cannot see your physical space. Much of the onboarding process includes the opportunity to see the space and get acclimated to the physical location.”
These are some ways you can adapt the process for remote hires:
Set the employee up before their first day. When looking at technology specifically, make sure their employee credentials and logins are all set and they have all the equipment they need prior to day one.
Give them an enthusiastic welcome. This might sound basic, but it can go a long way. Set up a video introduction with the new hire’s team so they feel welcome. Remember, they are entering your organization at a much different point from where others have started in the past. Make them feel welcome even if you can’t be in the same physical location.
Be available. It’s easy to say you’re available while overlooking it in practice. Your new hire will undoubtedly have questions, and instead of walking to your office or asking their teammates, they have to feel comfortable reaching out to your over remote communication channels. Overcommunicating information and making yourself available and open to questions is crucial in a world of remote onboarding.
Deosingh also noted that all materials will be online, so it’s important to have a thorough and clear online guide, since the new employee will not have handouts or physical paperwork with them.