The first day in a new job is always pretty exciting for new hires. And if it happens remotely, this is compounded by a sense of disorientation, as people start with a new employer without ever having met any of their new colleagues. What can you do to assist? You can impress your new employees with a clearly structured, well-organized remote onboarding process. Read our seven tips below to find out more.
Communication, Communication, Communication
Equipment Ready to Go
Remember Training Sessions
Personalized Onboarding Even From a Distance
Close Onboarding Buddy Support
Keep Engaging With Your New Hires
Motivate by Expressing Your Appreciation
1. Communication, Communication, Communication
For many, the current home office/self-isolation environment can be pretty tense. How will the crisis impact the new company’s profitability and the new job? Will the job even be there in the future? To help newcomers to a company deal with these anxieties, it is important that HR engages closely with new colleagues and communicates openly about the current situation.
Ideally, this will ensure that your new employees are reassured early on. For example, you or your CEO could send out an email or a video message to answer important questions and emphasize that the team looks forward to having the new hire.
For new colleagues, it makes a huge difference whether they are warmly welcomed even before they start or whether they are left in the dark until their first day.
2. Equipment Must Be Ready
Ideally, all software and tools (including VPN access) should already be installed on new employees’ laptops, because if they work from home they can’t simply drop by the internal IT department to get help.
Send out essential hardware such as laptops, mice, keyboards and headsets (important for online meetings) by mail or courier. Be careful to dispatch these parcels early, as deliveries, especially by mail, are currently often delayed due to the crisis.
Remote Onboarding Checklist
Use our checklist to make sure that no onboarding tasks get forgotten, even when people work remotely.
3. Remember Training Sessions
Not everybody is used to working remotely. It’s therefore a good idea to ask your new employees how comfortable they are with meeting and chat tools such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, Slack, etc. – before their first day.
Organize training sessions with all new employees before they start to ensure that they are able to attend all online induction events, or create guidelines to explain the most important functions in the various tools you use.
4. Personalized Onboarding Even From a Distance
Communication is not only essential for addressing anxieties before new employees start. You as well as new employees’ managers and colleagues should all seek to engage with new colleagues as often as possible after they have started. Just imagine – while new hires would normally be welcomed with a friendly smile from their colleagues, all they get now is the screen of a laptop.
Set up virtual coffee breaks, lunches or after-work drinks to promote communication within teams. You can either arrange these meetings yourself, ask teams to do so or even have new employees organize meet-and-greet sessions themselves, provided that they already know their most important contacts.
Tools such as Wellbeing Warrior can help you support contacts between departments, as they match colleagues randomly for virtual coffee breaks or shared lunches.
5. Close Onboarding Buddy Support
Whether remotely or face-to-face: Personio has an established onboarding buddy program to support new hires as they settle in. New colleagues are teamed up with an existing employee as their “buddy,” who provides them with advice, practical help and any superpowers they have to offer.
A personal buddy is even more valuable when new employees have to deal with remote setups. Buddies are more than an immediate practical and emotional support person during the early days, but they also introduce new hires to other teams and the company’s broader culture – something that’s much more difficult when working remotely. That’s where buddies from the same level of hierarchy come in, as they are in the best position to explain what the company stands for, what it’s about and what it’s like to work there.
6. Keep Engaging With Your New Hires
As you can already see, communication is somewhat of a central theme in remote onboarding. Despite physical distance, there is still a lot happening in the first few days, and new employees have to process a lot of new impressions. Help them by always being available to answer questions and responding quickly.
For example, you can set up meetings for quick updates. These may be as short as 15 minutes every other day, but these 15 minutes allow you to clarify any unanswered questions and concerns. To new employees, such an approach communicates how much they are appreciated, which in turn leaves a decisive positive impression during the onboarding process.
7. Motivate by Expressing Your Appreciation
Another challenge of remote onboarding is how to motivate new employees. When you work in an office, you are inspired by your colleagues and other new hires, but there are no casual encounters between people working remotely.
Help address this problem by showing new employees your appreciation throughout the remote onboarding process. Send them a goodie bag with corporate merchandise before they start, for example, or make sure you check in regularly with them. Team chats and a clearly structured onboarding process are also helpful.
Ensure that new employees feel positive, and show them that they are on your mind. This promotes enthusiasm among new hires and inspires them to give their best right from the start.
For some companies, remote or home office work will only be temporary, but experts are expecting that remote setups will become more of the norm in the future, if only because they allow companies to save costs. Prepare for these changes by setting up your processes – including onboarding – for remote work.
Clearly Structured Remote Onboarding
Automatically assign employees to-dos, send out automated emails and make important documents available for download – all digitally and from a central space: Personio.