The whole purpose of an onboarding process is to help new hires familiarise themselves with the social and professional expectations of their new working environment. But how do you continue to achieve this during the current period of large-scale remote working?
Here are some practical tips for onboarding employees remotely and advice on integrating them into the company culture, especially at a time when maintaining a team working ethos is more important than ever.
Ensure you have robust supply chains for ordering any additional, essential equipment like laptops, mobiles, and monitors well ahead of the employee’s start date. If the equipment is being delivered to you ahead of the employee, make sure this is set up with all the necessary applications and that you formalise a process of getting this equipment to them. This could be handed to them via a brief exchange at the office location or through a secure delivery service. If the equipment is to be delivered directly to the employee, create step-by-step instructions for downloading and installing the necessary applications. Make sure the IT team are on hand to answer any questions the new recruit might have around equipment set up, and to ensure that any user permissions or admin rights are set up in compliance with policy and security standards.
Having online collaboration technology like Microsoft Teams, Webex or Zoom will allow employees to work remotely whilst still being able to communicate and collaborate on projects. For more information on considerations for remote working read Jumar Technology’s Remote Working Blog.
Use these technologies to hold the same induction meetings you would have otherwise held in the office (HR, IT, finance, line management, roles and responsibilities). Where possible, these should be face-to-face video calls to give the new employee an opportunity to ‘meet’ key team members.
Screen sharing can be used to ensure the new recruit knows how to use the technology and communication tools correctly, whilst online form providers like Microsoft Forms can be used as a digital alternative for HR paperwork, for example diversity and equal opportunities forms.
Where training is required, make these sessions interactive to keep engagement high throughout the session. Schedule follow-ups after training sessions to answer any questions that may have arisen once the training has been put into practice. Ensure all training materials are available digitally and are easily accessible after the training. Online repositories like internal SharePoint sites and Intranets are key resources at times like this, and should be kept up-to-date and refreshed to increase employee engagement, especially staff being onboarded.
Prompt line managers to set specific tasks, goals and expectations for the first week to ensure the new employee can be productive from day one. Develop a task calendar and set up daily or weekly check-ins to discuss progress, resolve any issues and discuss upcoming projects.
Set up online introductory meetings with team members and other key employees (either one-to-one or group video calls) so the new team member can understand the roles and responsibilities of the rest of the team and other members of the business that they will work closely with.
Assign the new recruit a dedicated mentor, someone who can be there to answer questions, act as a sounding board or point them in the direction of the most appropriate person to answer any queries they may have. It is important to foster a culture of ‘belonging’, and the more personal interaction that new recruits have, the more they feel part of the team.
As with any remote working strategy, the key to success is communication.
Remain in regular contact (formal and informal) with the new employee before they start to ensure they are aware and comfortable with what will be happening and when, and are reassured that the onboarding process will be smooth. Once in the role, regular communication will be vital to ensure the new team member becomes embedded in the team and embraces the company culture.
At Jumar, we have significant experience and expertise in remote working as well as onboarding new recruits remotely. If you would like to discuss either of these topics in more detail, please get in touch.