For many companies, it’s a brand-new challenge: how do you onboard remote employees virtually?
There are many challenges with hiring virtually, chief among them – starting out on the right foot.
Here are 10 must-do's when onboarding remote employees in order to make a new hire feel welcome, prepared and have a great start to their employee experience.
Use a Checklist
- A new hire checklist will help ensure you don’t miss any critical steps in the onboarding process.
- This is key for remote onboarding, since there are new or updated steps to the process since moving from a physical office set-up (i.e. shipping a laptop).
- A spreadsheet with the task name, assignee, and due date can be a helpful starting point.
Send a Warm Welcome
- A warm welcome can reinforce a new employee’s decision to accept your offer and set the tone for employee engagement.
- 11% of people have changed their minds on an offer after signing. To aid with avoiding drop off before week 1, make them feel part of the team right away.
- Let them know how excited you are to have them join the company, and encourage other employees to reach out via Slack, Zoom, email, or LinkedIn.
Set Them Up with the Right Equipment
- Make sure to ship laptops and any IT equipment with enough time for the new employee to set up their home office and become comfortable with the equipment.
- Companies may also choose to provide employees with an ongoing stipend to use toward electricity, internet, phone, and supplies.
- Make sure they have a strong internet connection. If their WiFi signal is spotty, suggest hard wiring the internet connection using an extended Ethernet cable. These are inexpensive but can be helpful to provide.
Match Them With a Buddy
- Establishing a virtual buddy program is a great way to help new employees acclimate to a new organization.
- Buddies can help new hires learn things like who to ask for IT support, and how other employees use tools such as Slack and Teams to communicate.
Create a Memorable First Day
- An employee’s first day is crucial to long-term employee engagement and retention.
- For remote onboarding, consider kicking off the day with a virtual coffee meeting.
- Encourage your new employee’s manager—and perhaps their entire team—to grab a cup of coffee and meet via Zoom.
Share Your Remote Work Policy
- Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of employers have remote workers, yet only 43 percent have remote work policies.
- If your company doesn’t already have them, it’s time to write them up. The remote work policy might include things such as the hours you expect employees to be available, and how remote workers can use their stipend.
- A written policy will help to avoid gray areas and contribute to a healthier work/ life balance when the work from home expectations are clearly outlined.
Change Up Tasks to Avoid Repetition
- As the schedule for a new hire is mapped out, put yourself in their shoes for what their actual experience will be like.
- 8 hours of Zoom training can be exhausting, therefore it's important to provide some variety in the onboarding activities.
- In addition to required training, be sure to include blocks of "free" time for new employees to read up on materials, or familiarize themselves with different tools and resources that will supplement their training.
Introduce New Hires to Other Departments
- Allow new hires to gain exposure to every department and help them set up 1:1 introduction meetings so they have the chance to speak with key company stakeholders about what they do at the company.
- This will give them some perspective about their role fits into the big picture.
- These introductions will also allow them to feel more comfortable and connected to the company—something more important than ever in a remote work environment.
Gather Employee Feedback
- New hire surveys or check-ins help companies learn what they’ve done well in the early employee experience, and where they could improve.
- This can provide useful feedback to fine-tune your onboarding experience and keeps an open conversation between you and the new hire.
Make Expectations Clear
- When onboarding a new hire virtually, there are a lot of physical cues and nonverbal communication that gets lost.
- It’s especially important to clearly articulate the expectations and goals before the new hire has to ask. Make sure they are prepared and informed and let them know that you're available to help fill any gaps.
Talent Retriever has been hiring and managing remote teams for over 15 years – if you have any questions about the process as you navigate through it, we are a resource that is here for you.