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06.07.2020 Employers, In the News, Marketing & Business Development

How To Onboard Employees Remotely During Covid-19 Lockdown

The hiring process is done. You have officially welcomed your new remote employee to your team. But the hard work is just beginning.  

Integrating a remote worker into the culture, team and working environment of your business without being able to meet with them face to face can be tricky. But, with proper planning and a clear strategy in place, remote onboarding needn’t be complex.

And we’ve made it easier for you.

Here’s a checklist for onboarding remote workers to get new hires up to speed with their roles, your business and key policies.

Tech and Docs

Be sure to order any computers or software remote workers will need well ahead of their start date and confirm they have received all necessary equipment. Once they’ve got everything, get your IT department to assist them with the setup before they start.

If you aren’t providing them with equipment then make sure you check that they have everything they may need.

It is also good practice to ensure that your new starter – remote or otherwise has all the documentation they need prior to starting. Running a robust pre-boarding program should mean that they’ve already filled out their new starter form, payroll information and signed their contract before they even start.

Training and Development

Depending on the role, you need to think about how you will train them remotely. There are loads of different options here, so just find what works for you, whether it’s:

  • Pre-recorded demos
  • Share screen on video-conferencing calls
  • Third party training via on-demand platforms

It is important to not only train them on the hard skills they will need for the role but also ensure they understand how to use your communication tools.

Let them know the best ways to contact team members and inform them of video software or tools your team are using. If you are providing the new employee with a laptop or PC, then an extra tip here would be to put any video software your team uses on the laptop before they receive it, so if you use Zoom for your weekly team meeting, then be sure to download the app beforehand.

Introductions and Team Immersion

Working from home can be a challenge for those accustomed to a traditional shared workspace, so be sure to go out of your way to make sure virtual hires feel comfortable. The more they feel a connection to your company, the more motivated they will be to make a positive impression.

Just because there is no physical desk for colleagues to pop over to for a quick hello, doesn’t mean they can’t introduce themselves. Set up a virtual meeting to help the new starter integrate into the team.

Consider a virtual drink on a Friday afternoon, weekly quiz, Zoom-friendly activities (see here for our favourites!) or even provide them with a mentor to help integrate them in a less formal way.

These meetings could be one-to-one and/or group calls, just be sure they meet with;

  • Coworkers
  • Managers/direct reports
  • Employees from other departments that they may work closely with
  • Clients and customers they’ll be interacting with

It is also good practice to put together a company ‘Playbook’ that details all of the above and acts as a ‘How To’ to work within the business. This should include pages dedicated to team faces, names and contact details and a page notifying them of important dates, events and activities the team get together for.

Company Culture

Get them up to speed with your culture, just because they aren’t in the office doesn’t mean they are any less a part of your culture. So, to help them get to grips, be sure to share things like:

  • Your digital employee handbook/Playbook
  • Run a values refresh session – Invite everyone with your new starter and talk about how the values guide and help build the company and it’s people
  • Give them a stake in the culture – Invite them to participate in the organization of team events.
  • Conduct weekly all-hands meetings, where everyone in the team is invited to attend and participate. A great idea is to ask a different person each week to speak for 5 minutes about something they are passionate about. It’s an opportunity to learn new things and to get to know each other on a deeper level. We do this at 3Search every Friday with a weekly Quiz.

Goal Setting

Both short and long-term goals should be defined from the start, anything from meeting each of the team members (virtually) to completing all of their training tasks. They need a clear focus at the start while they are learning about the company and your way of doing things.

Keep them engaged by scheduling weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects, progress and to resolve any issues. You want to make sure they feel just as much a part of the team as any employee who would join your physical office.

Ask For Feedback

Working from home is going to be here to stay for the foreseeable future, so it's likely remote onboarding will become your norm. To ensure you’re continually improving, run 30, 60 and 90 day feedback surveys for new starters to give their honest and anonymous feedback on how the experience has been.

Use the data to tweak, amend and further invest in areas that need work and others that you’re doing great at. Employees are not fully bought into a company in the first 6 months so these milestones are critical to onboarding effectively and ensuring retention in the long term.  

Whether you’re planning on returning to the office or staying fully remote, flexibility in how we run as businesses is critical to operations and growth.

Using our tried and tested remote onboarding checklist, you’ll be able to run the onboarding process without a glitch!

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