Onboarding is one of the most essential processes when it comes to employee experience and retention. This helps an employee integrate into the workforce and the company’s culture. The outbreak of COVID made many enterprises switch to the work from home model. Onboarding remotely working employees and training them can be tricky.
Any onboarding process is designed to ensure a great employee experience. Remote employees may be at an even greater risk of getting lost in the steps outlined by the procedure. It's important to consider remote employee's needs during their first month and address them so they feel welcomed and empowered.
In the United States, the average annual salary is approximately $ 47,000, one disengaged employee at this salary level can cost companies around $16,000 per year*.
Here are some tips for building an effective remote employee onboarding process to make new employees feel welcome, keep them engaged, make them understand the company and the business better, in order to acclimate them to the job.
1. Welcome remote employees
First of all, establish a connection with the new employee as remote working tends to isolate them from the rest of the workforce. It is essential to have an interactive meeting where all the co-workers introduce themselves to the new employee.
Introducing them to their co-workers will help remote employees integrate into the office space better. This will help establish relations and make your new hire feel less isolated. Plan events that incorporate training, internal networking, and teambuilding.
Host a welcome lunch, happy hour, or team event for new employees. Icebreakers such as sharing team inside jokes or employees' favorite part of the culture give new hires an inside look at their new team.
Moreover, you can assign each hire a "buddy", a peer who can fill in the blanks and answer questions they are uncomfortable asking you. 87% of companies say that assigning a buddy to new employees during the remote onboarding process can increase their efficiency.
Having an established employee as a point of contact and guide for the first month or two is a great way to introduce new employees to the organization’s culture.
2. Assign the new hire a mentor
Remote onboarding and training can be incredibly frustrating for new employees, especially those who learn best through one-on-one interactions and hands-on experience. To make it easier and less stressful for them, designate a go-to veteran team member for every new hire. This person will be their go-to person if they have doubts about different workflows and processes.
Assign mentors to help new hires navigate the culture by guiding and coaching them through their responsibilities. New hires require a welcoming face to whom they can turn for information and direction about the company. It creates a dedicated safe environment for new hires to discuss questions they are hesitant to ask in a group setting.
Much like with in-office onboarding, you’ll want to assign a mentor for the person to speak to. This will not only help them comfortably speak to someone about things they’re trying to get the hang of but will make them feel more comfortable, speeding up the remote onboarding process.
3. Encourage frequent communication
Communication is a crucial key to successful onboarding. It helps new employees feel welcome and comfortable within the company. New employees tend to be reserved and may feel difficulty asking questions or reaching out.
If their peers are approachable and entertain their queries, they will feel more comfortable and less reserved. Checking with them constantly will give them a sense of belonging in the company even if they are just new.
Improved employee performance requires clear and effective communication. Providing negative feedback can be difficult and uncomfortable for both management and employees, but it's critical to create a culture of openness and direct communication. Expecting employees to change and improve without solid feedback and specific action points to focus on is unrealistic.
Members of the team should also be encouraged to share their thoughts on their work, deadlines, expectations, and available resources. A culture that encourages open communication and the exchange of ideas may boost your team's vitality, help you develop innovation, and boost everyone's performance.
4. Peak beyond the cubicle
The first week of the job is the most suitable time to build acquaintance with distant colleagues. Schedule 'meet & greets' with teams across the company. Make new remote working employees meet leaders and top performers. They can share tips on how to succeed at the job.
The new recruits should also be regularly be checked in with to find out how they feel about the new position and if they have sufficient resources to get their jobs done.
When employees are nervous, it's much harder to take in new information. Don’t withdraw support after the first week. Create goals and set milestones that can help measure their progress and growth. Employees with proper support during the onboarding process are more productive as a result.
Remove the guesswork and establish a 30/60/90 day plan with your new hire so they know exactly what milestones they should be hitting and when. Schedule their first week and add meetings to their calendar in advance, so they know what to expect when they log in.
5. Map and analyze the Employee Journey
Unwilling labor never yields productivity. Therefore, make sure that your employee understands the company's goals and stays excited to play their part in achieving them.
It is imperative that new remote hires have all the necessary accesses and information beforehand, as well as clearly defined responsibilities and expectations so they know what to do and what's expected of them.
The employee lifecycle essentially summarizes the complete employee experience as it is the collection of encounters that your remote employee has with their coworkers, and managers, from the moment they apply to the company to the day they exit.
By mapping and analyzing phases of the employee’s relationship with your organization, you will gain a high-level view of the different phases an employee is going through in your company. From there, you can start to focus on the stages that are lacking and need adjustment.
6. Give them the freedom they need
Do pre-boarding remotely so that all HR paperwork and processes are completed. This means that your recruit can hit the ground running without being overly involved in signing new documents and handling their payroll.
What is especially important in onboarding remote employees is giving new hires enough time to complete all onboarding tasks. It's essential to remember that everyone has a different work routine and giving them the freedom and time to complete their onboarding tasks at their convenience will make the onboarding process feel hassle-free.
Ensure that all your material is consistent. New remote starters need to know that they are not accessing information about out-of-date or unused processes. All processes, protocols, and guidelines must be up to date and searchable, and your intranet should be a platform that acts as the single source of truth and regular company updates.
7. Help them understand the Company Culture
Introducing a new employee and throwing them into the deep end of a team is not good for employee productivity. Being hired in a new company is like being introduced as the new kid in a class- it feels awkward and lonely.
New employees need to ensure that they never lose momentum by staying in constant contact so they can adjust to the company culture and have the best understanding of what they're expected to do from day one.
Help your employees understand the company’s culture and why it is valued by the existing employees. Show them the ropes! It's important to get them up to speed on company values, norms, and how to act in different settings. This will help new employees adjust their work habits and schedule, and fit in.
Related Read: Remote Employee Onboarding Best Practices
Pro tip: Pick the right tool for the job
Training a remote employee is tough when compared to doing it with in-office staff. Companies need to understand that engagement solves a slew of remote working-related issues. Any onboarding process can be made easier, and more motivating for the new entrants, if you have good engagement and feedback systems in place.
When training your recruits, use all the digital workplace features available. While you might not be next to the trainee, it’s possible to convey information through screen sharing and video presentations. Use chat functionality to be in constant contact so they know that their work and progress are being monitored in the early days.
Innovation in technology allows employees to work from anywhere in the world. But choosing the right onboarding & training tool, learning management systems, and change management software can be a challenging task.
A Digital Adoption Platform like Apty is your one versatile solution that ensures effective remote employee onboarding and training, seamless change management, employee engagement, and productivity.
Apty helps enterprises make the most out of the software investments made and guarantees faster RoI. With Apty, leaders can find the exact pain points faced by remote working employees, address them with in-app personalized walkthroughs, and ensure a seamless employee experience.