The first day at a new job is always a nerve-wracking experience for a new starter. They probably didn’t sleep well, worrying about what the job will be like. There’s a hundred people to meet, a hundred names to remember. Then, they have to start learning the new systems. No need to panic, though. You’ll be right there if you need them, won’t you?

Well, perhaps not anymore. Nowadays, your new starter might have to go through the whole experience via a video call. And if they need help? Well, they can always send an email. Someone will get back to them. Eventually. 

Remote onboarding can be challenging, especially for your new starter. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, we will look at some ways you can ensure you conduct the perfect, streamlined remote employee onboarding process. 

What is Remote Onboarding?

Remote onboarding is the process of integrating new remote employees into your organization. In principle, it’s no different from the usual method of welcoming and training new starters, except you do everything online, from remote interviews to video call training sessions. In practice, however, there are more than a few challenges involved. 

Why is a Remote Employee Onboarding Process so Important?

Finding the right people to join your team takes tremendous effort. You’ve placed ads on multiple platforms and received a mountain of CVs. Even with tools like ATS recruiting software, it’s taken you forever to sift through them. Then, it’s endless rounds of interviews to find one candidate. The last thing you want to do is lose them. 

Yet, that’s precisely what happens. A 2022 report shows 30% of employees quit within 90 days. Why are so many people leaving? If you haven’t gone through the process, you might not understand how isolating a new can be for your new remote employee. 

That’s why having a streamlined, effective onboarding process for remote employees is critical. Given the effort you have both had to put in to get them started with you, it’s makes sense to ensure new employees feel cared for and know where to find the help they need. 

They desperately want to make a good impression, but there are a million things they still need to learn. Should they hassle people to find out what they need to know, or should they figure it out themselves? Where do they go to find out information? Too often, new remote employees are left isolated and floundering.

It’s not just new employees who benefit from streamlined onboarding, though. When they win, you win. With the proper process in place, new starters will not only learn faster, making them more productive and quicker, but you’ll also make your and your existing team’s lives easier, as you’ll face fewer disruptions. 

Ten Tips for the Perfect, Streamlined Remote Onboarding Strategy

The digital onboarding process is about more than just welcoming new staff to your company; it’s about training and nurturing new staff through the tricky first few weeks. However, there’s no denying that the first `day is when you set the tone for your employees and introduce them to your team and your business.

Let’s start with five tips to help you make a great first impression and start your relationship on the right foot.  

The First Day

  1. Provide them with the resources they need — before they start. The best thing you can do to take the stress out of the first day is to get started early. One huge advantage you have in this regard is that you can start getting them set up before the big day. Ensure that anything they need to get started arrives with them well in advance. 

That way, they’ll have time to set up their new computer in their new ‘office’ and feel like they’re on top of things before they begin. If they need software installed, see if they mind letting IT do their thing (remotely, of course) a few days beforehand. Of course, this is especially important for core programs such as CRMs or call centre software, which is critical to their job. Ensure you have all the accounts they’ll need set up, and provide the login details, too.  

  1. Set clear expectations for the day. The first job of their first day is to let them know what to expect. Well, after a coffee and a quick chat. Provide a detailed schedule that includes a plan for the day and any orientation sessions, training, and meetups you have planned. Clear expectations help to manage the understandable first-day nerves.
  1. Create a welcoming environment. This can be tricky online, so planning ahead is even more critical. After you’ve told your new employee what to expect, invite their line manager onto the call so they can get introduced one-on-one. Then, once the new starters feel more settled, it’s time to introduce them to their new team.

Arrange a virtual team meet-and-greet so they can get to know everyone and build early connections. Keep this informal, with no work talk for the first hour. Get everyone else on your team to introduce themselves to the newbie. But please bear in mind that some people find being introduced to big groups a little overwhelming, so be wary of throwing them straight in the deep end.   

  1. Introduce them to your company’s culture: Every workplace has a different culture and values. Now is the time to show off yours. Once they’re introduced to everyone, let them know what you stand for and what motivates you all as a team. It will make people feel less isolated and more connected if they know you’re all working toward the same goal. 
  1. Offer support and encouragement: Make sure new hires know who to turn to with questions, whether it’s their manager, a mentor, or HR. Encourage an open line of communication and let them know it’s okay to seek help – no matter how small the problem. 

Not only will this stop them from feeling isolated and like they’re drowning when they inevitably come up against things they don’t know how to do, but it will also be better for you. Remote employees can often ‘waste’ a lot of time simply because they’re afraid to ask you something they think they should already know. 

If you and your team aren’t always available for new remote recruits, consider investing in something to fill the gap. Software such as conversational AI platforms can often be trained to help answer common queries, freeing up your time without grinding your new employees’ progress to a halt. 

The First Week:

The first day is a critical part of new recruits’ onboarding. However, it’s vital to remember new employees after the big day. Now is the time to ensure they’re getting up to speed with their position. 

  1. Outline roles and responsibilities: Provide precise and comprehensive information about your new employee’s duties. Hence, they understand what’s expected of them. Refrain from assuming that they should know what is appropriate, too. Many people come from very different backgrounds or companies with other approaches. 
  1. Let the training commence! Implement a structured training program that is informative and engaging. Mix it up so there is a combination of live sessions, recorded materials, and interactive methods, such as online quizzes. Try to get all of your team involved in the training to some extent, even if it’s just helping with basic orientation around the software you use. It’s a great way to encourage interaction between your new starter and your established team. Speaking of which…
  1. Encourage social interaction among your team: Promote social interaction through virtual coffee breaks, team lunches, or casual meetups, helping new hires build personal connections and integrate into the team culture. A top tip for all bosses is to allow employees time to socialize without you there, too. Interacting with colleagues on their level, without feeling like they’re being monitored, is crucial for all employees. 
  1. Establish communication channels: Ensure you set regular checking and feedback sessions from the start. Tools such as workforce optimization software and internal communication platforms can be a great way to aid this, so you can monitor their progression and help solve any problems they encounter. If regular meetings are part of your work culture, you can create a sense of connection and encourage open dialogue between the two of you right from the off. 
  1. Gather feedback and adjust, if necessary: At the end of the first week, get feedback on how your employee felt their onboarding process went. What worked? What didn’t? If you were halfway successful, your new employee would feel comfortable enough to give you valuable feedback, so next time, you can do even better. 

The start of something new

Onboarding new employees has always been a challenge. That’s doubly true when it comes to remote employees. However, with the right tools, planning, and a positive attitude, you can ensure that your new employees feel supported and appreciated. If you do it right, your remote employees will feel at home with you in no time.

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