Updated November 2021.
Flexible and remote working have become far more common in the workplace. Businesses are now able to reach a wider talent pool by recruiting staff who can work from another location. This means that companies are now employing and onboarding new staff without ever meeting them in person.
An effective onboarding process will help your new hires better understand their role, increase their productivity and performance, all of which will result in their increased engagement. Businesses need to ensure that employees feel valued, have a clear understanding of the working practices (which may be different while being remote than in the office), how their role contributes to the overall success of your business, and what the expectations of them are from the leadership of the business.
If you are in the position of employing and onboarding staff remotely, here are our five top tips for a production and engaging employee experience:
Share as much relevant information as possible before the new hire starts. We encourage sharing of “non-confidential” information such as employee updates, project status, company performance, company background, and team profiles. This will give them the opportunity to analyze the information and feel more prepared on day one.
Ensure any IT hardware is delivered before the first day so that any home space can be set up in advance. Remember to request email accounts and access to shared software and drives, ready to go for their first day. Having working access quickly is absolutely essential to working remotely.
- Integration into the team
It can be challenging for a remote employee to get to know their other team members and feel part of the team they are joining. Ensure the rest of the team book virtual meetups with the new hire, which focus on getting to know each other personally and understanding each other’s roles. To support integration to the wider team, organise things such as online coffee breaks/lunches to help them bond.
Using a mentor or creating a “buddy” system can also be beneficial, someone other than their line manager to guide them through the onboarding process.
- Provide an Individualized Onboarding Plan
Create a clear, tailored plan detailing what is expected from the new employee in terms of tasks to complete, projects to contribute to, and introduction meetings for the first 12 weeks.
Ensure objectives, goals, and milestones are clear, which all can support the onboarding process and assist them in feeling more motivated and productive.
- Provide breaks
Make sure that breaks are scheduled throughout the onboarding process and encourage taking a step away from the screens regularly to prevent the now much talked about and unwanted Zoom fatigue (we covered this in one of our earlier blog posts).
Mix up your breaks throughout the onboarding process. Having a 10-minute break every 45 minutes can feel too regimented, turning the day into individual chunks instead of a cohesive experience. Breaks shouldn’t just be momentary pauses — they should give you flexibility to spread out the onboarding process as much as you need to.
Although you will have a clear agenda of things you want to accomplish during the remote onboarding, you still need to ensure you make a human connection.
Ask them about their goals in their new role, how they feel about working remotely, and if they have any concerns you can help allay — ensure you take an interest and build a connection to support a positive working relationship. Engagement isn’t just about asking questions, though — it’s also about how you ask them. Be direct and friendly, and make sure you keep good eye contact.
If your business is onboarding or recruiting new hires, please get in touch with Lodge Court.
About Us – We enrich businesses by instilling our passion for developing people and organisations. Using our diverse experience and extensive knowledge, we flexibly support businesses with a pragmatic but personable approach to people management.
Disclaimer – The contents of this blog do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only. We can only advise on the basis of specific client instructions and are unable to offer legal advice by email to anyone who is not our clients. To find out more about becoming a client of Lodge Court, please talk to us.