Like many aspects of work-life, the onboarding process has to be adapted to meld with our increasingly remote workforce. As it has become evident that the global pandemic is not subsiding anytime soon, companies have to decide to either completely stop work or find unique ways to keep their gears turning.
Onboarding, whether remote or in-person, is essential to the development of empowered, dedicated, and productive teams. A successful onboarding process allows for greater employee retention and reduced spending on the more costly process of new hires. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are remotely managing employees and find yourself having to do onboarding remotely:
Utilize the technology that is already widely available: Thankfully, many companies hopped on the work-from-home train long before a pandemic accelerated this transition across the globe and technology was already central to how many of us function. Collaboration technology such as monday.com or Trello has been popping up everywhere, allowing you to manage a team remotely. Applications such as Zoom or MS teams allow us to stay connected by holding video conferences remotely, and Google Docs, or Asana allows teams to collaborate on projects and documents remotely. All of which will be useful when formulating a remote onboarding process.
Keep the communication going: Communication is a central part of the onboarding process, especially when managing employees remotely. In many geographies, working in an in-person office environment is not possible currently and communication can often be lost or muddled. During the onboarding process, it is imperative to give feedback to the new hire, to set clear expectations, and to present your new hire an opportunity to give feedback, voice concerns, and ask questions. In this environment, over-communication is a key to success: Plan daily huddles, weekly video meetings, use Slack, or other messaging tools to keep the lines of communication open. During the onboarding phase, it’s key to evaluate progress, build rapport, and set clear expectations.
Document your SOPs Build a library of your standard operating procedures so that new hires (and the rest of the team for that matter) can easily access this relevant info. This will save you and other managers from responding to the same questions over and over, as well as set the standards needed for the team to adhere to. Tools such as Loom, Screenomatic, or Trainual are critical in creating a knowledge bank of best practices and training.
Remote does not have to mean impersonal: Working from home can feel lonely or disconnected, so it is essential that although you are onboarding remotely, you make new hires feel as welcome as they would if they were walking into your office on their first day. Do this by sending a welcome gift from Snackmagic or the Goodgrocer, reaching out on their first day with a welcome message, scheduling a Zoom team lunch with the whole team to provide a genuine introduction, and creating a lasting first impression.
Keep up the team spirit: Another one of the many aspects of work-life that is must be worked on even more diligently during remote work is company culture. When we cannot physically come together, creating a cohesive work environment becomes increasingly challenging. However, you can translate your company culture remotely by having group Zoom calls that are not work-related but function as a ‘get to know’ us event such as an online cooking event, painting classes, or plan for a virtual scavenger hunt. You can even co-work remotely, by keeping Zoom on all day during the first few days on the job.
Onboarding is much more than an orientation, it helps assimilate the new hire into their work environment and culture. . Especially when working remotely, it is important to create an ongoing onboarding process that promotes greater efficiency and greater employee retention.
Working solo from our homes does not mean we have to be in a silo.
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