How to Remotely Onboard New Starters
Working from home has now become the norm in many industries due to the social isolation policies that have been put into place for our protection.
So, how do we make sure we can keep our companies growing by onboarding new starters while working remotely? How can we make sure we are creating a welcoming culture, passing on all the key knowledge a new starter needs and remain productive?
When it comes to remote onboarding everything needs to be better to have the same results as doing it in person.
- Welcome New Starters Properly
Starting at a new company always comes with a sense of both excitement and nervousness. The right welcome can inspire, whereas, the wrong welcome can let doubt start building in a new starters mind. Therefore, it is key to make your new starters feel welcome and a sense of belonging as soon as they wake up on day one.
- Make sure they have all the hardware they need ahead of time if possible.
When it comes to remote working technology is key. New starters will feel anxious and unproductive if they’re waiting for their phone and laptop to turn up on their first day. Could they use their own hardware to avoid this? All that needs to be agreed in advance.
- Use company merch to make them feel a sense of belonging.
How can you make someone feel like part of a new team if, to them, they haven’t changed their working location? The answer is by sending them a welcome pack that includes some company merch to make their home office resemble the office they’d be working in if they weren’t starting remotely.
- Book in the welcome conversation in advance and stick to it.
Your new starter will be waiting at their computer waiting for the welcome call from you, don’t be late! This will be the most important thing there’ll have done for a while, make sure you place the same level of importance on it.
Nail the journey
What is your current face-to-face onboarding process like? What are the key themes or messages you ensure new starters take away with them?
Start with those key messages and build your virtual onboarding process around them.
- Company Mission & Values
Make your first conversation with a new starter about the company mission and values…. and keep it as a conversation! How do es the new starter perceive the values and how do they fit with their own? What part does the new starter feel they can play in achieving the company mission? Starting like this will lead to a higher sense of engagement right from the start of their journey with you.
- Work Processes, Standards & Routines
You need to quickly be able to educate a new starter how you work. That includes the processes you follow, any routines that they’ll need to be a part of and the standards you expect. Using visual management here is a great way to easily portray that information. Highly visual process flow charts – colour coded diaries – standard operating procedures. The easier the information is to take in the quicker the new starter will get up to speed.
- Performance Management
How is performance managed at your company? Just as importantly, how is performance encouraged, recognised & rewarded? Transparency and communication are the key here, start with very clear expectations on both sides and you’ll be grateful for it in the long run.
- Productivity & Improvement
Go through all systems and platforms you use with a new starter – project management tools, collaborative working platforms, day & week structures, reporting templates. However, it’s important to listen to their thoughts as you do this. Tap into their insight as a new starter and hear out and implement any fresh ideas they bring with them about better ways of working. It’ll make them fell empowered and part of the big picture and you’ll be more productive as a result. Win-win.
- Policies & Procedures
These can easily sometimes slip through the cracks in a virtual onboarding process. Support contact details, holiday procedures, company policies. Make sure these are covered and the new starter knows where to find them going forward.
Communication is everything even when you’re all working in the same office. Make an extra effort to communicate with your new starter and get the rest of the team to do the same. Before they start make sure there are pre-arranged 1:1s with each team member throughout their first 2 weeks. It’ll increase their sense of belonging but also give them a better idea of the culture, working practices and will give them the opportunity to solve problems with new perspectives.
We all need to be looking at the positives of remote working and one main one of those is having a much more self-sufficient workforce at the end of it. How can we instil that self-sufficiency from the onboarding process?
This is where employee-led onboarding comes in. Give new starters access to all the tools they need to onboard themselves but give them autonomy on how they do it. Having people working for you who use their initiative to actively find answers to their own problems is ideal.
- Complete our employee-led onboarding checklist
- Set 14/30/60/90 day goals
Give new starters their own checklist to fill out as they onboard themselves. This will ensure they’re actively learning new things but also reporting on what they’ve learned, how they’re engaging with the company and any areas they can see for improvement. Giving new starters ownership of how they complete their goals will lead to a much more engaged, productive and self-sufficient team member.
Though it is important to build a high achieving, self-sufficient workforce it is equally as important to come together as a team. Whether that is to work, celebrate or have fun.
- Collaborative Working
Give new starters collaborative working projects as soon as you can with different members of the team if possible. Ensure that you’re hosting regular video meetings and encouraging video calls to keep the sense of team working alive.
- Set daily, weekly & monthly meetings to share wins
If you did something great in an office environment, you would celebrate there and then. Keep that culture alive with instant messaging platforms and regular meeting to share those wins and talk about why they happened. Not only will this increase morale but also lead to more sharing of best practice.
- Have fun as a team
So you can’t take a new starter out at the end of their first week for a drink? Yes, you can (if they have some drinks in the house). Make sure you’re still having fun as a team. Whether its virtual drinks on a Friday, an online pub quiz, or a fancy-dress meeting. Make sure to ask your team how they’d like to have a bit of fun and then do it!