Employee Onboarding Tips for Remote Employees

Strategies for Improving Productivity, Engagement, and Retention from Day One

Getting employee onboarding right is challenging enough when the employee is working in the office, surrounded by their new colleagues and with their new manager readily available. In a remote working environment, this challenge is even more acute.

Did you know that a new hire who experiences a poor employee onboarding process is two times more likely to start looking for a new job? Or that research from Brandon Hall Group found that:

“When companies fail to standardize their onboarding process and socialize new hires in the company culture, performance, retention, and engagement suffer. Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Companies with weak onboarding programs lose the confidence of their candidates and are more likely to lose these individuals in the first year.”

In fact, the employee onboarding process is so critical to a new employee’s success that it should be developed as soon as the need for a new hire is identified. Yet, in many cases, onboarding is the last thing that a hiring manager considers.

What Is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process of introducing new employees to a company’s culture, management, and the work they will be doing. It includes the steps taken to help new employees understand their role and become productive as quickly as possible.

It typically involves a combination of orientation, training, and socialization. The intention is to help new hires understand what the company expects from them, how they can contribute to the company’s success, and how they will be supported in their job.

Here are our top tips for developing an onboarding strategy that will help your new remote hires reach their potential faster, and improve your company’s productivity, employee retention, and employer branding.

Tip #1: Create Your Onboarding Process Before You Make a Hire

You should make sure that you have an onboarding process in place before you hire someone. The process should be designed to educate the new employee about their role and responsibilities, as well as provide them with an opportunity to ask questions. It should also include a brief introduction to the company’s culture and values.

The first day for new hires should include an introduction to the company, what they’ll be doing each day, who they’ll be working with, where they can go for help if they need it, and what their performance expectations are. Consider if there are any policies or procedures that need to be reviewed or completed for remote hires.

Tip #2: Create Onboarding Resources for Remote Employees

Remote employees are adept at working autonomously, but they need the tools to do so. Those handbooks that you provide to in-office employees should all be digitalized. You might also consider creating an online FAQ resource for new remote hires, offering advice from HR issues to bios of team members, and, of course, links to process guides.

You can also get creative and set yourself apart from the run-of-the-mill employer.

How about creating a short intro-video for each of the new hire’s new remote colleagues, or a 20-minute podcast in which the whole team discusses their individual and collective roles?

Tip #3: Start Onboarding Before the New Hire Starts in Their Job

Don’t wait until the first day to get started with onboarding your new employee. You have all the information you need to set up your new hire on your internal systems and remote work apps before they start, so they can hit the ground running. This will also confirm that you are on the ball and excited to welcome the new hire into their new team.

Prepare your IT team for the new hire, so that they can make all digital connections live the first minute of the hire’s first day.

Tip #4: Schedule the Onboarding Necessities

There are some elements that must be completed as soon as possible in the onboarding process. You should plan for these and ensure that they are scheduled ahead of time. These include:

  • An HR orientation meeting, during which the new hire can set up any accounts they may need and digitally sign HR documentation
  • IT orientation, during which the new hire is provided their passwords and access to all online groups and resources they will need
  • A services and product review, to ensure the new hire understands everything they must about what your company does and why

Tip #5: Schedule a ‘Meet the Team’ Event

Set up a video conference for the whole team to meet and the new hire to get to know their colleagues. This is also an opportunity for sharing of contact details, calendars, and other resources that the team uses regularly.

Tip #6: Discuss Professional Development from Day One

The best onboarding strategy focuses on the employee, not on the paperwork.

Even in the world of remote work, career development is a key factor. Gallup found that employees who have a clear plan for their professional future are 3.5 times more likely to agree that their onboarding was exceptional. Start this discussion early, by including it in your onboarding process.

Tip #7: Individualize Onboarding

Remote employees will have unique abilities and capabilities. Your onboarding process should be flexible enough to allow for this uniqueness. A good strategy here is to initiate one-to-ones between the employee and their manager early, ensuring that guidance and support is readily available. The manager should ensure that this support is provided consistently, with agreed 30/60/90-day plans.

Tip #8: Assign a Mentor to Your New Hire

Your new hire will inevitably have questions to ask. A mentor should be assigned to provide the new employee with a point of contact to answer their queries, and to help engage them in their role and their contribution to the company.

Are Your Remote Employees in the 12%?

In research undertaken by Gallup, it was found that only 12% of employees believe their employers do a great job of onboarding. Yet we know that an effective onboarding process delivers many benefits – including more highly engaged employee, greater productivity, and higher employee retention.

Are your employees among this 12%? Or does your company need to improve its onboarding processes?

At TECHEAD, we have decades of experience of building, developing, and maintaining remote teams. When we collaborate with clients, we use this experience to ensure that they benefit from the best person for remote working in the hiring organization.

To learn how we can help you develop a high-performing remote team, contact TECHEAD today.

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