Onboarding is a major part of welcoming a new member to your team. In the first few days a routine of meeting the team, setting up tech, sorting out their tech and just generally showing them around the office and the business takes place.
Data around employee onboarding shows that it increases discretionary effort by more than 30%, that employees are 58% more likely to work for the company for at least three years, and that it can increase performance by up to 11% if they go through a structured onboarding process. Clearly, it’s an important thing to get right!
How though, do you go through everything if you’re still hiring and bringing new people into the business with everything that is going on at the moment? With the coronavirus outbreak that seems to have been halting life as we know it left-right-and-centre, businesses are having to adapt to a new way of working. The same goes for bringing new people onto your team. How do you make new team members feel welcome when they will be working remotely for the foreseeable future?
We’ve put together a few tips to help you make sure your remote workers are ready and excited to start working for your business.
- 1.Setting expectations
Onboarding normally starts during the recruitment process. This is particularly true in the current climate. Expectations need to be set during the interview process for everything to work smoothly and create the best experience possible. It is extremely important for employers to be conscious of the main struggles remote workers face including ill-defined work hours and managing workloads.
Like any good employer you want to make sure there is no confusion on your expectations so making the metrics for success, the workload and working hours transparent is key. If these are all defined in the early stages neither party will misinterpret their responsibilities further down the line.
- 2.Meeting the Team
Meeting colleagues is always an exciting part of starting a new role and extremely easy to do when everyone is working from the office. We know that nothing can beat an in-person introduction so it definitely gets a bit trickier when on-boarding remote workers. Just because you all no longer work from the office you need to remember it is a temporary measure, so there’s no reason to neglect introducing the team.
Working from home can be lonely and isolating, but it doesn’t have to be completely so. Putting faces to names early on will help alleviate all those feelings. You don’t want your new employee to be nervous about reaching out to colleagues!
So how can you do this when there’s no real chance of casual introductions throughout the day? Here is where you need to be a bit more strategic. You’ll need to think about your new hire’s role. What will they be doing and who will they be interacting with mainly? Who is it imperative they know and who is a great ambassador for your company?
Even though it won’t be as much of an organic introduction, try to set-up video calls with all the above. It’s important that both sides use video as well, because seeing a face is more bonding than simply hearing a faceless voice. Of course, they won’t be meeting everyone on their first day, but even a handful of introductions to start off with will help them feel more comfortable.
Remember to always invite your new employee to your video team meetings as well. While the whole world waits for this to blow over it is important to get them to feel part of the team, inputting ideas and working on problems together so that when we all finally return to the office they’ll already be settled it.
- 3.Have an onboarding checklist
Creating an onboarding checklist before your new hire’s first day should be one of your priorities. Maybe your company already has something like this for remote workers or regular onboarding, so some key points will stay the same while others may change.
Just like with any regular new hire you’ll need to think about what tools they’ll need to do their jobs. If you work with certain tech platforms, who needs to set the employee up? Be sure to think about as much as possible so everything is clear from the on-set, meaning your new hire can set-up quickly and be ready to work.
- 4.What works for your new hire
Up to now we’ve discussed expectations from your side as the employer, but you should also find out what works for them. Taking the time to listen to them and their thoughts drives home the idea that you’re open to their ideas and care about their specific needs as an individual. You could come up with a document for them to fill in, detailing their preferences regarding areas you’re prepared to be flexible on, including aspects such as how they prefer hearing feedback, being issued tasks, etc.
- 5.Welcome pack
Depending on what they need to do their job well you might consider sending things over to them in advance. Of course some things can be sent digitally, like a contract and employee handbook, however you may need to send over things physically. You could make up a welcome pack that includes necessary equipment, style guides, and other things such as mugs, pens, etc. Nothing says “Welcome!” more to a new employee than a little bit of company swag.
- 6.OKRs and KPIs
It’s important that new employees have a clear outline of the metrics of their success and that these are clearly defined. Just like with an on-site employee that you see regularly you should take some time to go over your employee’s particular OKRs and KPIs after the settling in period.
It would also be a great idea to get them to fill in an Individual Development Plan so you can get a better idea of where they see their career going. It is important you listen to them and help outline a strategy in order for them to achieve their goals. If you take the time to really understand their motivations will not only help them achieve their personal and career goals, but helps you to be a better manager.
- 7.Regular feedback
It is a good idea to set up meetings to revisit working preferences if the situation lasts for longer than expected. Sometimes things change and after a settling in period they’ll know what works and what doesn’t for them.
You need to remember that all the informal meetings you normally have when you’re in the office no longer happen so your employees no longer have the luxury of stopping by your desk and talking to you. The lack of regular feedback from your team means missed opportunities to make your employees feel heard and also to reach their full potential. If you set up regular feedback sessions they’ll known when and how to give you that feedback.
While we know that all these tips will give you ideas about how to manage new employees in these unprecedented times, we’re also aware that processes will need to be tweaked and then tweaked again as we all acclimate to the new working practices. Hopefully you’ve got some actionable tips now and fingers crossed this all blows over quickly. In the meantime stay safe!