When it comes to new hires, onboarding isn’t just job training, it’s your first real experience with your newest team members. Now, with most jobs being remote, it’s even more important that you take the right steps to integrate your employees into your company within their first weeks.
By making a well-executed onboarding process, you can be sure that you’re setting your new team members up to be successful. That being said, building a program that drives that positive impact can be challenging. That’s why we talked with 10 professionals about their best tips for a successful onboarding process for remote workers.
Focus on the Pre-Boarding
The first step to a great onboarding process should always be pre-boarding. This stands true even for remote onboarding. Rather than have the first day of the process be stuck in a room, filling out paperwork, let your new hire spend some time with their new team. Get them all involved in some online games, something that encourages social interaction. The faster new team members are acclimated to the team, the faster they get up to speed and can really contribute.
Phil Strazzulla, SelectSoftware Reviews
Create a "Getting Started" Checklist
Lighten your load by encouraging new hires to drive their own onboarding process. The easiest way to do this is by creating a “getting started” checklist for them to work off of. What tools do they need to download by the end of the first week? What Slack channels do they need to join? When do documents need to be signed? Who do they need to schedule meetings with? By creating tasks they can do on their own, you not only give them control of their onboarding but also free up your time.
Vidya Betesh, Human Resources Generalist
Be as Organized as Possible
Have a set schedule for the first couple days or even a couple weeks of training. The more detailed you are and the better prepared you are for a new employee, the smoother the onboarding will be.
Kimberly Kriewald, Avana Capital
Be Present and Be Prepared
Having a virtual orientation program put together that you and the employee can go over together, via Zoom or any other video conferencing platform, will ensure that the employee has a structured and informational welcome to the company that won’t leave them feeling lost or confused. Along with that, the HR person in charge of onboarding must be present the entire time to go over the processes and answer any questions the new employee may have. When you give people your time and invest in them, even if it is virtual, will leave them feeling excited to work for your company.
Candi Luciano, Y Scouts
Don’t Forego Your Company Culture
Culture should be made just as important in onboarding as other day-to-day responsibilities. As a company expands and starts to hire remote employees, they often find their culture unable to evolve in the process. Onboarding remote workers in terms of culture can be done through coaching, mentoring and technology. Make it a priority so company culture stays strong, even through remote onboarding!
Denise Gredler, BestCompaniesAZ
Set up a New Employee With a Mentor
In order for someone to succeed in a new company, job, and environment, they need to have a dedicated mentor that checks in on them regularly. It is important that the mentor is patient and willing to be on Zoom or IM for hours at a time in order to simulate a real workplace environment. Furthermore, the new employee should have opportunities to meet and connect with other employees in order to feel like they truly belong!
Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors
Have a 5-Day Plan for the First Week
I actually changed jobs during 'The Great Lockdown' and it was an amazing onboarding experience. Here's what Curricula did right with my onboarding:
- Set up my laptop and we arranged to meet the week before my start date. They also gave me a swag bag with a coffee mug, water bottle, stickers, and all sorts of branded 'Curricula' swag.
- The Friday before I started, I joined Curricula's weekly virtual happy hour so I could meet my new team.
- They had a 5-day plan for my first week. We spent a lot of time on Zoom learning about the company's history, our industry, the competition in our market, and our customers' 'hero' stories to truly understand our position and product offering.
Even though we couldn't physically be in the same space, now that I'm through my first 90 days, I feel like I've really gotten to know my team and we're aligned on our goals.
Lauren Patrick, Curricula
Use Videos to Introduce Your Company's Procedures
Video/visual SOPs have been huge for us and I thoroughly recommend companies adopt them regardless of whether they are going fully remote or not. There is something very welcoming about watching and listening to another colleague perform a task and it's a great way to both onboard and train new hires. Bonus points if you use multiple employees to record videos in order to introduce more of your company!
Quincy Smith, ESL Authority
Translate Company Traditions to the Virtual Environment
We have a client who provides their new hires with their favorite breakfast cereal on their first day and celebrates with an in-office happy hour at the end of the day, with the new hire's favorite adult beverage. We still include it in their onboarding, but it's all done virtually. It would be easy to not continue these traditions, but they are a key part of the company culture of the organization.
Eric Mochnacz, Red Clover
Create Quick, Personal Welcome Videos
These short 15 to 30-second greetings can be sent via email, text or chat to new hires, creating a virtual hello/handshake much in the same way a new hire would be greeted on their first day walking around an office by leadership. If you're using a tool like Slack, having a channel dedicated to internal resources makes it easy for everyone to find what they need in one centralized place.
Nicole Spracale, Coaching and Consulting