There’s no question that remote working is here to stay. In fact, a 2019 report conducted by Buffer concluded that 99% of employees claim they would like to work remotely “at least some of the time” for the rest of their careers. That’s a stat that can’t be ignored. Remote telecommuting has been attributed to a reduction in turnover, stress and overhead along with an increase in productivity, engagement and efficiency. Of course, while some workers are only partially remote, technology allows many teams to be completely separate, sometimes across the globe.
The remote work structure comes with many pros but creates some definite challenges when it comes to onboarding. Successful remote onboarding is extremely important to the success of a hire, especially when your team is not in the same location. Wondering what it takes to onboard the new, telecommuting talent? Read further for the best onboarding techniques:
Find a time to meet in person
The perk of remote working is that you don’t have to leave your home in order to clock on and get work done. That is also one of the largest cons. Even the most independent, introverted of people will have those days where they need to take a quick trip down the hall to their coworkers desk and show them first hand what they meant in the last email. Part of having a successful team is knowing each other well enough to understand their work personality, struggles and talents. Virtual working is wonderful, but it cannot totally substitute face-to-face interaction, especially when first starting the professional relationship.
Depending on your company’s remote working structure, it’s important to invite the new hire to your offices. Show them how people physically perform their jobs so they can begin thinking of ways to create their own routine to match. Just having the opportunity to hear each individual’s tone of voice will help better decipher the voice behind emails and cut back on misunderstandings. If the whole company is remote or travel isn’t in your budget, be proactive in oversharing the company.
Try! Create a fun calendar that includes company or team pictures, special dates and conferences that can be in-person group meeting sites. If planning 12 months from now is too far of an advanced look, create monthly internal newsletters. Send these pieces to the new remote worker so they start forming a clear view of the company’s priorities and start planning to join in!
Depending where you are in your company history, “practicing” onboarding might be difficult. At the very least, you should have a method to your madness. Think about every process you have. If any of them are set in stone or if your team has them down to a science, record it within a document or with a screencast program.
Try! If you have an established team, ask them what was difficult about the onboarding process and what would have been helpful to have. If you’re in the early stages, it’s pretty difficult to garner feedback on the onboarding process from the team. Instead, write down your schedule for one week and see what processes you repeat, what pieces of the job you’re hoping to share with the individual and what could be improved.
Regularly check in
Communication will always be an important business tool, but the importance of clear communication only multiplies when remote workers are involved. From day one, it is pivotal to introduce every communication tool your team uses, internal and otherwise. Explain how each is different and what content is posted where. For example, where is light-hearted conversation welcome and where are task lists posted?
“We have a bi-monthly full company meeting to make sure we all know we still exist. You may not need to do this, but for [my team] it is good to hear voices we may not interact with on a daily basis.” – Ben Hanna, CouchSurfing.com
Try! Create a cheat sheet of all the tools used within the company with a short description of why and how to use it to the best advantage. This will be helpful for new hires to gauge their own aptitude for the technology, but also for executives who periodically audit company processes as the team expands.
Don’t concede culture
It’s easy to think no physical office means a less involved culture, but that’s absolutely untrue. The remote working capabilities of your company is a major piece of the culture, not an excuse to ignore the fact that turnover at companies with poor culture is 48%.
Be sure to include remote workers in the traditions and routines immediately. Does your team plan a cocktail hour at the end of every first Friday of the month? Tell them and invite them to participate via Skype. Bonus points if you send their favorite wine as a welcome gift!
Try! Create a company look book that includes information on each team member, where they are located and how they contribute to the team. Include pictures (with permission) of their home offices, links to their favorite project and fun facts.
Creating a successful remote onboarding process is a challenge for all teams. If you’re running into roadblocks while creating your employee onboarding program, look no further than Click Boarding. Take a demo today to see what we mean.