Onboarding Remote Employees

The impact

Whether you refer to it as a remote, mobile, telecommuters or distributed workforce, we’re in the heydays of it and need to understand how a remote workforce impacts HR and those we hire.

According to Forrester Research, “remote working is now essential for business continuity and employee retention. Doing it well requires organizations to formalize a structure for remote working that mitigates its major challenges, such as outdated technology, lack of face-to-face interaction, and employee trust issues, as well as responses specific to COVID-19.”

In addition, a June 2020 survey by PwC indicates that:

  • 83% of office workers want to work from home at least one day a week.
  • 55% of employers anticipate the majority of workers wanting to work remotely, post-COVID-19.

No matter what discipline HR is hiring for – marketing, sales, engineering, other – there are specific tactics HR should do and not do to ensure candidates hired as remote workers will be successful in-role, satisfied on-the-job and produce great results for the company.

The most successful remote workers not only fit your culture and have the skillset to get the job done well, but they also possess specific traits.

Remote worker characteristics to screen for in the recruiting process:

Tip #1: Seek out a self-manager

To increase the likelihood of hiring a highly productive, remote worker, look for the characteristics of a person who self-manages him/herself. This person would have a natural tendency to be self-motivated and results-driven.

Tip #2: Find a strong communicator

Even if your company has virtual communication software solutions that deliver dependable screen sharing and video conferencing capabilities, you still need to screen for a strong communicator to hire as a remote worker. Not having the luxury to pop into another’s office to get clarity on a project with an urgent deadline requires that they must communicate clearly, quickly and proactively.

Tip #3: Look for an accomplished project manager

People who are good at and enjoy project management are highly organized and self-disciplined. A great project manager finds it necessary to lock down timelines, tactics, and contributors to meet due dates. Their plans are documented and results reported. Project management is critical to program success, especially when contributors are collaborating and managing from different locations.

Tip #4: Hire one you’re confident can be trusted

Bottom line, management isn’t able to look over a remote worker’s shoulder, and must be able to trust that they can depend on him/her to help hit organizational goals. Hire the person you can trust.

Onboarding remote workers

Now that you’ve found your remote worker, it’s time to onboard them. For any new hire, whether remote or not, onboarding should include the completion of screening and new hire forms.

Onboarding requires multiple stakeholders and various tasks that typically start with setting up payroll, ordering office equipment and supplies, and gaining access to the network for starters. And let’s not forget to help acclimate your new hire so they feel as great about joining your company after their first week on the job as they did when accepting the job. Socialization activities could include a video greeting from the team, an employee directory and a first week meeting schedule.

If you’re onboarding a remote worker, it’s even more critical to have an anytime, anywhere, any-device-accessible process for the new hire to have a great onboarding experience.

Research shows that new hires who have a poor onboarding experience are much more likely to walk, leaving you with a no hire.

Here’s what you should do about onboarding a remote worker:

  • Automate new hire forms. Go paperless! It should be a thing of the past when you mail forms to your new hire to review, sign, and send back. Just remembering this experience brings back memories bordering on nightmares.
  • Standardize the onboarding process to make the process scalable and ensure no step is missed.
  • Automate onboarding tasks to check off tasks more expediently. No matter where the task owners or new hires are located, anyone permissioned has visibility into what’s what’s complete and can take action on what’s not.
  • Engage new hires with branded content that’s accessible from any internet-enabled device. Something fun for the team could be doing a video greeting for the new hire using a smartphone, a ‘why it’s great to work for the company’ recording, or introducing each team member stating what they do on-screen.

With that, good luck with hiring remote workers, and happy onboarding!