A Step By Step Guide To Onboarding Remote Employees
Developing a robust and efficient onboarding strategy for new recruits means you are more likely to achieve your business goals more quickly.
It is really important to think about your online and remote induction processes well before the job offer stage to ensure things run smoothly when your new recruit starts working for you.
With the help of a few of our clients, we’ve prepared a step by step guide to onboarding remote workers effectively.
Contract and Offer Paperwork
As soon as a job offer has been verbally accepted, aim to send out your offer in writing, ideally with a contract of employment, as soon as possible. Getting a contract out to a new starter can be done in a number of ways, the easiest being via electronic signature. Not everyone has a scanner, and the post isn’t the quickest way to transmit important documents. E-Signing is both quick and easy.
You will also want to ensure you have agreed the best and most secure way to obtain proof of eligibility to work, payroll information and tax details, as well as details of any employment references you may need.
Equipment and Setup
Make sure that the communication from the line manager prior to the start date is welcoming and includes providing an update with the progress of IT setup and equipment.
Make sure your new starter has all the right equipment they need to get going, particularly if they will be working remotely.
What IT equipment and set up will they need? Do they need a PC or laptop and will they also need speakers, a headset, work phone & sim card? How will calls be made? (ie. will you use whatsapp or phone?)
Don’t forget to check with the new starter what their remote setup looks like, i.e. Where will they be working (bedroom, office, living room…. )? What kind of set up do they have at home? Do they have the appropriate space to set up their workstation and do they need any adjustments to help them work effectively? Any health and safety questions that would ordinarily be carried out if an individual were working onsite, should also be asked when they work at home.
Ensure that the new starter has all the necessary information they need to log into the company intranet. Do they have the correct access rights, log ins and password? Do they know who to speak to in IT support if they have any problems? The easier the first day starts the better it is for all concerned. There’s nothing more stressful than starting a new job and spending the whole day on the phone to IT support trying to get things sorted out. If there are going to be hiccups, reassure them and let them know that it is ok.
An orientation schedule for the first two or three days of work is also helpful.
The key to a successful start rests on the induction. As you are probably not available face to face right now, use video conferencing to communicate with the new starter. Seeing a friendly face will help them feel at ease as they settle in to their new position.
Set out the days agenda. What should they expect? When should they take lunch? Is there a regular time for team updates? .
Draw up an induction timetable for their first week and, if needed, book time with any or all of the following:
To give an overview of the company, its vision, achievements and goals
The Smaller Working Team
To see who they will work with and interact with on a daily basis. More of that in step 4
To discuss company policies and procedures, benefits, health and safety etc…
To check payroll processes including payroll timelines, expense claims and any other financial benefit queries
To ensure data security, permitted software lists, shared passwords, security practices, antivirus and malware updates, where emails and files can be stored etc…
Introducing the Team
Introduce your new colleague to as many people as possible in the first week. Sometimes it’s easier to do this informally or in short one- on-ones and at other times, it is very helpful to see everyone together. If you have any videos or photos of the office showing how it would usually be, share those.
Add them to any Whatsapp or Facebook groups that your company may have, to help them feel integrated. Invite them to any social get togethers.
Ensure the line manager is available to make contact on the morning your new person starts. An initial call is a great way to break the ice and set out the plan for the day and week.
“Onboarding virtually and speaking to a new team via MS Teams can feel very strange. It’s mainly because I’ve never met them, and so each time we speak virtually, I feel as though strangers are talking to me as I have missed out on the team dynamics before lockdown.”
“It’s been tricky battling the isolation and lack of social interaction as all employees are working from home until next year. The support I was offered was really appreciated. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done, as this is the current world we work in. Some weeks are better than others, and I’m learning to reframe my outlook. But the best thing that they can do is let me tell them if I am struggling in any way.“
Letting your new employee know that it is ok to feel a bit flustered at the beginning isn’t a bad thing, especially as we adapt to a new way of working.
Explain the Team Culture and Manage their Expectations
Manage expectations by letting your new recruit know how work will be assessed and when reviews will take place. How often will you update with them with their progress or let them update you? Schedule these times in your diaries. Initially, updates should be daily with an overall recap at the end of each week, but it is useful to decide what kinds of subjects you will cover to keep them clear and concise.
Prepare a skills checklist and arrange for any training necessary.
Find out how they work and how they need or like to be managed.
Do you have team updates in addition to any other arrangements, and if they are asked to attend, what do they need to prepare for those?
How should they deal with any queries they may have? Do you share a task calendar or have a shared project management tool? Do you use instant messaging for urgent queries?
Communicate and Ask for Feedback
And finally, make sure you communicate and collaborate regularly. Ask for feedback on how the remote onboarding process is working and if there are any suggestions or recommendations for improvement. Being asked for feedback will not only help the new starter feel valued and believe their opinion counts, but will also help you the next time you onboard a new starter remotely.