Feels like only yesterday the pandemic hit us worldwide. Not knowing what to do, through hardship, we struggled and made it onto this day. A journey which was nowhere near easy nor familiar, but as individuals and organizations, we pulled through. From seeing each other face-to-face on a day to day basis to seeing each other behind the screens. To continue working in a different method was one thing, but to be starting from the beginning for some was a whole different story altogether.
Remember those days when Human Resource would arrange for orientation in the office where new staffs would go in batch by batch, covering topics that would be of use to new employees? However, times have changed. With the endemic that took place, not many were able to practice that anymore. Modifications were made in many aspects, starting from the hiring process all the way to getting staffs onboard.
Alongside the modifications mentioned, would be an expansion in the number of staffs, both physical and remote employees. Inevitably any new procedure would come with it’s own challenges, what more something that we aren’t that familiar with yet.
Hence, among the well-known challenges of virtual onboarding were;
a) Logistical issues and IT support
Imagine having to setup laptops, to sort of staffs ID, and assisting staffs to log-in in to systems, all for the first time. As it is doing it face-to-face wasn’t easy, what more to do it for remote employees. Fret not, the way to go around it is to have an assigned IT person dedicated to the new remote staffs to take them through the initial process of accessing important company related documents and sites, and assist them in queries if any. Not only that, to have them know that support would be given even after the orientation to eliminate as much worry among both parties as possible.
b) Lack communication
Not having an existing relationship of knowing each other and having to be introduced and communicate online would bring it to a different level of difficulty altogether. To overcome this would be to have a platform of communication as a support measurement that’s accessible for new staffs to approach acting as guidance for them as a part of a new addition to the organization.
Indeed, there are many more, but moving along to understanding the goals of the remote employee onboarding process. What is it that we would like to achieve in the remote employee onboarding process. Same goes with any other method of onboarding employees, the goals would be as below;
Does first impressions count?
In this matter, or quite a number of other matters, it definitely does count. By having a successful and smooth remote employee onboarding process, it would affirm and build a good first impression on remote staffs towards the employer, whereby indeed they have made the right decision in joining the organization.
To have a proper ice breaking from both employer and employees in ensuring employees understand the organization. in terms of the structure, the culture, and many more about the organization. By having this, it would smaller the gap between the newly employed staffs who aren’t there physically with the organization.
Integration with the organization
Once all that has been covered, the next goal would be to ensure the remote staffs understand their role, how as a newly employed remote staff they would contribute to the team, and as a team how it adds value to the organization.
Independent, but with support
Last but definitely not the least is to instill confidence in the remote staffs that they would be able to perform their tasks independently, but at anytime needed, there would be teams or focal persons they could approach to assist them accordingly.
Now that we have understood the challenges employers would face and goals of onboarding remote employees, here comes the interesting part of where you and I would get 9 tips to Onboard Remote Employee.
Here we go;
1) Prepare the rest of your team for the new employee’s arrival
A good preparation could be seen when the event/program takes place. As an employer, it would be best to ensure everybody on the team of the organization is aware of the employee’s arrival, and what their tasks are. By having this prepared firstly, it would instill calmness in the remote staffs that everything is under control as all is well planned and organized
2) Have their tech equipment ready ahead of time
Ever experienced technical issues while you are in the midst of a very important presentation? Having technology as a part of our daily lives, both personal and professional, we tend to take things for granted where with just a stable internet connection, we assume things would go smoothly without any hiccups, without even running it through once.
So, with the lessons I have learnt (which definitely led me feeling awkward though it was only a few seconds, it sure did feel like it was my whole life, mind you!) it is always best to ensure the tech equipments are prepared and ready, and if any hiccups were to be a part of the process, we would know how to tackle it without sounding shocked and panicked at the same time.
3) Make sure your new hires feel welcome
Ever heard of e-tour? A person would feel welcome to a place when he/she has seen the place. Hence in this context nothing is impossible. Organizations could prepare a slideshow or even better, if the committee is in the office itself, to be bringing the remote employees around the office would make them feel a part of the team. Without even forcing it, it would imprint a very warm feeling on the staffs towards the organization.
4) Help new remote employees complete any admin paperwork
Remember those days when we had a file prepared for us as there would be ample papers to fill-up and sign? So for remote employees, we could assist them in providing links for them to refer to for registrations, as well as perhaps shared drives, or even shared platforms, such as intranets of the company for them to refer to for SOPs on getting them onboard.
5) Get them up to speed on your company culture
Realize how a company culture plays a huge role on staffs? As a matter of fact, that would be one of the main reasons staffs would determine if they were to stay with the organization or not. Hence, to make the remote employees feel a part of the team, it would be best to not only tell them on what is usually been done in the organization, but also to let them get the experience of it.
For example, if a company would celebrate staffs birthdays once a month, it is never wrong to include them in it, such as via videocalls, or even getting birthday cakes delivered to them. Trust me, this will go a long way!
6) Their manager outlines their goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days
A guideline is essential in daily lives. What more for staffs who aren’t able to be there physically, to just walk up to the manager for them to address their questions or queries. Hence in this case, by having the hiring managers set specific goals and expectations, vision and missions for the first 30, 60 and 90 days would be a great start for both manager and staff as this would give both parties a clear picture on what to expect and deliver.
7) Set up meetings with their team members and other key employees
Ever wonder why a team would be of great success as compared to a few others? True enough individual performance would play a huge role in it, but even more so when it’s been played as a team. Together we stand, divided we fall. When team members know each other not just through chatting, but also able to see each other face-to-face (although behind screens), this would breach a huge gap in between the team members, where the remote employees could put a face to a name, on not just another person in charge of a task they’re assigned to.
8) Arrange role-specific trainings
To be able to perform a task diligently, one would have to understand it thoroughly (if possible), and not just parts of it. Hence to be able to arrange role-specific trainings by staffs who are in charge it would be ideal as the new remote employees could get a bigger and clearer picture of the job descriptions as well as be able to address the queries to the right person at that point in time, and to get an explanation from the person doing it is indeed key to success.
9) Team Bonding
At the end of the day, always remember that we are all human beings with emotions. To be able to bond beyond just professionalism would be an amazing thing, as it would instill a great bonding between team members. Hence to have it done occasionally, especially in the beginning as an introductory, set up lunch between team-members along with the remote staffs for them to indeed realize they are after all one.
Started of with acknowledging the challenges one could face while going through the process which is equivalently important in anything we do, we then moved on to understanding the importance and goals to achieve in the process.
While all the understanding has been set in, we ventured through to master the tips in accomplish a successful onboarding remote employees process. Hence, the time has finally arrived to put it to practice in establishing the smoothness for you, your company and the employees themselves! Wishing you all the best!