How To On-board Employees Remotely
In today’s blog I am aiming to provide you with some simple to implement tips relating to how you on-board new hires remotely. I personally believe that if you design this new process, it can be easily transferred when you return to the office – the fact that most of us still refer to onboarding as “induction” shows how far behind the times we are.
As a process this is one of the first experiences that your new hire will have. Do you firmly believe that it currently inspires, motivates and sets up the new member of your team for success?
Spoiler alert – this blog is not reinventing the wheel, you’ll probably have thought about most of the points already. The good news is that creating a new on-boarding experience is not as difficult as other elements of your people strategy. It is a great opportunity to show off the personality of your business and accelerate the development and embedding of your new team members.
I’ll aim to cover some of the challenges that you may face when it comes to on-boarding in this new world and also, provide some simple and cost effective tips!
What challenges will you face?
- Your old process uses lots of content – Many of us share documents such as handbooks, employee value proposition documents, organisational structures during the existing onboarding process – it is more than likely that you’ll do this on your new hires first day. Check out the pre-boarding tip below on how to overcome this.
- Your old process is delivered face to face – As discussed above you’ll probably deliver your old process on the new starters first day, but this may feel more difficult as you’re now working remotely. Many of us have spent thousands investing into communication systems, what better way to get an ROI on them than now? Begin to use them, particularly systems with video functionality, you’ll still have face to face interaction. If you’re worried about group exercises, then you can still run video calls with multiple participants. Look into Slack if you do not have the internal systems.
- Your old process heavily relies on a slide deck – Systems such as Zoom allow you to share your screen with participants. But, do not sit there for 4 hours flicking through slides – if someone did this with you would you feel engaged and excited to start your new role?
If you have any unique challenges that you come across then reach out to me directly – firstname.lastname@example.org – the reality is many of them have an easy fix.
#1 Pre-Boarding – Do you currently have a pre-boarding strategy for new hires? Put simply, pre-boarding is the very start of your onboarding experience – essentially, before the new starter joins. This is the perfect time to gradually send information to new hires such as: hand books, EVP documents and any other content that you need to share. There’s nothing worse than being given a large pile of documents on your first day! A really nice tough that I have seen is to get all of the team to sign a card and share a short message with the new hire – I understand that this is more difficult in the current situation – could you send an E-card or digitally design a card?
#2 Meet the team and interaction – I encourage every single one of our clients to introduce new hires to members of the team. In my girlfriends company they ran a short “speed dating” type approach with new hires. Essentially you have 5 minutes with each member of the team and you learn a little bit about each other – this is just one example. In other businesses I’ve seen introductions to the senior leadership team work really effectively – how many people have experienced this when starting a new role? Appreciating a leaders time, you may do this on a monthly basis for new hires. If you want to make it more fun then you can even have virtual beers or a quiz, whatever works for your business – do not make it cold!
#3 Assign a buddy – Building on from the point above, you may assign a buddy to your new hire. Ensure that the pair have regular check in’s and feel as though the new hire is being supported throughout their journey – the reality is, they won’t want to ask their manager everything. This is also a good leadership opportunity for the buddy!
#4 Communication and Feedback – For me these are the most important elements of any strategy or project, communication and feedback. Right from the recruitment process and throughout the employee journey. When it comes to on-boarding you may wish to highlight upfront that you’re adapting to a new way of working, so please feedback at any time. Equally, I’d recommend weekly communication and opportunities to give feedback for the new hire – especially when they’re working remotely. Schedule regular check in’s, update them on what’s happening across the business, ensure that they feel supported and make it fun!
#5 Build an experience, not a process – Last but not least and for me the most important tip that you could take away from this blog – build an experience, not a process. Let’s shake off the “induction” and create an experience. Below I have left some key points for you to cover…
- Pre-boarding – share documents, tell employee success stories and make them feel part of the journey!
- The first day – Talk them what life is going to look like – What support will they have? Who do they need to talk to? Who is responsible for what? What does their journey look like? What systems do they need to use? Set them some goals?
- Make it fun – Maybe have a virtual beer, send them a pizza, do a team gym exercise – ANYTHING!
- Provide them with a 90 day plan – Support them during their first 90 days. What training will they receive? What can they get involved with? Who is their buddy? What are their goals?
You also have a great opportunity to brand your onboarding experience e.g. at Rencai we have “Starting your Rencai journey”. Finally, bring recognition into the experience e.g. best new comer. Or recognise when new starters demonstrate your values, perform well – this can be as simple as an email, through to a small gift or even a digital E-card or Kudos on LinkedIn!
As with most of our blog’s I have tried to provide tips that are cheap, if not free and quick to implement. For more advanced organisations you may wish to look at systems such as Enborder. However, the key message of this blog is to create an experience – NOT A PROCESS.
Please reach out with any questions either in the comments or send me a message directly.
Employee Engagement & People Strategy Lead