We all know that COVID-19 has had a massive impact on how businesses operate, shifting most of our processes to online platforms and requiring most companies to change to 100% remote working arrangements. For some, this might put onboarding on the back burner BUT this most definitely does not need to be case and with remote onboarding you can still get your new hire set up and working alongside the team.
Remote onboarding isn’t a new concept and can be done very successfully with the right tools and planning in place. We want to make sure you have all the knowledge you need to do this well and get your own strong process in place, so please check out our advice below.
Most of the paperwork you need signed can be done digitally using services such as Adobe Sign, DocuSign and HelloSign. Here at R13 we use Adobe Sign to send documents out to our candidates and clients as it is quick, easy to set up and can be used from anywhere.
Before your new starter even begins you will want to set out clear expectations of the role, hours of work, any perimeters around routine, how you would expect to be updated and how you will monitor output, as this needs to be clear from the start especially in a remote working situation.
There will be some physical equipment that your New Starter will need, so where available you could have this ordered and delivered directly to their door or if you have to, provide a team member the facilities to deliver anything they need directly to them, bearing in mind social distancing.
You can also utilise cloud-based services for databases and documents meaning all you need to do is get your admin team to set up any logins needed. At R13 we use both a cloud-based database and Microsoft OneDrive for our documents which can be accessed from any computer and allow us all to share data remotely.
Getting to know everyone is often a big worry for new starters and this fear can be exacerbated in a remote situation. You will have to move any processes you already have to online platforms/through the phone.
You can use video chats, screen sharing and other online tools to make sure your new starter receives all vital information. There are many platforms you can using including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skpye etc..
It is best to introduce each team member individually, making sure to provide context in terms of what they do and their input into the team. You can also incorporate aspects of company culture and values into these introductions.
You could also incorporate a virtual team drinks/coffee, so that your new starter can talk to members of the team in a more relaxed setting.
Training will also have to be switched onto online platforms with supporting training materials and guides for your new starter. The benefit to doing this remotely is it will allow them to work through it more autonomously.
You can carry out training through video calls and screen sharing. You will need to make sure you prepare any guides and materials in advance and make sure these are easily accessible should there be any questions.
You could also provide a mentor for your new starter, who can provide more dedicated one on one support and can be there for any queries during their first few weeks.
Also set out an itinerary of what they need to be doing for first few days, weeks, or months – depending on your program to give your new start some mental preparation of what to expect.
You need to make sure you continue to support your new starter for the first couple months and there are several ways you can do this:
Make sure you get feedback from your new starter about how the process could be improved and ask for their insight in how they feel they can better integrate into the team. This will make them feel that their opinions are valued and help you to improve your remote onboarding for future starters.
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