How to Create a Great Onboarding Experience for Remote Employees

Historically, employee onboarding has primarily taken place in-person, but in today’s evolving workforce, being able to onboard new employees remotely using an intranet platform is a necessity.

Onboarding new hires is a vital part of the employee lifecycle process. It helps employees adjust to their new social and professional environment. Successful onboarding programs have been linked to longer company tenure, higher employee satisfaction, better productivity, and more referrals.

Working remotely allows employees to work from different locations, gives them more flexibility and autonomy, but with no doubt, it challenges the company culture from the very beginning. Having no opportunity to meet face to face and connect with team members, it’s a very different employee experience.

Here are 8 tips on how you can create a great employee onboarding experience for remote employees using a digital workplace: 

1. Communicate in Advance

Communicate with new hires in advance of their start date. Communication during the onboarding process is key, as this sets the tone for how the employee will receive communication during their tenure with the company. At least a week prior to their start date, send an email or call the new hire with information about what to expect on their first day – when they will receive their company computer and swag, a rough schedule overview of their first day, an overview of the technology they will need to use, etc.

2. Prepare a Welcome Kit

Send new employees a new hire welcome kit! Nothing entices people like some free goodies, so send them a kit with some company-branded swag that they will be able to use at home, a sweet treat, and a gift card for employees to purchase a coffee or lunch on the company for their first day.
Employee Welcome Kit
Source: Shaun Slattery (@slatts) photo “LumApps Welcome Kit ” on Twitter

3. The First Day is Always Important

Reach out to the new hire first thing in the morning on their start date. First day jitters are a normal feeling so it’s important to make the new hire feel welcome and prepared, especially when they won’t be starting in the office. It’s best to contact the employee either by phone or email on the morning of their start date to provide them with login information, more guidance on their first few hours, and to reiterate what they should expect during their first few weeks. Odds are the new employee will also have some questions, so this will be a good time to offer guidance.

4. Orientation Days

Conduct new hire orientation on their first days over a video chat platform to enable face to face participation and better engagement. During orientation days, prepare an interactive presentation and be sure to cover the following: company mission and stats, culture, key players within the company, benefits, org chart, technology they will regularly use, etc.

I’m thrilled with how prepared LumApps was to onboard me as a remote team member. I’ve worked remotely for 9 years for 4 different companies. LumApps was far more prepared with pre-hire communication, a thoughtful welcome kit, technology outfitting, day-by-day task lists, an onboarding buddy, and check-ins from HR. I always knew what I should be doing or who to go to with questions.

Shaun Slattery, Director of Change Management at LumApps

5. Set Initial Goals

Provide the new hire with a list of goals to accomplish during their first week, the first month, and the first ninety days. Ideally, the employee’s manager will be available to help them achieve most of these tasks, but should the new hire have downtime, it’s great to have something to work towards on their own. For example, a first-day task could be showing the new hire how to introduce themself on your company intranet and then having them actually introduce themself on the intranet (thereby testing their knowledge and allowing other employees to get to know them).

6. Use the Buddy System

Provide the new hire with a buddy or mentor figure – someone they can turn to for help or with questions during onboarding. This is especially important for remote employees and it can positively affect their engagement within the organization. Having a buddy makes integration easier and reduces the sense of isolation. Not to mention that once you have the chance to visit the office you will have a friendly face to introduce you to others.
onboarding remote employees

7. Organize Introduction Meetings

Introducing employees across departments is good for both office and remote workers. It’s not enough to see an organization chart with a picture and a name, to understand how teams work. Schedule short meetings so that the new hire can get to know all of their new teammates and gain a clear picture of everyone’s responsibilities within the organization. Meeting someone in person or a video meeting breaks the ice and allows for better employee communication.

8. Be Available and Show Interest

Check-in with the new hire periodically during the onboarding process – at the end of their first day, second day, first week, first month, first ninety days. Ensure that lines of communication to you are open, but be proactive in communicating with your new remote employees as well. You want to provide them with enough opportunity to share candid feedback, wins, and challenges.
At the end of the day, onboarding sets the tone for how someone’s employment transpires with your company. It’s important to clearly communicate, highlight resources the employee has access to, and make them feel welcome and valued within your organization.
ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Author
Heidi Spring
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Published on
March 20, 2020
Tags
HR, Tips & Tricks

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