Revolutionise your remote onboarding
First impressions count so if you’re in hiring mode, making the onboarding process authentic, memorable and aligned to your company values should be your number one priority. How we’re currently working, with a large proportion of the workforce at home, has created the need for a slick and robust remote onboarding process. A process which addresses the gap between physically working together and creating connection in a virtual environment.
To get started, the first question is always ‘why’? What is it you are trying to achieve through your remote onboarding?
- Quick integration into your organisation and the culture
- Connecting your new starters to the organisation’s purpose and values
- And your process should be a mix of practical things (e.g. paperwork, equipment) and emotional engagement (supporting how the person is feeling, giving them a sense of belonging and purpose)
All of these elements will lead to:
- Higher levels of employee engagement
- Improved staff retention
- And ultimately increased productivity
What you are trying to achieve hasn’t really changed from physical to remote onboarding but how you do it has.
Gone are the days when onboarding was a checklist job for HR. You need your whole organisation engaged in the onboarding process, particularly the people delivering it. Consistent messaging from everybody your new starter comes into contact with is key. And make sure the ‘onboarders’ know what’s expected of them. With different departments and multiple people involved, a clear and visible plan will keep things on track.
If your remote onboarding is a series of back-to-back one on one Zoom meetings, think again. Building in variety will keep your new person engaged and interested. Also, get to know an individual’s personal situation – you may need to tweak your programme, for example if they are home-schooling.
Key Onboarding Touchpoints
The onboarding process doesn’t start on day one. Pre-boarding bridges the gap between the recruitment touchpoint and their start date and provides a seamless flow between the two. You’ve just invested in recruitment so use this time wisely to build excitement about joining your business. So, particularly if it’s a long waiting period before your new person joins you, add in small touchpoints to keep the recruitment momentum going. Pre-boarding is likely to be focused on the practicalities of joining but don’t forget how your person is feeling. Building connection with your organisation will help to calm any nerves. One example from our recent workshop is to get the team to connect with the new starter on LinkedIn as soon as their appointment is announced.
After the effort you have put in during pre-boarding your new starter will be excited and eager to start. With high expectations for their first day, don’t leave anything to chance. Make sure the team is briefed for the new arrival. This second stage is a big element of the overall process so it’s helpful to break it down. What does day one, week one etc. look like.
There’s lots of opportunity to get creative about how to make this work remotely. Here’s some ideas:
- A virtual tour of your facility
- A video welcome from the team
- A welcome pack with branded merchandise/flowers/treats
- A buddy system
Don’t forget, one of your goals is to build a brand ambassador and it’s the little things that make a difference to them as well as being organised with the practical stuff.
3. Ongoing Support
This is all about maintaining momentum and keeping your new person engaged. Ultimately you want to help your new starter succeed and start being productive as quickly as possible. Remember, this process is likely to take longer remotely. Be patient!
4. Culture Immersion
Perhaps the biggest challenge to remote onboarding is understanding and engaging with your company culture. How do you re-create your water-cooler moments from a computer screen? Consider the advantages of remote working:
- Zoom makes it easy for new starters to shadow other departments and join team meetings
- For multi-site organisations, getting to know team members across the company is easier
- Leaders can be more accessible to all levels
- Creating an online community of new starters is simple online
Don’t forget to gather feedback from the new starter and the internal staff doing the onboarding. What went well and what can be improved for next time?
So remote onboarding can work for your company and help you to achieve your goals by giving your new person the best start possible on their journey with you.
To continue the conversation on remote onboarding, get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.