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Guide to Remote Onboarding

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Niomi Cowling onboarding, HR, new starters...

 

Globally, Human Resource teams are stepping up to the challenge of remote onboarding to maintain hiring plans. 

As more companies shift towards remote onboarding to attract and retain the best talent, there has not been a better time to develop your remote onboarding strategy. If you are not already well versed in onboarding remotely, then follow these stages to ensure that your onboarding process is agile and effective

Many companies remotely onboard new team members successfully every day, and it's time you did too. There has not been a better time to innovate your current processes to ensure you are setup to limit any challenges that could impact your business.

Companies globally are faced with the same challenge, where talent acquisition and retention remains high on the agenda. Agile businesses who adapt to change as ever will come out on top, make sure you company is one of them by updating and adapting to new ways of working. Thousands of companies are able to set up new employees virtually, and it will soon become old hat if you don’t too.

Having fixed desks, desktop computers and phones are slowly being updated by companies in a bid to offer more flexible working arrangements. Working remotely is more assessible than ever, following a successful virtual interview process, the remote onboarding is crucial to get your new starter settled in effectively. 

Now is the time to update your onboarding strategy to include the remote onboarding of new employees. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to and if there is that barrier needs to be overcome. By adding remote onboarding to your processes you can ensure your teams are equipped with the best talent, aiding ongoing and future hiring processes to progress the company further.

We have split this into 2 stages- ‘Getting Set Up’ and ‘Getting Onboarded’, to reveal how it’s done effectively and the most successful way possible.

 

Take a look at our one pager on onboarding here.

 
 

GETTING SET UP:

  1. ONLINE CONTRACTS

There are many ways in which you can use online systems to set employees up remotely. This can automate this task, reducing the time & effort it takes to onboard and new starters can submit their own information.

It’s a great print-free way to secure your next hire, get that contract signed and all the relevant documents to get your new employee embedded into the company. Signed copies are sent to both the employee and employer, meaning they can’t get lost or damaged in the post and are easy to save, file and locate when needed.

Online signature services such as; Docusign, AdobeSign and SignNow, enable online signatures from anywhere on any device. This is an easy way to get the paperwork side of things complete and it will prompt signees on where to sign, and who in the correct order making managing this stage simple and compliant.  

TIP --> CREATE NEW DOCUMENTS TO SUPPORT REMOTE WORKERS

You might need to create a new documents where the candidate can confirm their internet is in good working order, and to confirm they are happy to work remotely using their internet line to safely access company information.

 

  1. EQUIPMENT – HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE

Once all the paperwork is done and a start date is confirmed you can work backwards to see when you need to be getting everything else sent out and ready.

Hardware - Nowadays most jobs require a computer, whether that’s a desktop or a laptop ensure your IT team are able to set this up and send it on to the worker. New employees can then be provided with a login which gives them access to the network. If a work phone or any other hardware is required follow the same steps and deliver it to their home address ahead of time. We recommend that you do this a week before to ensure they can start their first day without tech issues!

Software - Once on the network you’ll be able to give any new starters access to the relevant software technologies you use; email, internal comms systems, shared files, phone system logins etc, everything they might require in order to carry out their jobs.

It’s important that you get a list of these from the manager as software may change from user to user and you don’t want new starters having to spend time downloading new software requiring admin passwords on day one. We suggest that you get a list of required software for each business unit and then allow any additional software to be specified during the setup phase with your IT department.

TIP --> ENHANCED NEW STARTER EXPERIENCE:

At this stage you can enhance your new starter’s experience by sending a new starter package to get them setup on their first day. This could include company merchandise: pens, paper, notepads, a laptop sleeve/case, water bottle, headphones, calculator, stickers, webcam, cup etc, and is a great opportunity to brand this merchandise so that newbies feel included and bought into the company. It could also include a friendly introduction letter to help people setup and walk through what they need to do to get logged in… including how to get setup on the internet.

 

GETTING STARTED:

ONBOARDING: Onboard virtually and embed new starters into your company culture.

Display your excellent company culture through key introductions from the start, and doing this virtually is sometimes easier and always more time efficient. Starting a new job is always nerve wracking but by setting expectations early, being organised, and planning a remote employee will have a great impression of the company. It’s crucial that on day one a new employee is feeling invested in and engaged with.

By giving your new starter a plan for the first day/ week they can start to form their own working patterns and start to build relationships with people in the team and key contacts from across the business. By planning their week and scheduling important calls you can imbed them into the company successfully and more efficiently than before. Virtually hosting these meetings can take less time for key stakeholders, such as Senior Managers or HR teams to do, meaning they can get around more people and deal with any initial questions quickly.

 

Company Welcome Presentation:

A onboarding presentation can be hosted regularly to deliver your key company messages or objectives to new starters, this presentation can tell remote workers more about the awesome company they’ve just joined to get them really excited about being in the business and the role they play and why they are here. Plus it will give them a greater understanding of the business and can help them align their own goals.

 

Other Welcome/Intro Call:

Every new starter should have a call to get the ball rolling to explain what they can expect from the first few days/weeks. This helps a them understand what they can start to work, get themselves organised and looking forward to the coming weeks.  A personalised call to the new starter can help build trust and engagement. A welcome from their manager and an introduction to team members and the channels on which they communicate are important, they help form team relationships internally and help adsorb people into your culture and how the team works.

During this introductory call an employee has the opportunity to ask any questions they might have helping get the up to speed and feeling as prepared as possible.

At this stage it’s also important to tell people who to go to for what; IT issues, phone systems issues, etc, as this can impact the smooth integration into the business and helps new starters problem solve themselves. Depending on the business structure it might suit you to setup a meeting with IT or HR to ensure everything is in working order, and for a walk around on how to log into use everything. They can also run through a test meeting to give piece of mind on how to use the systems, as technologies vary from company to company and can often be difficult to pick up at first.

 

Diarise Meetings:

Remember to add meetings into new starters diaries with links to enable them to access the meetings easily. Team catchups, company ‘all hands’ meetings, quarterly updates etc. Every role will require contact from a few stakeholders so it is good to add them to these beforehand so they can meet the relevant people. By adding company or team meetings people can get a good feel of the amount of contact and communication they will have with the team and feel included in the company culture and businesses direction.

 

Create a ‘remote’ friendly culture:

Promote your culture as inclusive and an exciting place to work for all types of employees. Ensure new starters feel involved in the company and bought into the culture as soon as possible. Meetings, facetime, and including people into culture is important, speak to your team(s) and get them to come up with ideas about how you can create a strong culture whilst working remotely as this will differ across the business.

Video calls and group chats for both work conversation, and general social updates, are important to hold regularly. As a manager of a remote team you need to be conscious to keep everyone engaged and working towards a common goal. Rather than calling on the mobile, encourage a face-to-face policy for as many meetings as possible. Make it very clear that the channels of communication are always open and show people this is true by holding one-to-one catchups as well as other regular updates to help new starters to get acclimatised to your way of working.

Importantly, schedule webcam meetings that are also social, encourage people to grab a drink and discuss non-work related matters that are important. A great time to do this would be in a monthly ‘ideation session’ where you choose a topic that’s relevant and encourage everyone to think innovatively to get better results. This is very popular with tech teams, and can helps different people with different skillsets work together.

TIP --> GET THE WHOLE TEAM INVOLVED

Speak to the team that is currently in place and make them aware of the new starter. Include all relevant team members in their first week introductions and get everyone to pitch in to help spread the love! Your first ideation session could be on ‘How to create a better remote working culture’ where your team comes up with new ideas themselves.

 

Get in touch with your Hamlyn Williams consultant, we're more than happy to talk you through how this can work in your company. 

Contact us.