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A useful guide to onboarding employees remotely

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by Charlotte Gurney

Remote onboarding became an essential process in 2020, not just to cope with the impact of lockdowns throughout the world, but also to allow organisations to take advantage of the opportunities of working with employees not bound by location. The quality of the onboarding process can determine the initial experience that a new member of staff has and influence the ongoing relationship. Almost two thirds of employees who have a solid onboarding experience are likely to remain with a business for up to three years. So, how do you ensure that your remote onboarding process is delivering?

Clarity - Onboarding generally involves a range of requirements, from completing HR paperwork to setting job expectations, ensuring awareness of internal policies and documents, IT set up and introducing a new member of staff to the company culture. Make sure that everyone in the organisation is clear on what the onboarding process involves and who is responsible for what. Timelines or flowcharts can help to ensure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are and that all new starters get the same consistent experience.

A welcome box - A small gift box that arrives for an employee’s first day can feel like a warm welcome to the team in the absence of actually being in the office.

Design your initial documents and software - A welcome pack in business branding containing a welcome letter and physical versions of manuals and contracts can create a very positive first impression and give someone all the reference material they need. You might also want to consider pre-loading their business device with all the required apps and software.

Utilising visuals - From flowcharts to network diagrams, visuals can make information much easier and faster to absorb. New starters will have a lot of data to process and visual tools can help them to do it. Put all your onboarding documents in one single, central resource so they are easy to access at all times.

Set up the introductions - These are all going to be via video conferencing for remote onboarding but this can be very effective. From HR to managers and mentors make sure that your new member of staff is scheduled to ‘meet’ everyone who will be essential to their experience and who can introduce them to the business and their role.

IT induction - Getting to grips with IT is an essential part of the process, especially if this is going to involve new software and applications. Schedule plenty of time to allow for new staff to get up to date, install relevant IT and do any necessary training - make sure there is someone on hand for questions and queries throughout.

Schedule ongoing contact - It’s very easy to complete the onboarding process and then go back to day-to-day life but it’s vital to ensure that new staff don’t just get forgotten. Make sure that the first few months are filled with regular check in calls to help smooth out any issues and provide reassurance and - where possible - try to schedule a site visit too.

An effective remote onboarding process can lay the foundations for a positive ongoing relationship, which in turn ensures your investment in talent reaps the rewards. With this process now being essential for the world we currently live in, its paramount that you have an effective and streamlines set of protocols outlined to ensure a smooth onboarding process for all involved.