Past few years have been a glory to Heraclitus Change is the only constant.
Also, recruitment and the new hire onboarding process have completely transformed and are now done mostly remotely.
Onboarding is a highly important process, yet sometimes an underestimated one. When a company has great onboarding 69% of employees are likely to stay for at least 3 years. And above all, every unsuccessful new hire costs a lot. Those are not only wasted recruitment costs, but also colleagues' time spent on training and the frustration of having to repeat it.
Remote onboarding has to carry out the same activities as before - allowing new hires to get to know their team and learn about the company's attitudes, methods, culture, tools, and processes. Lately, the pressure is even higher and comes along with the tension that it will take forever to happen remotely.
Agility and commitment are required from both - the company and the new hire. But it doesn't mean that it has to be difficult. On the contrary, it can be a surprisingly enjoyable journey.
This article presents 6 tips to make your remote onboarding a success.
1. Start with Effective Pre-boarding
Planning is essential when it comes to remote onboarding. You have to set aside enough time to welcome the new colleague. They will not have the opportunity to wander around the office and introduce themselves over coffee. All new hire's schedules require rigorous planning, for at least the first week.
Think of an effective way to handle all the necessary paperwork, and make sure all hardware is delivered securely and on time.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Make the plan for the first 30-90 days and all the scheduled activities visible to the new hire. Develop a training path and set it up in your LMS or simply use Outlook, Trello, or Asana to visualize and set daily tasks. Make sure the new hire knows what has to be done each day.
Here's an example of how INTEA e-learning made a fully remote interactive onboarding course. Each day has a mix of activities, assignments, and online calls that are pre-arranged by the manager.
NB! Remember to give clear guidelines to the new hires on the level of knowledge, training, skills that are expected from them after each phase of the onboarding - the first week, the first month, after probation period, etc.
3. Structure the Training Path
During onboarding new hires are introduced to everything they need to know to do their jobs. And everything they need to know is usually a lot to process.
The form matters. Build the training in a structured way, mix self-study with collaborative assignments and conference calls. Balance huge amounts of information with small tasks that will help to understand how things are done.
Decentralize the onboarding process - training content creation, mentoring, on-the-job shadowing, system training - these are only some of the activities that can be distributed among the team. Training doesn't need to come from one person only. Learning platforms or other collaboration tools can facilitate the process. At INTEA, a big part of the team facilitates the onboarding process for each new hire. That helps to gather and share feedback instantly.
Use checklists. It can be easy for new hires to get distracted and lose track of their progress, especially when going through the onboarding process remotely. Checklists are useful for daily planning and are the easiest way to get a scene of accomplishment. Besides, checklists are even more useful for managers to make sure all their onboarding assignments are completed.
There are numerous solutions to use for checklist creation. Here's an example from Teams Task App:
4. Make Space for Personal Connection
When working together in the office team building happens naturally. Remote work requires devoting special attention to getting the team together and to not losing the team spirit. To help new hires to settle better, assign tasks that require cross-team collaboration and knowledge sharing. They will have a chance to introduce themselves and learn the routine communication and collaboration channels.
It's nice to add a personal touch to the onboarding process. Make them feel welcomed and noticed.
The founders of INTEA E-learning have made this amazing video as an introduction to the onboarding process. It reflects the company's culture and environment.
5. Have one-on-one meetings
Managers play the biggest role in the onboarding process. It's important that they devote time to the new hire, have regular feedback meetings, share and address new hires' concerns.
It's the manager's job to make a transparent and trustful onboarding journey where all the unspoken rules are revealed as well. Each new hire needs a go-to person. If it can't be the manager, a mentor or other point of contact should be assigned.
One-on-one meetings with the new hire should be scheduled in advance. In a remote onboarding self-check assignments are useful to give the new hire enough time to gather all the unanswered questions and prepare for the upcoming meeting with the manager.
6. Measure success
Ask for feedback. Not only about the onboarding process, but about the company in general. The first couple of weeks is the perfect time to get the most honest feedback about existing processes before the new hire is used to the way things have always been done. It can generate a lot of ideas for improvement.
Introduce measurable metrics that will help to evaluate the remote onboarding process. Engagement scale, training satisfaction rate, feedback quality, retention rate, etc. - choose one that suits your strategic goals the most.
And be flexible with adapting and addressing challenges that arise due to remote work. Plan regular training updates and onboarding process improvements. One thing's for sure - the situation and company's needs are evolving. Constantly.