Remote Onboarding: How To Make Your New Hires Part of the Team

Onboarding is a daunting task, and remote onboarding is even more challenging… Or is it? In this post, you’ll find out what you need to know about the challenges and best practices in remote onboarding.

What is remote onboarding?

Onboarding is a crucial process for every new employee. In those first days, weeks or months in the company, newly-hired employees are getting to know the company. They’ll learn about company culture, values, work processes, methods, tools and, of course, the colleagues. Their future attitudes, behaviour and will to thrive in the company largely depend on the onboarding process. First impressions matter, right?

Remote onboarding also involves getting used to the new working environment. However, the difference is that the whole process happens remotely, online, with the help of various digital tools. So, instead of face-to-face workshops and meetings, you’ll probably opt for video chats and conferences to achieve the same goal. Instead of watercooler chit-chats, you might use some of many communication channels.

The challenges of remote onboarding for new employees

New employees might experience a sense of isolation. They will probably have a million questions and feel apprehensive about pinging their colleagues every few minutes via mail, chat or communication channels. Sometimes it feels it would be easier if you were all in the same room.

More often than not, new hires feel overwhelmed by new information, apps and tools they’ve never used before. Some questions that might pop up include which channel or tool to use for specific tasks.

Sometimes they’re not sure what exactly they’re supposed to do in a day, a week or long-term. A lot of them experience blurred lines between work and private life and are never sure when they can stop working and take a rest for the day.

The challenges of remote onboarding for those responsible for new employees

If you’re the one in charge of new employees, you have to make sure that the whole process runs smoothly. The first thing that comes to mind here is to make sure everybody in the team is introduced to the new members. You also have to think about how to achieve emotional connection among remote colleagues.

What goes without saying is that you’re not physically there, so you can’t see facial expressions. That means that you can’t notice when a new member is confused or needs assistance. You have to make sure that communication is open and that someone is always available if new colleagues need help.

Best practices in remote onboarding

1. Introduction

Send an introductory email or message to the whole team to let them know that you have a new team member.

After that, organize a video call with the whole team (with cameras turned on, of course) where everybody will say a few words about themselves and what they do. Follow up with individual calls with team members with whom they will work most closely.

Make sure that you provide your new hires with information on the organisational structure of the company. Basically – who’s who, accompanied by photos so they can connect names, faces and roles.

Share your schedules in a calendar so that everyone’s availability is visible.

2. Set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly priorities and goals

Another important issue in remote onboarding is setting clear goals, objectives and priorities on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Make sure you write them down and send them to your new hires.

If your new hires know precisely what they need to get done in a specific period, they will act more confidently. This will also improve their work-life balance which is necessary for a healthy body and mind.

Daily check-ups and regular weekly and monthly meetings are necessary to make sure your new colleagues feel a sense of belonging to the team and to provide continuous support.

3. Explain the use of different tools and communication channels

Many companies use different communication channels for different tasks and activities. For example, Slack can be used for daily communication about different projects and sending documents. More formal communication, especially with your clients, could be done via business email.

You have to make all the tools available and explain the usage. That means setting up all the tools and apps, including explaining the basic things like usernames, passwords and features, all the way to providing extensive training in using them if necessary.

4. Training

Important information and instructions should always come in written or video form since what is communicated orally easily gets forgotten or misunderstood.

Videos are a more and more popular form of learning. Simple instructional videos are a great way to give your new hires a learning source they can always return to.

You can also organise one-on-one meetings with the team members who will explain more complex tasks.

In the end

We hope you found this advice useful and that you’ll implement some tips into your own remote onboarding programs. If you’re interested in finding out more, feel free to contact us.