Starting a new job can be a rollercoaster of an experience. It’s a fresh start that can bring with it a multitude of conflicting feelings, such as excitement and stress. Although the start of a new job can be a tough time with a huge learning curve for new hires, today’s remote business world makes the process of acclimating even more difficult. Without the presence of colleagues and personal connections, new hires need an exceptional onboarding process now more than ever! Great employee onboarding is a crucial component of employee retention and engagement. Thankfully, a virtual onboarding can be just as impactful by keeping a few handy tips in mind.
Make the most of the pre-boarding period by reaching out and welcoming new hires before their official start date. In the days leading up to a new hire’s first day, relieve job stress with clear communication and relay expectations and procedures of the onboarding process. Knowing what to expect can help with the first-day jitters!
In addition to communication, make sure the new hire is equipped with the necessary technology as soon as possible. Since monitors, keyboards, and other tools will most likely need to be shipped or picked up, arrange to have everything in order well before the start date. This includes setting up credentials and loading company software and programs onto the new hire’s equipment.
It is important to set the right tone for a new employee’s first experience on the job. Ensuring that they feel welcome can go a long way in making a positive first impression. After all, onboarding is just as much about helping the new employee feel comfortable in their role as it is about teaching them what they need to know. To build team spirit, consider sending the new hire a ‘welcome package’, which can include company swag and even a treat from a local bakery. This is also a good time to encourage team members to send over a welcome email and connect with them on LinkedIn.
Connecting new hires with their peers is an invaluable part of the virtual onboarding process. Since the new hire can’t benefit from the natural network-building that happens in-person, facilitating connections becomes a key part of helping the employee feel like a valued member of the company. Set up one-on-ones or team meetings to help the new hire learn more about his or her team.
When you are remotely onboarding a new employee, it is better to overcommunicate than to not communicate enough. While it might seem like too much communication will be overwhelming, chances are that the new hire has more questions than you would expect! Overcommunication helps them get answers to those questions and feel confident that they are prepared to tackle their responsibilities. Share company processes and norms, schedules, team availabilities, and resources. Having access to team resources in an organized location can be an invaluable tool for a new remote employee. Since they don’t have the opportunity to drop by a co-worker or manager’s desk to ask a quick question, having useful resources to refer to quickly can be very helpful!
Check in with the new employee and set up a schedule to regularly touch base with them. You want to make sure that the new hire feels welcome to ask questions and share any concerns. An open-door policy should be in place virtually, just as it is for new hires onboarded in the office. These sessions are also a great opportunity to provide feedback to the new hire. Setting aside a dedicated time to give developmental feedback can help the new employee get a better idea of their progress. Since non-verbal communication can be lost virtually, making time for feedback during a virtual check-in is very necessary for a new hire’s growth and progress.
Finally, remember to share the company’s values and culture with the newest team member. Employee engagement and satisfaction rely heavily on an organization’s culture and sharing that can lead to a motivated and productive employee. Brainstorm different ways to share what is important to the company and what it’s culture looks like. Try hosting a live session with various company leaders, managers, and colleagues who can communicate the company’s values and how they are implemented. You can also make it more casual by demonstrating the culture through a variety of activities such as virtual lunches or happy hours, team competitions, and online games.
With these tips in mind, you are on your way to creating a great virtual onboarding experience for your newest employees! Have you implemented any other tips during your remote onboardings? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.