Believe it or not, people have been working from home for decades. Yet, this type of work arrangement has never been in the spotlight as much as it is now. Of course, this is due to the spread of the novel coronavirus which made working remotely our new normal. Companies around the world scrambled to support working from home, introducing new policies and practices. And when the opportunity to hire new employees arose, another problem appeared — how to onboard remote employees.
Well, it’s not as difficult as it appears. In fact, many businesses have been doing it for years now, with or without a pandemic. Indeed, there has been a 159% increase in remote work since 2005. So, remote staff are not an exception anymore — they are a big part of the workforce. Naturally, companies need to adjust the onboarding process to this work arrangement. Those who do it effectively achieve the following things:
Whether you’re still working remotely due to the pandemic or, like Twitter, you’ve introduced a permanent remote-work policy, we’re here to make this work arrangement possible. In this article, you’ll learn how to onboard remote employees and more!
Employee onboarding involves a series of activities that enable new members to get to know their colleagues and company. It is through this process that new employees acquire knowledge, skills, tools, and behaviors they need to become productive members of your company.
Obviously, onboarding means different things for employees and employers. For employees, it is a chance to get used to a new setting. On the other hand, for employers, it’s an opportunity to share all the elements that will help workers be successful.
By all accounts, it’s clear how the employee onboarding experience can affect your business. Namely, effective onboarding programs improve productivity and increase employee retention. A recent study revealed that 62% of companies with a structured onboarding process report higher time-to-productivity. Onboarding doesn’t only positively affect businesses — it also makes employees 58% more likely to stay in the company after three years. Our point is — remote work or not, the onboarding process is important today.
The period of onboarding new employees can last anywhere from a few weeks to three months. This actually depends on the position and company, and other factors. Some remote businesses want to train their new employee in two weeks. On the other hand, there are those that onboard remote employees for up to a year.
How long you onboard remote employees depends, well, on you and your long-term objectives. Just make sure to create a process that will benefit your remote team members. Only like this will they decide to continue working for your company.
So, you’ve expanded your team and you’re wondering how to onboard new employees. Well, don’t overflow them with information; execute the process in stages. You want your new hires to feel comfortable during their first few weeks. Therefore, our advice is to think from their perspective and visualize their journey. In this way, you’ll appreciate how their needs change and evolve over time.
Furthemore, you should break down the remote employee journey into four different stages. Trust us, it’ll be easier to detect what needs improving and what doesn’t. Many HR experts agree that there are four onboarding phases today:
To answer your question regarding how to onboard remote employees effectively, we’ll delve deeper into these stages below.
Pre-onboarding is that period between when your remote employee accepts the job and their first day of work. Use this space to address certain procedures before they officially start working for you. But don’t just go over the formalities with them. Ease their worries. A successful pre-onboarding process helps you welcome new employees and calm them before their first day.
So, this is an important phase during the process of onboarding remote employees. Not only does it help them focus on work, but it also makes them feel welcome. As most remote workers don’t start the job immediately, they can have second thoughts about the position. In fact, some studies say that 28% of new employees quit even before day one. Therefore, it’s crucial to fill this time with communication to boost employee engagement and commitment.
Moving down our “How to onboard remote employees” list and we have orientation. This phase is as important as the first one. Why is that? Easy, because orientation helps new hires adjust to their job while keeping them motivated. During this stage, your new employees complete the necessary paperwork. But, as you know, onboarding isn’t all about paperwork and formalities. It’s more about making your remote workers feel like a part of the family.
In other words, this phase informs employees about their responsibilities, clearing all doubts they might have about their position. Then, they learn about the company’s history and find out who’s who in the organization. Just think how good of an impression you can leave with an effective orientation. Your employees will see that you’re committed to their development and providing them with resources they need to do a great job.
In addition to this, other benefits of the orientation phase are:
Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. We prepare for the first day of work, wondering what awaits us. What kind of task will we get? What do they expect from us? Well, we don’t have the answers until we turn our computers and see what our employer wants. This experience won’t be any different for your remote workers. So, you need to carefully prepare this stage.
When you onboard remote employees you need to clearly present the first project, making sure to remove any doubts. Your employees will appreciate this because they will get up to speed without feeling overwhelmed. Don’t forget to follow this process for two weeks at most.
Congratulations, you’re now at the last phase of the remote onboarding process! If you follow all the phases correctly, then your new remote employee will be fully onboarded in a matter of weeks. However, this doesn’t mean that the process is over. Quite the contrary, this is when you push a little harder and try to give your team member continued support.
Most experts agree that this ongoing period lasts for a few months. After this time, it’s expected that employees have gotten completely comfortable, marking the end of the whole onboarding process.
Okay, now that we’ve gone over the above, we can conclude our “How to onboard remote employees” article with useful tips!
We hope that you’ve realized that onboarding isn’t optional. It’s a sure-fire way to help remote employees learn the basics of their jobs, discover corporate culture, and get tools that will help them be successful. And it’s comforting to see that most businesses have realized the benefits of the onboarding process. Namely, 95% of companies state that they use onboarding. This isn’t surprising at all. First impressions matter and will impact how your new employees perceive your company.
Regardless of whether work from home is your permanent or temporary policy, how to onboard remote employees is probably on your mind. Let’s give you an idea by listing some useful tips for your business.
This is a given. Failure to take care of the most basic parts of remote operations disappoints your employees. Trust is the basis of your remote team success, so you should do your part to create a reliable environment.
As an employer, always be quick with your offers and contracts. Show how serious you are by sorting all legal aspects before your remote employee is set to start working. In this day and age, everything can be finished virtually. You can send contracts via email and respond promptly to any question.
Working remotely means that communication is done online. Therefore, you need to determine which messaging and video conferencing apps you’ll use to connect with your team. Without these software, remote employees will feel like they can’t ask you any questions. Avoid this challenge by thinking a few steps ahead. Send emails to your new employees detailing which apps to use and how to keep in touch.
We’re sure we don’t need to stress that digitizing all documentation is a must. From employee handbooks to information regarding company culture and history, everything should be in electronic form. A digital employee handbook will especially come in handy. You should write everything you believe a team member should know about your business. This can include:
This will create a sense of organization that your employees crave.
Many professionals who prefer telecommuting are hardworking and self-sufficient. But, some of them may think they need to prove they’re working their fingers to the bone to be visible. As a result, they might experience burnout or believe they’re unappreciated.
Thus, as a manager, you need to prevent these issues before they occur. You can start by arranging schedules that work for your employees. Gradually, you can even develop routines for them. When remote employees get a sense of what’s expected from them, they will find time to take a breather and relax.
Today, online platforms are advancing so quickly that sometimes we can’t even keep track of them. Because of these platforms, remote training has become easier than ever before. All you need is a little planning to make this possible.
Firstly, think about where you can host your employee training videos. Most companies decide to find an online platform that satisfies all of their needs. If you’re after a powerful yet affordable video platform, Brid.TV is an attractive option. By hosting and managing your videos on the Brid.TV video platform, your remote employees will enjoy all the features a super-fast video player has to offer.
Then, you need to decide what kind of video you will provide. For instance, you can make a video regarding your company culture. Alternatively, you can teach your new employees how to use your online network or tell them a thing or two about your product or service. Just make sure to plan every aspect of the video and include all those things your employees need to know.
Once you create your video, you can post it in a few easy steps on the Brid.TV platform. Our software doesn’t require any technical know-how — the whole interface is user-friendly! For more, contact us and check our website.
It’s safe to say that onboarding remote employees is uncharted territory for most companies. Whether you’re new to this work arrangement or already employ remote workers, don’t disregard the onboarding process. Trust us, your new employees will have a high opinion of you if you come across as organized.
We hope that our article will provide you with valuable ideas to navigate this process. Once you implement our tips, you can brag to people that you know how to onboard remote employees. For more on remote work, check this article. Best of luck!