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Recruitment 101: Best Practices for Remote Onboarding

April 20, 2022 0 Comments

Remote onboarding can be more challenging than in-person, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to make the process as smooth as possible.

From absorbing guidelines and organisational policy to installing and learning new software, the onboarding process can be lengthy and is at times even a little tedious, but remains obviously an integral gateway to getting a new employee ready for their new role.

The trend towards more flexible and remote work means that remote onboarding of new employees is becoming more the norm, which adds a new layer of complexity to the process. But if planned well, remote onboarding can be just as effective as in-person.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Set-up the tech early

The rise of remote onboarding and work means that tech has never been more important, so prior to commencement day, ensure new employees have an introductory session with your IT department. 

Get company-provided tech to them well in advance so they can get familiar with it and to allow IT to troubleshoot any set-up issues. IT can then take them through all the tech requirements for the onboarding process and their day-to-day role, such as comms channels, video conferencing and other in-house systems their role needs to be across.

2. Make it personal

There’s a reasonable chance that your new recruit has never set foot inside the organisation having just been through an entirely remote recruitment process.

So, besides ensuring they have all the tech they need to hit the ground running on day one, make them feel welcome with some personal touches to help bridge the gap remote working can create.

A ‘care package’ containing company products or information and a personal welcome from a direct report will help bridge this gap, as will assigning an onboarding buddy who can be another shoulder to virtually tap when questions arise – particularly about non-role related issues such as company culture – during the remote onboarding and in their first weeks in the role.

3. Be slightly over prepared

That old scout motto – be prepared – has never been more apt when it comes to remote onboarding.

This doesn’t mean adding massive amounts of extra onboarding time, modules or material and in doing so making the process more arduous. But it will ensure that smaller details won’t be missed that more organically emerge in discussion during in-person onboarding. 

One specific aspect of this will be spending more time than usual elaborating on company culture, something a new employee often picks up more casually via observations and interactions when onsite. While this might feel a little laboured or overly ‘hand-holding’, it’s far preferable to someone having to guess what is expected of them and potentially slipping up because crucial organisational cultural aspects have not been made clear.

Gorilla Jobs Blog Best Practices for Remote Onboarding Woman Typing On Laptop In Lap On The Floor At Home With Cup Of Tea
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

4. Define expectations, set achievable and measurable goals

Working through learning modules and training sessions are the fundamentals to educate a new employee on everything they need to get the job done.

The counterbalance to this is carefully defining expectations of the role and setting some short or medium outcomes or goals to set them on the path to fulfilling the role’s expectations by illustrating how the role works in practical terms. Once these have been established, schedule a check-in chat for 2-3 months later to offer feedback and either build on the goals already set or launch into new more aspirational ones.

5. Connecting to the team

Helping your new employee feel part of the team has added challenges with remote onboarding because there is no practical, physical opportunity for water-cooler, in-passing, over-a-coffee conversations that can be had face-to-face in an office environment.

To overcome this, ensure they have a full list of key contacts, particularly around specific support, but also go one step further and set up a mix of both formal and less formal one-on-ones with different people in both their team and across the wider organisation.

This provides the longer-reaching benefit of ensuring strong relationships are established early and has the additional benefit of helping a new employee avoid getting stuck in same-network silos, and maybe taking much longer to get a feel for company culture.

The new recruit’s onboarding buddy should also reach out for a virtual coffee or lunch occasionally during those first few weeks to further personalise the experience. And finally, as their direct report, check in regularly with them to get a feel for where they are at with the process.

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