Navigating Remote Onboarding Amid COVID-19

Strong onboarding practices will ensure smooth transitions for both the employee and employer for both remote-first companies and those who are temporarily operating remotely due to the pandemic. Making employees feel welcome from the very beginning, especially through the onboarding process, is crucial since most employees stay with a company longer if they had a positive onboarding experience. Implementing remote onboarding techniques can seem challenging and overwhelming. When workers are onboarded remotely as part of a virtual team, it brings on its own unique set of difficulties. Luckily, there are remote onboarding practices to incorporate to achieve an efficient process for everyone involved.

Top 9 Remote Onboarding Strategies

Clear Milestones

The main component to effectively onboard remote employees is to develop a detailed onboarding plan, covering every aspect of the onboarding process and milestones to measure how an employee is progressing. Plans that already exist for on-site employees can often be altered to become more suitable for remote employees. Setting timelines for plan milestones will help remote employees structure and remain productive while settling into their new role. Those hiring can also include a Q&A section to help familiarize employees with company culture and important processes.

Welcome Pack

Welcome packs can be distributed electronically to new remote employees prior to their first onboarding session. This should include information such as the telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of important colleagues that the employee will be working with. All general information they may find useful within their first months at the company should be available in the welcome pack.

A welcome video can also be a great way to create an immediate sense of belonging as part of the team. This video should help employees feel at ease in their new work environment and allow them to get to know the company and the employees.

Access to Business-Critical Tools

Login credentials for business-critical tools should be shared and accessed with ease. Any online accounts that new employees must access to do their job effectively should be provided and explained. By familiarizing new remote employees as soon as possible with these tools, they can become a productive member of the team. A guide should be provided to explain which tools are used and how to use them. Then how login credentials are shared should be addressed.  Usernames and passwords are comparable to giving an employee a set of keys to the office, so care must be taken when sharing them. Using software to protect passwords is also essential. Credentials should be distributed easily, securely, and quickly to new employees without compromising the remote working infrastructure.

Onboarding in Groups

Onboarding new employees in groups can help make the process less stressful for both the employees and employers and is an easy way for new team members to get to know fellow employees quickly.  These sessions can help introduce the new remote employees to other new team members they may haven’t had the chance to meet while providing a communication platform to build stronger relationships throughout different areas of the company. Onboarding in groups will also promote a sense of belonging, which is especially crucial with remote employees who don’t get those face-to-face interactions in the workplace.

Off-site Gatherings

One of the biggest challenges that remote employees face is the feeling of isolation. A successful remote onboarding program will address this issue and create a sense of belonging as soon as possible. Having at least one off-site gathering allows new employees to meet other team members in person and create stronger relationships. It can also make the difference between a high and low employee turnover rate. For those working from geographically distant locations, a social meeting via a web conference can be organized. While it may not be the same as a physical gathering, it is still helpful.

Check-in Regularly

Checking in regularly with a new employee allows for effective onboarding assessment. Using the onboarding plan milestones to promptly assess the employee’s performance and swiftly address any potential issues is very important. Checking in also allows proper feedback on the process to refine the plan so that both the company and future employees can reap the benefits. Sending an e-mail or arranging a video call can go a long way.

Collaborative Learning

Providing opportunities to learn from each other will bring yet another way of building a strong team-oriented culture. This can be done by video mentoring sessions where more experienced team members show new remote employees the ropes and become well-versed in their roles or implement educational learning sessions.

Manager Training

Since remote workers face their own unique set of challenges, managers must receive the appropriate training. If training goes overlooked, managers may fall back to traditional methods rather than optimizing the onboarding and on-going support of remote workers. Managers should be trained on how to manage remote employees by using corresponding communication platforms.

Remote-friendly Culture

Investments must be put forth to establish a remote-friendly workplace so that everyone feels included, irrespective of where they work. Remote workers commonly feel like they are not truly part of the team, which significantly affects their productivity and their experience of the work environment. Constant communication and involvement with team members can make all the difference.

Team members should organize a video call with the new remote employee to welcome them into the team and explain their role. Remote-friendly culture can also be achieved by treating all employees equally and fairly, regardless of whether they are on or off-site.

About World Wide Specialty Programs

For the last 50 years, World Wide Specialty Programs has dedicated itself to providing the optimal products and solutions for the staffing industry. As the only insurance firm to be an ASA commercial liability partner, we are committed to that partnership and committed to using our knowledge of the industry to provide staffing firms with the best possible coverage. For more information about Staffing Professional Liability Insurance or any other coverage, we have available to protect your staffing business, give us a call at (877) 256-0468 to speak with one of our representatives.