If you haven’t heard of remote working in the past few years, you’re one of few! Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses into lockdown, working from home has taken off. The number of remote workers has increased by 24 percent since 2021, showing that global businesses fully embrace remote work.
But the world of conducting meetings in your pajama bottoms and skipping the commute also comes with its fair share of challenges. In particular, hiring and onboarding staff can be tough when you never meet them face-to-face. To ensure you have smooth, successful processes to make it easier, we’ve put together our top tips to help your new talent thrive.
1. Look Out for Key Remote Working SkillsWhen hiring staff to work remotely, you must identify key skills that’ll ensure they suit the role. Remote workers must:
- Have good time management skills.
- Be happy working on their own and communicating with a team and customers.
- Have fantastic organizational skills.
- Be able to easily work with new technology and software.
- Be proactive and productive.
Look for evidence of these must-haves during your hiring process, or ask for evidence of these skills in past work-life situations.
2. Conduct Thorough Background ChecksFair Credit reports that 95 percent of employers run background checks on applicants for job positions—and for a good reason. These checks can verify that the information provided is correct, giving you a better idea of whether the potential hire is trustworthy and ensuring they meet business requirements. Just because you’re not seeing the new staff member in an office every day doesn’t mean they don’t need thorough background checks.
We recommend conducting your checks as soon as possible to ensure an easy hiring/onboarding process. Occasional delays can be an issue, especially if your candidate is from a different country and you don’t want to push back their start date because you didn’t begin their checks on time.
3. Start Pre-Onboarding ProcessesWaiting until the first day to start onboarding isn’t always the best option. Instead, implement a pre-onboarding process to begin as soon as you’ve finalized your candidate choice and make them feel welcome from the get-go. It’ll make the transition into your company much easier, helping them feel relaxed and excited in the build-up to their start date. A positive mindset before they’ve begun working is never a bad thing!
To help them feel instantly a part of your team, send a welcome kit with a few business-branded items, like a sticker of your logo and a branded mug. Provide information about your company culture, key details for their first day, and what they can expect from working with your team. It’s smart to kit your new hire out with any devices or tools they need to get started early, too, so they’re ready to go when their first day arrives. Fun office supplies, a congratulatory card, and a few little treats never go amiss either.
Your welcome kit should be informative, beginning to guide them through the onboarding process, but also fun, helping your new staff member feel the buzz of your workplace.
4. Meet the Team SessionsOn their first day, make it a priority for your new employee to meet at least some of the team. Ideally, this will be a laid-back meeting where new and existing staff can chat casually and have downtime, encouraging friendly workplace relationships. Hosting a general knowledge quiz in this session is a smart choice to break the ice and help your team get to know one another.
You can also make your new hire’s journey easier by giving them a mentor. Building effective mentor-mentee relationships is a brilliant way to help your junior staff thrive and improve the speed in which they learn. Be sure to arrange regular calls with their mentor in their first few weeks to discuss how your new employee is getting on.
5. Make Learning About the Role EasyWhether they’re experienced professionals or fresh out of college, one of the most daunting experiences for new hires is getting to know their role.
When working from home, this can be even trickier. You don’t have someone at the next desk to quickly talk to if you have a question, making navigating the first few days harder and lonelier.
It’s your job to ease them into their new position and make learning about their role easier. A few days to do this include giving your new staff member a direct route to a colleague who’s ready and waiting to help them if they need it.
This could be via a phone number or a private Slack channel. Make your new hire aware that they can never ask too many questions, and ensure you create a collaborative, helpful environment for all your staff to work in.
Other tools to make sure your staff settles into the role quickly include:
- Comprehensive virtual training
- Pre-recorded videos about the company and role
- A blog of useful in-house information and resources
- Useful printouts
6. Have Frequent Follow-UpsOnboarding doesn’t end after the first day. Ensure that your new hire’s manager or mentor checks in regularly in the weeks (and even months) that follow their arrival. It doesn’t always have to be a video call, with a quick message via your communications channel to ask how they’re settling in being more than enough.
In the same line of thought, congratulate good work, too. Follow up if you see that they’ve just finished their first task independently or handed in a great piece of work to let them know you’ve noticed. A little positive attention can go a long way to ensure employee satisfaction.