With more organizations transitioning to remote work in response to the coronavirus pandemic, remote onboarding is now a necessity and the new norm. It's extremely important to maintain human connection during this virtual process. Ensuring new hires feel integrated into the company and their respective teams is a critical factor in long-term employee retention. According to Research by Glassdoor, organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
During this new process of remote onboarding that companies have been forced to switch to, it's crucial to utilize an approach that provides the new hire with perspectives from the company level, down to the team level, and lastly to the training level. By doing so, you're able to quickly and effectively onboard the new hire and obtain their buy-in.
1. Company Level
- Share and communicate the company culture.
- Things you would normally pick up informally in a physical setting will now need to be communicated more explicitly remotely, such as communication style and formal vs. casual culture.
- Send new employees links to company articles and videos.
- This is a great way to not only share the knowledge but also to promote the company to the new hire.
- Send new employees company “swag”.
- Having company-branded products help promote a sense of belonging.
- Review the company's mission, vision and core values.
- Without being in the office to see how others behave, placing an emphasis on this during the onboarding process will help instill the correct mentality.
- Share any project or career spotlights.
- Sharing interesting and impactful spotlights with new hires will keep their motivation and engagement levels high.
2. Team Level
- Set up virtual team events.
- Schedule lunch meet & greets, happy hours or coffee breaks.
- Utilize ice breakers, remote games and/or activities to get to know each other.
- Make sure it's not a one-time only event, but a reoccurring one.
- Establish a “buddy” system.
- Assign either a mentor, peer or buddy that the new hire can go to for questions and discussions.
- Share the internal team page (if there is one).
- If your company has an internal team page or directory, share that with the new hire and have them make one for themselves!
3. Training Level
- Ensure a smooth remote setup.
- In terms of logistics and technology, work with the company Helpdesk department ahead of time to set everything up for the new hire; troubleshooting and dealing with technological issues when working remotely can be both frustrating and time consuming.
- Provide digital welcome packets and training documents.
- For documents you would normally give to new hires in person, make sure you create digital versions for ease of sharing.
- Schedule remote shadowing sessions.
- Encourage collaborative learning through remote shadowing sessions with others.
- This is a great way for new hires to pick up both informal social cues and the training topics at hand.
- Take advantage of virtual technology.
- Use technology to give that human connection to remote training, such as instant messaging, phone calls and video check-ins.
- Create remote training alternatives.
- Adapt the new hire training program for a remote experience. Think about what in-person trainings can and should be replaced with a virtual one.
- Get creative with remote training by utilizing different mediums (e.g. PDF checklist, PowerPoint presentation, word doc instructions), technology platforms (e.g. poll, annotation, audio and video steaming, screen share, white board), and a mix of interactive activities (e.g. scavenger hunts, multiple choice quizzes, case studies, mock exercises, group projects).
- Have a concrete new hire training plan.
- Set measurable training goals and communicate expectations clearly at the onset of the training period.