Onboarding Remote Workers the Right Way
Retention begins even before your new hire’s first day and is reinforced with the onboarding process. The seeds of retention are planted here, especially with remote workers. Since they do not have physical contact with their hiring manager and colleagues, it is essential to have a strong onboarding process with a focus on retention.
Bringing on a new team member can be a huge relief not only to management but to the team as a whole, especially if the new person is filling a stubborn vacancy. The hiring manager may feel as if they have completed the hiring process when the new hire arrives for their first day. However, the first day is when the real work begins. The first 30, 60, and 90 days that follow are even more important than the time it took interview and received an accepted offer.
When your new hire is a remote worker, this period is even more critical. The time during onboarding will ensure the success or failure of your new team member. Without a comprehensive onboarding strategy, you run the risk of the new person feeling isolated. If this occurs, retaining them could be nearly impossible without corrective measures.
There are five critical elements to successful remote employee onboarding strategies.
Schedule – There are two distinct types of remote work, highly structured or highly flexible. It is vital to be completely transparent with expectations are hours of work, especially if the kind of work requires the person to be physically at their desk and online during specific hours of the day.
Communication – Feelings of isolation begin when a new hire is uncertain on how to properly communicate with their leader and colleagues. Feeling of separation will be overwhelming if there is not a clear plan for regular check-ins during the first 30 days or who to get in touch with during the day when questions or issues arise. Most organizations have policies or guidelines on communication, such as when to email versus call versus send a message via instant message or text. If you do not have this type of process, it would be best to create one not only for your remote staff but also for those in the office.
Goals – When people have a clear roadmap, they are more productive. Set goals with your new hire, so they understand your expectations of them during the onboarding process. Having clear goals will increase engagement and get them up and running quickly.
Assign a buddy or mentor – Even though the new team member is not physically in the office, they should receive all of the advantages of their office-bound colleagues. Assigning a buddy or mentor will give them a point of contact for questions or concerns. A mentor will not only allow them to build relationships but will boost the confidence of a seasoned team member while freeing up your time to focus on your work.
Record your orientation conversations – When starting a new position, there can be a lot to learn and absorb. During your initial orientation call and daily check-ins with your new hire, utilize a video conference tool such as Zoom and record those conversations. Recording the conversation will allow the new team to focus on the conversation instead of trying to take notes. They can then refer back to that conversation as needed.
When onboarding performed properly, it is a win-win situation for everyone involved, including yourself, your existing team, and the new hire. Making a new remote team member feel welcome will allow them to feel integrated quicker, which will make them more productive, it will also increase the likelihood that you will be able to retain that individual longer.
What Millennials Want but Don’t Get at Work – https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/what-millennials-want-but-dont-get-at-work.html
Is the Shorter Workweek for Everyone? – https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/four-day-workweek.aspx
How to Onboard Remote Employees – https://www.ere.net/how-to-onboard-remote-employees/
Why Employees Need Both Recognition and Appreciation – https://hbr.org/2019/11/why-employees-need-both-recognition-and-appreciation
Your Employee Recognition System is Stuck in The Past: Use These 3 Strategies to Give Your Team the Feedback They Need – https://www.inc.com/gene-hammett/your-employee-recognition-system-is-stuck-in-past-use-these-3-strategies-to-give-your-team-feedback-they-need.html
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