4 Effective Tips for Mastering Remote Onboarding
The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for change for the recruitment industry. While some companies used to offer work from home as a perk to the employees, it has become a norm in the current scenario.
According to a recent survey, the number of permanent remote workers is expected to double and comprise 34.4% of the companies’ workforce compared to 16.4% before the onset of the pandemic.
Additionally, 70 percent of recruiters believe that we are moving towards a hiring process that combines virtual and in-person processes. As virtual recruiting establishes itself in the current recruitment scenario, excelling at onboarding remote employees remains a critical task as well.
4 Tips For Successfully Onboarding A Remote Employee
According to one report, effective onboarding practices have been shown to contribute to companies achieving 2.5 times the revenue growth and 1.9 times the profit margins. However, the onboarding of remote employees comes with its own set of challenges.
Here are four tips for excelling at remote onboarding within the company.
1. Focus on Creating a Connection to the Company
A successful onboarding process is much more than catering to the logistics of getting the right equipment to the new hires. Making the recruits feel like a part of the company culture is another challenge altogether.
The social aspect of onboarding is essential for ensuring that the employees experience high levels of engagement with the company. New remote employees who face negative onboarding experiences are twice as likely to look for alternate opportunities than those who have better experiences.
According to Glassdoor, it takes approximately 24 days on average for a recruiter to fill a position in the US, having an employee quit within the first few days because of negative onboarding experiences is the least desirable outcome. Remote onboarding processes that focus on creating a sense of connection with the company can help avoid this.
Bring in the leadership team for a virtual orientation program to spell out the organizational structure, best practices, and overall company culture for a new hire during the remote onboarding sessions.
Discuss the opportunities for future growth in the employee’s role to create momentum and motivate the new hire. Schedule employee meetings with the hiring manager at regular intervals. This creates opportunities for having two-way communication and acts as a feedback session.
2. Set Clear Expectations for the New Hires
Communication is the key to a successful remote onboarding process. Communicating the expectations is crucial in the case of remote onboarding of employees where a face-to-face connection is missing. One of the critical tasks that the onboarding process needs to accomplish is to provide the employees with a clear picture of how their roles and responsibilities align with the company.
Having clarity on the expectations right from the beginning creates a momentum that the employees can build on, helping them prioritize tasks that genuinely matter and setting down the foundation for future success. It also goes a long way in giving the new team member a sense of purpose.
At the beginning of the onboarding process, a digital orientation program can be a great way of connecting with the new hires. A one-on-one with the manager or assigning a mentor to guide the employees through the initial onboarding ensures that the task lists, goals, and key performance indicators are communicated right from the start. An interactive task list can also bring in transparency, give them control over their work and eliminate the need for daily check-in by managers for updates.
3. Lay Down the Foundation for Virtual Relationship Building When Onboarding
Focus on creating an empowering environment that allows the team members to communicate and collaborate effectively. A virtual onboarding experience can turn out to be isolating if the employees don’t know whom they should turn to for support, query resolution, or problem-solving.
The talent acquisition market is witnessing an overhaul as remote work becomes mainstream. However, building work relationships can get more challenging when working remotely. Companies excelling at remote onboarding use virtual team-building exercises to foster a connection among the team members. You can also appoint an onboarding buddy to share informal advice and help them virtually navigate the onboarding process. Having a designated team member as their onboarding buddy can help create a sense of belonging that exists when joining a physical office.
The most successful case study of relationship-building during the onboarding process is Google’s Buddy Hire Program. The new employees at the company (internally referred to as Nooglers) get a mentor or peer buddy assigned to them. This speeds up their progress towards becoming productive members of their team and contributes towards employee retention.
Microsoft also rolled out a buddy program for their new hires. This program vastly impacted the new hire’s perception of their speed and productivity. 97% of the employees who connected with their buddies more than eight times in their first ninety days reported increasing their productivity levels. Relationship building in the initial duration of employee onboarding adds a layer of support that they can count on, significantly contributing to the new hire’s success in the long term.
4. Take Time to Onboard
According to the Human Capital Institute, the employee onboarding programs at most companies cease after the first week of employees joining, which results in a lot of confusion and possibly discouragement among the new remote workers.
One week is not sufficient for the new remote employee to get acclimatized to the company culture and get the hang of the work they are supposed to do, especially if remote onboarding is taking place.
The onboarding process should span out at least a couple of months. Some companies even allow the first year as their onboarding period. The support the employees receive during the initial period goes a long way in ensuring that the bounce rates stay low and employees can keep their productivity levels high.
Learn More About Onboarding and Hiring Remote Employees
Remote employee onboarding is not a one-and-done affair. It’s an everyday process with actions that go a long way in making the employees feel valued and connect with the company as a whole. Continue to seek feedback and refine the process to make remote onboarding more effective.
A stellar onboarding process focuses on people rather than paperwork and logistics. A structured and strategic hiring process overall is key to ensuring a quality employee experience when joining the organization remotely.
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