7 Tips for Onboarding Employees Remotely
What if a single change to how you do business could boost employee retention?
A whopping 69% of employees will stay with a company for three years or more if they have a great onboarding experience. Putting in just a little more effort in onboarding employees can lock down talent for a good, long time.
Of course, ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, more workplaces have been entirely remote. And employers have struggled to properly onboard their remote employees.
Interesting in better onboarding for your own remote employees? Keep reading to discover the secrets!
Why Onboarding Employees Is So Important
Below, we have our top tips for onboarding employees remotely. Before we go any further, though, it’s important to talk about why onboarding is so important.
As we noted before, onboarding is the key to employee retention. The average turnover rate for American businesses is 26.3%. Replacing employees you lose can cost up to twice the salary that an employee was earning, and this has caused national businesses to lose over a trillion dollars each year.
Having a remote workforce is supposed to save your company money, but that won’t matter if you have to constantly replace employees. Following the tips below can help you save money while also building worker loyalty and ensuring a better performance by employees across the board.
1. Ready Their Equipment
When it comes to onboarding remote employees, some of the tips are pretty straightforward. For example, you need to make sure they have all the equipment they’ll need before day one. This includes company-issued laptops, phones, or any other specialized equipment.
The whole point of onboarding is to make sure that a new employee is ready to hit the ground running sooner rather than later. But without the equipment at hand, the employee is effectively going to need an additional onboarding session once everything arrives.
2. The Buddy System
One of the biggest difficulties of a remote workforce is creating a great team culture. While our guide includes some tips on creating a supportive culture, the simple fact is that it’s tougher to build team spirit, especially in new employees, when they never have to share a room with their coworkers.
That’s why we recommend the buddy system. The new employee should have a veteran employee assigned as their remote “buddy.” This isn’t so much a dedicated mentor as it is someone who can help show them the ropes.
For example, chances are that you have prepared extensive training videos, reading, and other materials to help prepare a new hire. When the new employee inevitably has questions about how things work, the remote buddy can quickly provide answers and, if needed, explanations.
3. Create a Checklist
One of the better techniques for employee onboarding is to provide new employees with a checklist of goals for the first week. And the checklist is effective because it accomplishes two major goals at the same time.
First, it helps the new hire verify exactly what they need to do next. This is often a fear of new employees: that they won’t know what to do or that they will get in trouble for doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Second, it actually builds confidence for new employees to check various items off the list. If you really want employees to hit the ground running, the checklist lets them build pride in everything they have gotten done in the first week.
4. The Company Vision
Ideally, onboarding for new employees is about more than just reviewing how to use equipment and how to perform their duties. New employees should also learn more about your company’s vision for the future.
Your business has a “big picture” in mind for what you hope to accomplish. Employees are how you will turn the big picture into a reality. But they can’t do that if they don’t know what the picture is!
Long story short? Make sure remote onboarding informs new employees about your company’s mission and values and how your products and services tie into this.
5. Emphasize Remote Policies
It’s an open secret that switching to remote work has been difficult for many employers and employees alike. The reason is simple: there are fundamental differences between remote work and in-house work.
If you want remote employees to thrive, it’s important to create a remote work policy for workers and share it with new hires on day one. Mechanically, this helps make sure they learn how to complete various aspects of their remote work. But it’s also the single best way to make your expectations for remote employees clear.
6. Introduce the Team
Earlier, we touched on the importance of giving a new hire their own “remote buddy.” But they need to know they can rely on the entire team. And before they can rely on that team, they need to meet them!
There are a few ways to do this. Perhaps the simplest way is to have the employee write a few sentences about themselves and you can share it via email or Slack with the rest of the team. In turn, this gives the rest of the team a chance to write a friendly greeting back to the new hire.
Arguably a better way to make introductions is to do a video chat “meet and greet.” This low-pressure environment can help the new hire develop team spirit while putting names to faces.
7. Supportive Culture Is Key
Speaking of low-pressure video chats, those are a crucial part of creating a supportive culture. And having a more supportive culture is great for new hires as well as veteran employees.
First, try to hold a virtual meeting every week or two that encourages employees to share new ideas. This sends a message: everyone’s ideas and contributions are valued.
Second, try to mix in a virtual lunch hour with employees once or twice a month. You can provide conversation starters about hot topics like how to maintain that elusive work/life balance. This gives everyone a chance to bond and helps new hires feel right at home.
Onboarding Employees: Take Things to the Next Level
Onboarding employees remotely is very difficult. But what if you could make everything about remote work that much easier?
We specialize in helping companies expand around the nation and even around the world. And we can help with hiring and managing talent, workplace organization, and so much more.
To discover what we can do for your own remote workforce, just contact us today!