What is remote onboarding?
Remote onboarding, also known as virtual onboarding, is the process of incorporating new hires into an organization, familiarising them with the company culture and policies, without the conventional onboarding meetings that takes place in a physical workplace. Instead, the onboarding takes place via video conferencing, webinars, and other virtual remote onboarding technologies.
Remote onboarding is inherently similar to face-to-face onboarding, except that it uses virtual tools to help new hires transition into the workplace. And just like the conventional process, remote onboarding processes should help employees:
- Understand their role and duties
- Get a hang of the online platform they’ll utilize
- Become familiar with the organization culture, strategies, and conventions
- Meet their fellow teammates
- Get a warm welcome
Challenges in remote onboarding
When an organization is transitioning to remote onboarding programs from a face-to-face one, they can be caught with challenges and opportunities.
1. Making a human connection
One of the major challenges with remote onboarding is to integrate and familiarise new hires with the company culture. Ideally, the new employees need to connect with real people in a physical environment to give them the help they need throughout the process. In a virtual environment, establishing a direct human connection is challenging but not impossible, and must still be given precedence.
2. Engaging the new remote hires
Whether it’s for new employees or existing ones, keeping them engaged has always been a challenge; And this extends to remote onboarding, as well. When converting the face-to-face onboarding experience to a virtual one, converting them into recorded webinars and presentations, can be a draining experience for both the new recruits and the ones conducting the onboarding. The medium in inefficient, turns the learners into passive viewers, and doesn’t convey the company culture spirit adequately.
3. Access to technology and content
Due to a remote onboarding, new employees may often not have the access to resources afforded to full-time employees. If an organisation provides laptops or smartphones for employees to use for work, then it often takes days or even weeks before these resources can be distributed to the new employees. Employers also need to factor in accessibility and networking infrastructure when designing a remote onboarding process.
Tips for effective remote onboarding
If it’s designing a remote onboarding process from scratch or optimizing the existing remote onboarding, here are some tips to ensure it will be an effective and helpful process for remote employees.
1. Start on the right foot by sending the new employee a welcome email
Greet new employees with a warm welcome mail, and include a host of useful resources such as a checklist of procedures to get them set-up for their duties, information about their team, company culture, vision, mission and values.
2. Organize and save time
Prepare the remote onboarding checklist in advance of the employee joining. Onboarding is a tedious and most crucial process of an employee’s journey, and sets the stage for the quality that expected of the organization.
3. Create a Buddy system
Match up new employees with a buddy, who can mentor them, answer their questions, and introduce them to other employees in the teams.
4. Check-in with new recruits regularly
It is important to maintain communication, especially while working remotely. The lack of visibility can leave managers and remote employees to be frustrated. Therefore, you can use the remote onboarding process as an opportunity to set your expectations and provide the new employees with opportunities to sync-up after the onboarding process is complete.
Remote onboarding can be a challenging ordeal. But it is the first and most crucial step in building a relationship with a new employee. With thoughtful and strategic planning, and some help from intelligent software, remote onboarding can help new employees transition smoothly, improve the chances of employee retention, and overall job satisfaction. Set employees up to be successful from the get go.