Adapting to the new normal – 6 steps to successfully onboarding an employee virtually
Remote working in 2021. A novel concept that failed to gain traction prior to COVID-19 has suddenly gained global momentum. With those of us lucky enough to work from home enjoying a drastically shorter commute time, flexible work/life balance and more sleep, the push for a more mobile workforce is now in full force.
As we enter a new age of digital employment, virtual onboarding plays a critical role in talent acquisition and retention. But how do companies develop a strong onboarding experience that leads to long term retention, and all from behind a computer screen?
With more than half our team spread across state and international borders, we’ve become quite the experts. Here are just some of the steps we take to successfully onboard our remote team members.
1. Start strong with great pre-boarding
Whether you’re a hiring manager or a new employee, we all know how frantic the first day can be. Between filling out forms, trying to gain access to various systems, changing passwords and signing contracts, it can all be a bit overwhelming.
This is where a pre-boarding system comes in. Everything a new starter will need for their first day should be prepared and ready to go ahead of time. This includes contract signing and organising hardware, through to providing login details, a detailed guideline on the company’s resources, a chart of the organisation’s structure and anything else they’ll be using day-to-day.
2. The buddy system
Entering into any new workplace can be alienating, even more so when you’re working remotely. There’s little chance of bumping into someone at the coffee machine or turning to the person seated next to you to engage in conversation.
This is where the buddy system comes in. A buddy is a designated co-worker that a new employee can turn to for guidance. A tenured buddy can help a new hire understand the context of each task and provide encouragement, leading to greater employee satisfaction and a quicker understanding of the ins and outs of the company.
When assigning a buddy, it’s important to consider some key factors. Things like great communication skills, someone who exemplifies the company’s values and has a great understanding of day-to-day tasks should be considered.
3. Learn their communication style
Set aside time to learn your new hire’s strengths, weaknesses, triggers and communication style. While some prefer direct instructions and feedback, others may require a softer approach, and understanding the best way to communicate, provide feedback and guidance for your new hire is vital to ensuring a smoother onboarding process.
4. Outline tasks and set expectations
Utilise checklists to help keep your new hires focused and engaged. By creating a clear outline of tasks that need to be completed, it helps set expectations, allows you to track their progress and gives them a sense of accomplishment as they tick each task off the list.
5. Book regular check-ins
Great onboarding is also about creating a development plan and building on their knowledge and skill set. By scheduling regular check-ins, you can track their progress, highlight areas that need improvement, understand their hurdles, and celebrate their successes. It also provides you, the hiring manager, a great opportunity to learn what areas of your onboarding process works well and what needs fine-tuning. After all, recruitment is not just a one-time thing so it’s important to ensure you’re continuously refining your onboarding template.
6. Get the team involved
Don’t let the lack of in-person face time get in the way of building a relationship with your new team member. Encouraging your team to reach out and engage in non-work related conversations can go a long way in fostering a team bond and building great communication skills.
With a lack of a water cooler or coffee machine to gather around, we can safely say that in a remote work setting the opportunity for casual conversations are few and far between. While some may not place a high importance on non-workplace related chit chats, these are the conversations that allow us to get to know our team members beyond their office personas.
Want to learn more about how we work and job opportunities at Spenda? Visit our careers page today.