The task of onboarding new hires remotely is not just a mere online exercise, but a complex process with multiple activities and participants. As a remote new hire, you need a great start. This entails that your employer has to provide you with all the tools for full integration. This refers both to tangible tools, such as a computer, and to non-tangible tools, such as skills developed through training. In the case of remote workers, e-learning for employees can ensure that all new hires gain the knowledge they need to be successful.
Onboarding remote employees will contribute to you acquiring the comfort and confidence to contribute positively and productively to your employer’s growth. This is especially crucial when dealing with highly technical jobs. This is the reason why we have drafted a separate article discussing software developer onboarding.
Getting off to a Fast Start
A new beginning in a workplace is synonymous with anxiety, anticipation, and uncertainty. However, this can be surmounted by creating an effective remote onboarding. A structured remote onboarding process relies on documentation: a checklist, a plan, a flowchart. All are examples of how your employer can communicate to you all the steps of your journey.
When you receive all information you need even before the first day, you simply know that your employer has been preparing for your arrival. There is a clear strategy in place, a clear plan and a clear journey. You know that if you show up and bring your best intentions and capabilities, you are safe and ready for success. All this will provide you with the confidence to get started.
Setting up Technology before the Start Date
A structured IT Onboarding will be set in motion as early as you sign your contract. What are the tools you need in order to start contributing? Are you familiar with all these tools? Or maybe you need additional support? Figuring the answers to all these questions is of utmost importance. And it all should happen before you start working. As a remote worker, you don’t afford showing up to an office and waiting on someone to set your PC for you on the spot. You are alone in your home office. Your employer has to take care of everything. That might include shipping you the equipment, or providing you with the funds for you to order what you need.
Some employers will offer an online session with the IT department of your company to show youaround the key work tools. Or, you can access a learning library with specific courses for each tool: the video conferencing platform, communication channel, and other systems work.
Also, when such an exercise is done before the start date, it will help minimise technical issues that could truncate the outcome of your orientation day.
Emphasis on Team Dynamics & Building a Broader Network
Placing an emphasis on team dynamics and building a broader network helps achieve foundational relationships, trust, and collaboration between the remote workers and the company. You cannot drop by someone’s office to ask for help or say hi when you work remotely. You cannot learn how people do things around simply by observing.
Onboarding remote employees has to aid the understanding of the company’s cultural ethics. Furthermore, it is designed to establish the right connection between the individual’s work and the broader organisational mission, vision, and goals.
Thus, your remote onboarding has to keep social interactions at the core. You can have lunch meetings with your team, or a coffee break. Additionally, meet & greets across departments are also important. You are not an individual that just contributes to a project. You are a piece of a larger puzzle, and you need to understand how the various pieces combine to achieve the end product.
Proper Planning of Tasks
The process of onboarding new employees remotely will be slightly different depending on your role and level of experience. Thus, junior workers cannot be expected to deliver the same results as more senior workers. At the same time, however, a senior developer cannot start writing code from day one, maybe not even from week one. The more complex a project or product, the more time you will need to understand all of its complexity.
And let’s also mention cases of new manager onboarding. A manager will require additional activities focused on understanding the leadership style and business goals.
All of these examples are to illustrate one key fact. You need a realistic outline of tasks and deadlines. Additionally, you need realistic integration and success measurement metrics for your onboarding.
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to begin with a small project and then grow from there. This ensures active participation of the remote employees and learning by doing.