Amid all the uncertainty that accompanied the Coronavirus pandemic, many organizations decided to onboard their new hires remotely. This has proven effective for many companies that chose to adopt remote working, and so, the remote onboarding of employees is something that companies are still doing today.
However, remote onboarding presents its own set of challenges; it is almost always more challenging than onboarding employees in-person. Businesses that remotely onboard their new hires may also need to help them transition back to the office if that’s part of the long-term plan.
Let’s take a look at how to onboard remote employees and how you can plan a comprehensive onboarding program.
Why invest in onboarding?
A good onboarding process can make all of the difference in helping new employees understand their role and the responsibilities that come with it. Two-thirds of companies with onboarding programs saw a greater proportion of their employees assimilating into their company culture, and more than half reported higher employee engagement. If you fail to understand how to successfully onboard remote employees, you run the risk of jeopardizing all the hard work, time and money that you invested in attracting Life Sciences professionals to your company.
In the UK and France, job applicants have shared reviews on topics such as onboarding more since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, while physical aspects of the office are mentioned much less in Glassdoor reviews – a clear reflection of the growing importance to prospective employees of the onboarding process in the post-COVID world.
How to onboard remote employees: The first day
Putting together a plan for your new employee’s first day will help ensure that day one is smooth and stress-free for both the new starter and your wider team. It is also worth letting your new hire know in advance if they need to adhere to a dress code, if they’ll be expected to appear on a video call (so that they can tidy their space in advance) or if there are any etiquette rules that they’ll need to follow.
The top priority for the first day should be to extend a warm welcome to your new joiner. One of the best ways to do this is by scheduling a series of meetings with each of their new colleagues – this will allow them to introduce themselves and learn more about your company’s history and values. We would also recommend hosting a virtual team lunch. Check that they have access to a video conference platform before the big day, as this will stop technical problems from getting in the way.
The next day and beyond
Once the introductions have been made, it’s time to acclimate your new starters. You will need to communicate clearly what is expected of them: ensure that your new hires understand that they are required to work set hours, attend meetings, and report results along with the other employees. Studies have shown that people who regularly work from home tend to work longer hours than their in-office counterparts, so it is good practice to be clear about the hours that they need to work from the outset.
Embrace the opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them over the longer term. Invite them to conferences and annual company meet-ups, and host regular meetings with the whole team, in addition to one-to-ones. It’s a good idea to use video in all your conference calls, as this will give a more human dimension to your interactions. The following tips will help your new hire assimilate with the company culture:
Share values about how you work – be mindful about how you communicate as a team, and set rules for sending and checking emails outside of office hours
Use tools for collaboration and fun – Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams can help facilitate the sharing of ideas and allow colleagues to support one another
Be mindful of the ingroup dynamic – remind the team to be inclusive
Accomplish together and report results – give the new remote worker the chance to highlight their work and the value that they have contributed to their team
Partner with a talent specialist
For more top tips on remotely onboarding new talent and additional hiring advice, request a call back and partner with EPM Scientific to secure talent.