How to onboard a remote team member

Amid the current uncertainty, it has become more important than ever, especially as we mobilise the workforce and make the shift to remote working, to ensure new hires are effectively onboarded to your company. Without physically being able to enter your office, how can these new employees be effectively integrated in to your team? Studies have revealed that companies with an organised onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82%.

Now, more than ever, we are seeing the power technology can have. So what can you do to ensure you continue to provide a strong onboarding experience, even as it moves into the virtual sphere? 

Here are our top tips:

1. Introduce yourself

There is no doubt that your new hire will be feeling quite nervous on their first day. Couple this with not being able to visit a physical office and interact with their new colleagues, and things can become slightly overwhelming. To help your new recruit settle in, set up a video conference call at the start of their first day. Use this time to formally introduce yourself, talk them through your team members, familiarise them with the company and what you're currently working on. This will be appreciated, whilst putting them at ease.

2. Send a welcome package

Take the information you have gathered in preboarding to send out a welcome package to surprise and delight your new hires. This can be anything from company merchandise to a welcome letter from your team or CEO to personalised gifts like their favourite snack or a gift card from their favourite store. Any of these gestures will make them feel welcome and part of the team.

3. Use collaborative technology

Starting a new job can be daunting, especially when your first day is conducted remotely. Communication with your new hire will ensure they feel as much at ease as possible. Use the technology available to you to get in touch and welcome them to the team. Collaborative tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and your company’s intranet, can really help in getting your new recruit on board and integrated in to the fabric of your company. In saying this, it’s important to…

4. Check in regularly

You want to decrease any unease or stress experienced by your new hire if they are to have a positive onboarding experience. The best way to go about this is to check in regularly to see how they're tracking, especially in their first week. You want to remind them that they are not working in isolation, and that you are there to support them. You should also be available to answer any questions they may have. Use any of your existing collaboration tools to do this, so if you are unavailable someone in the team can jump in and help. The key is to be consistent with communication.

As a hiring manager, you should:

// Develop and share a task calendar after your new hire’s training and onboarding sessions

// Define long and short term goals

// Schedule weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects, progress and resolve potential issues

5. Introduce them to the team

Did you know that having friends at work makes you love your company more? (SHRM). You should be facilitating work friendships from the very beginning, during your onboarding process. When your entire office is working remotely you don't have the luxury of going out for a team lunch or drinks. You need to rely on your trusty friend technology. Set up a team Zoom call so your new-starter can put faces to names and get to know everyone. Use this initial call for introductions and encourage the sharing of personal anecdotes. What are their hobbies and interests, are they a dog or cat person? These things will break down barriers. From there, you can start a chat group on Microsoft Teams or WhatsApp, where you can maintain communication.

6. Formulate a database

Use your technology to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. We suggest creating a database of your policies and procedures that your new hire can refer back to when needed. As part of the pre-boarding process, you can email them a link to this site, which they can then peruse in their own time. This will ensure they are not overwhelmed by information on their first day, and can settle in easily.

7. Help them understand your communication tools

You should describe the best ways to contact team members and how to troubleshoot communication technology. If relevant, provide manuals on how to set up:

// Their company email

// Group messaging tools

// Video conferencing software

// Webphone application

8.  Culture matters

It can be easy to overlook culture when onboarding a remote hire, but you have to be careful not to. Your culture can be the difference between whether your new hire stays or leaves. Keeping your culture strong no matter what is imperative. This can be simply done by checking in regularly with your new team member, not only to see how they are tracking with work, but also with their mental wellbeing; or investing time in team calls so they can get to know everyone better. It’s all about making your new hire feel valued and welcomed, not left behind. To get your remote employees up to speed on your company culture, you should share your digital employee handbook and any presentations or literature on your company. 

If you would like to learn more about onboarding your new hires, check out our Guide to Virtual Onboarding. 

At Talent, we’re experts in tech & digital recruitment. If you are looking for new talent to join your team, get in touch with us today.