Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees

Remote work is the new normal for many businesses in the post-Covid-19 era! According to a PWC study, 83% of employers admit that remote work has been successful for their businesses. But success doesn’t happen overnight! 

So much is at stake and it starts with the remote employee onboarding process. Research shows that 87% of employees are less likely to quit when they feel valued and more engaged. This is why you can’t overlook the onboarding process.

When employee onboarding is done right, it increases work productivity, boosts learning, and lowers the employee turnover rate. But it can also be daunting to implement when you don’t know how to go about it. The good news is that we’ve put together this guide to help you start.

The Importance of Effective Onboarding for Remote Employees

Onboarding remote employees is crucial to a company’s success, especially when you can’t meet in person. Overall, onboarding employees into the company introduces them to their new work environment and helps them adapt quickly.

Below is the importance of effective onboarding for remote employees!

1. Lowering Employee Turnover Rate

According to a Qualee study, 33% of new employees look for a new job within six months of starting a new position. Also, new hires’ retention rate is so low! 86% of new employees decide within six months if they will stay with the company long-term. And, at least 23% of them leave the job within the first year.

Thinking about it, people spend time looking for jobs! The last thing they want to do is continue applying for jobs after securing a position in your company. So, it’s best to let them know they’re in the right place in advance.

This is where employee onboarding comes in handy. It’s a continuous process, so you should expect great results after the onboarding process.

2. Establishing Rapport with Management, Colleagues, and Mentors

Working remotely easily creates a disconnect between employees and the management, especially when there are no robust systems. Fortunately, employee onboarding can bridge the gap quickly and hassle-free.

When done right, the onboarding process helps new employees, the management, and existing employees establish a rapport fast. This is crucial to achieving a company’s goals, objectives, and mission.

Also, this is a great time to introduce new hires to mentors if your company has them. New hires need mentors to show them how to handle specific tasks and boost their work productivity. Starting work without direction is like a ship on the deep seas without a captain!

3. Understanding Expectations, Policies, and Benefits

All companies have goals, a mission, and a vision to achieve, and your company is no different. New remote workers should familiarize themselves with why your business exists so that everyone is on the same page. This should also include your company policies.

Lastly, you’ll want to communicate all employee benefits your new hires should expect for the period they’ll be with you. This is another excellent way to lower your employee turnover rate.

4. Learning Company Culture, History, and Values

Company culture, history, and values vary from one company to another. The onboarding process is the right time to introduce your new remote employees to the company, your culture, history, and your values. Sharing company history and values with new employees creates a sense of belonging and inspires.

What you Need for Onboarding Remote Employees

While implementing a remote employee onboarding process can be daunting, it shouldn’t matter when you have everything figured out. Below are the things you’ll need to do or avail for a successful remote employee onboarding process!

  • Share links to special company articles about the culture, history, mission, vision, and values; do this ahead of time to give them ample time to familiarize themselves with your company. Also, consider availing hardcopy materials for all resources you intend to share. You can send the documents by mail.
  • Schedule the event; there are two ways to go about it. You can schedule a group or individual onboarding event via a video conferencing tool. Remember to share the video meeting details like the link and joining password ahead of time.
  • Give them time to review the sent documents; depending on the number of materials you send over to your new employees, it’s necessary to give them an equal amount of time to review the materials before the meeting day.
  • Organize a human resources orientation; new remote employees need to sign work contracts and other documents before starting to work officially. But due to location constraints, they can only do it digitally. So, it’s best to set a meeting with the HR department to take them through the process before the main meeting.
  • Organize an IT Department meeting; a prior meeting with the IT department helps new hires familiarize themselves with specific work software. This is also the time to help them set up work accounts, emails, log-in details, and passwords.
  • Create an onboarding plan and share it; remote employee onboarding is a continuous process lasting between a week and three months. Creating an onboarding plan covering what you intend to achieve within your onboarding timeline is necessary. This way, you’ll cover every important detail without leaving anything out.

What to do During Onboarding

Now that the basics are out of the way, what should you do during the onboarding process to guarantee success? Below is the best practice guide on what to do when onboarding new remote employees to your company. 

Hit the Ground Running Fast

Time is of the essence, so you don’t want to waste it. It’s best to hit the nail on the head during the onboarding process to set the ball rolling. You should have an easy time bonding with your new hires, considering the few orientations you’ve already had.

Best practice requires you to appoint onboarding specialists like mentors or welcome buddies to handle the onboarding process. This approach is better than using senior company officials like managers. You want the new hirers to be free and to ask many questions as possible. Some are likely to withhold their thoughts when dealing with more official onboarding personnel. 

Provide details on the Company’s Culture and How it Operates

This step should be a walk-over for you, assuming you already shared these details during pre-onboarding. But nothing is lost if you’re yet to. This is where you should explain your company’s culture and how you operate.

The details include company history, values, mission, and vision. Remember to have a question-and-answer segment to allow them to ask related questions. This is the most crucial step in the onboarding process because it directly affects work output.

If you haven’t prepared a digital or a hard copy document with this information, you should consider creating one. A detailed one should be a reference point several weeks after completing the onboarding process.

Be Clear About Your Expectations

Expectations can either break or make your company. This is why you want to be clear about your expectations. The more detailed you are, the less friction you’ll have down the road because of unmet expectations.

For example, you should be clear on work hours, off days, assignments and responsibilities, and expected outcomes. Also, do you have specific targets–daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly? The sooner your remote employees get it, the better for everyone.

Work Equipment setup

While you can choose to set up work equipment during the pre-onboarding stage, there’s no harm if you do it now. This is the time to finalize setting up work equipment. Especially if you already shared the tools, passwords, and other resources like VPN during the pre-onboarding.

More importantly, you should consider assigning easy tasks as part of the onboarding process. The aim is for your remote employees to get practical and hands-on experience of what to expect. This way, you’ll be certain they can handle the tasks amicably.

Follow-ups Post Onboarding

Onboarding new employees is a continuous process that does not end after successfully onboarded all your new hires. It is recommended that you follow up with your new remote employees to ensure everything runs smoothly. Below is a quick rundown of things to do post onboarding.

  • Stick to the onboarding implementation plan and adjust whenever necessary.
  • Conduct frequent virtual meetings to assess remote employees’ progress. This can be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
  • Establish an employee’s online community for hanging out and bonding.
  • Carry out more virtual training and empowerment to boost employee performance.

Wrapping Up

Creating an onboarding plan for remote employees and implementing it can be daunting. Still, you have no choice but to put your best foot forward to achieve the best results.

Besides that, monitoring and tracking remote employees can be a hassle. The good news is that there’s an easy way to go about it. This is where HiveDesk comes in handy. We are a remote employee monitoring tool that brings transparency and accountability to remote teams with time tracking, screenshots, and task management. Be sure to contact us for inquiries.

Navick Ogutu

Navick Ogutu is an expert website content writer with tons of experience in B2B and B2C content writing. He offers top-notch content in article writing, blog writing, SEO writing, Copywriting, proofreading and editing for multiple industries. Content planning and writing is a long term strategy that you need to factor in your marketing plan. Reach out to Navick for a free consultation concerning your content needs.