Onboarding is one of the most important times for a new person joining your company. Done well, it immerses them in your culture and sets the tone for their engagement right from the start.
Having to onboard new starters without physically being in the office may seem challenging but companies of all sizes are taking this experience online and we’re here to help you find out how they do it.
Find out what common challenges your employees faced when they joined your business. To get this information send out a quick survey to existing onsite and remote employees. Once you're aware of any issues you’ll be in a better place to mitigate these in your remote onboarding.
1. Have the right tech
Send your new starters IT hardware and manuals and make sure to order these well ahead of their start date. A client in the financial cloud space sends their candidate's laptops across the EU using private couriers, who are still operating during the lockdown. Don’t forget that the current situation may cause delays to delivery dates. Make sure to check with your candidate if they’ve received their equipment and need any help getting it set up.
2. Send a welcome package
Time to get creative! Sending out a welcome package by post is a nice touch and will make them feel excited to join the team. Here are some things you could include:
- Items that embody your company culture
- Information about your company
- Welcome letter from your CEO (handwritten is always a nice touch)
- Postcard from the team they’re joining
- Branded merchandise including homeworking essentials – mugs, hoodies, stress balls
- Some sweet treats
3. Induction documents
Prepping a comprehensive ‘guide’ for their role will make sure new starters get off to a flying start. Here’s what to include:
- List of tasks to help them learn about the role and what's expected of them
- List of handy tools your company uses
- Where to download useful apps
- Logins/passwords they’ll need
- Contact details for their team members
- Regular meetings
4. Prep for their first day
A schedule for their first day/week can help new starters know what to expect and stay on track. We also recommend sending legal and formal documents using an e-signature tool, like HelloSign or DocuSign, so that employees can add their signatures digitally and share contracts with you in a secure environment.
Their First Week
1. Introduce your new team member to the rest of the team on their first day
Your weekly team meetings are a great time to introduce new faces. You can also get them to write a short bio about themselves and send it to the team so everyone can get to know them. At the end of the first week get the whole team to check in with the new starter to introduce themselves and their role.
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communication is key to making remote onboarding a success and there is an array of tools at your disposal (we’re fans of Microsoft Teams!). Employees at Stack Overflow are mostly home-based across 12 countries and enjoy orientation calls with each member of the executive team where they learn about the company’s history, culture and goals.
A healthcare technology company we work with recommends setting up video calls with:
- Their co-workers
- Their manager and direct reports
- Employees from other departments they’ll work closely with
- HR (as needed)
3. Set up a buddying system
Mentors are a great way to guide new starters through your onboarding. They can help make them feel welcome and answer any questions.
4. Set up social events for the team
Remote working can be lonely so make sure your new starters stay connected with the rest of the team! This could be online fitness sessions, a Friday happy hour on Skype or team tea breaks on Zoom. There are loads of fun things you can do so make sure to get the team involved in planning these!
5. Create training goals
Starting a new job can be overwhelming. Setting smaller milestones can make new joiners feel more at ease. Agree on the targets and goals for their first 30 days as soon as possible and adjust them as needed. Their manager should also discuss goals for their first 30, 60 and 90 days.
6. Have regular check-ins
You should schedule important appointments such as reviews and team meetings in advance. Less formal check-ins are ideal to discuss personal and professional goals. They are also a great forum for new starters to share their ideas and suggestions. Don’t try to force your way of working because it has worked until now – be open to change!
For the More Advanced
Dell, who have 160k employees worldwide, have a dedicated onboarding website. They also have a "Day 1 success team" providing support via chat, email and calls during the onboarding process.
Some companies enable people to learn at their own pace, housing all of their onboarding materials such as pre-recorded videos, guides and company news on their existing intranets.
In a mobile-first world, many companies have also designed their own onboarding apps.
Feedback Is Everything
To get the onboarding process right make them feel welcome, encourage honest conversations and feedback. New starters bring a fresh perspective so make sure you listen to their feedback, not just about their onboarding experience but on the business as a whole.