Remote on boarding is a critical component of your talent management strategy, whether you are recruiting remote employees as part of your digital transformation or in response to the pandemic. Remote on boarding allows your new employees to feel welcome right from the start.
On boarding increases the productivity of your new hires by 59% with 69% of the employees likely to stay in a company for three years, thanks to a great on boarding experience. Unlike orientation, which lasts a shorter time, on boarding is an ongoing and comprehensive process that can last as long as 12 months.
If done correctly, the results are higher job satisfaction, increased productivity and performance, and lower turnover. But to do on boarding correctly, you need to be aware of some best practices to apply, especially now that you are hiring remote employees.
As an HR agency in Malaysia, we’ve prepared 6 best practices tips to keep in mind when remote on boarding employees during the current MCO.
1. Create an On boarding Plan
The first step would be to create a detailed remote on boarding plan for a smooth transition for your new remote employees. A good on boarding plan keeps you focused on the most important things during the on boarding process.
Remember that the on boarding plan is not something you develop once you hire a new employee; it should be part of your recruiting policy. On boarding picks up from where you left off in the recruiting process and extends the candidate experience to their first months in the company. Therefore, the on boarding plan should lead to the same or an even better experience for the new employee.
It should reinforce the new employee's conviction that they made the right decision to join your company. It should help them interact with other employees, increase their productivity, and get them excited about your company’s mission, vision, and objectives.
Here are some steps to help you create an employee on boarding plan for your remote hires:
A. Establish your on boarding goal. In most cases, the goal of an on boarding program is to equip new hires with the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviour required to become effective members of the organization. To achieve this, you need to develop clearly defined goals that set the expectations for the organization and the new hire.
The next step involves creating the on boarding team, which ideally, should engage managers, HR, and co-workers. Engaging your employees in the on boarding process helps your new hires settle into the company and immerse themselves into your organization’s culture.
B. Identify role models that want to help new employees settle into the organization. Designate a culture buddy who can help the new employee identify and adopt behaviours that fit with the organization’s culture.
C. Identify key milestones that you can use to measure the effectiveness of your on boarding program. You should set milestones for the first month, the first 90 days, and then the first year of the employee working with your company. Performance reviews, especially after one year can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses and plan for the continuous development of the employee.
2. Provide a Welcome Pack
Send a welcome pack to your new employees before they report for their first day of work. The welcome pack provides new employees with general information that will help them during their first days or months in your company. The welcome pack should provide contact information (telephone and emails) of important colleagues that the new employee will interact with.
You can take the welcome pack a step further by including a video welcome that helps the employee identify with your company. In addition to prerecorded videos, you can host live webinar sessions where you interact with the new employees in real-time. Use these live sessions to answer the questions new employees have about the organization.
As you send the welcome pack, ensure that you communicate the expectations upfront. Let the employee know their roles and responsibilities so they are more confident and set up for success even before they start working.
If the need arises, train your managers on the steps to take to manage a remote team successfully. They should learn the unique challenges that come with remote work and how to navigate these challenges.
3. Create a Sense of Belonging
In a traditional office setting, employees develop a sense of belonging by knowing and understanding each other through in-person interactions. With remote working, however, your employees cannot have social gatherings or in-person interactions, which creates a sense of isolation.
This isolation is common with new remote workers, which can contribute to low productivity and high turnover. You can help new remote workers develop a sense of belonging to your organization by:
A. Encouraging virtual team building activities that engage employees of all levels
B. Hold virtual social events such as before or after-work happy hours
C. Create safe spaces for remote workers where you encourage respect and openness among your employees
D. Provide mental health resources that show your employees (including new hires) that you care about their well-being even as they work await from the office
E. Give new remote workers opportunities to contribute during meetings
F. Be transparent in your decision-making process
G. Check in on your employees regularly to see how they are doing. Asking new employees about their well-being elevates their opinion of the organization by showing that you care about them beyond the ROI they bring.
H. Acknowledge the contributions your remote workers make
4. Provide Access to Critical Tools
Successful remote work relies on having the right tools to do their job effectively. Therefore, your on boarding process should include allowing access to the tools, software, and applications that the new remote employee will need when working.
Providing these tools allows the employee to familiarise themselves with the tools they will be using for their job. Not only does this make the transition into your organization easier, but also helps new employees become self-reliant and productive much faster.
In addition to providing access, make it easier for your employee to use these tools by providing a guide that introduces each tool and how your organization uses these tools.
Cybersecurity is one consideration to keep in mind as you share these mission-critical tools. Educate your new employees about the cybersecurity policy you have at your organization, including how login credentials are shared.
If your company provides computers for remote workers, make sure that they are shipped in time with the right configurations in place for the employee.
5. Introduce Other Employees
It is so easy to overlook the introductions part when on boarding remote employees. As with an in-office on boarding process, your remote employees will benefit from meeting their coworkers, teams, and leaders.
You can plan virtual coffee hours or introductory calls with leaders and teams during or before the first week of work. Preferably, these introductions should occur in a casual setting. You can complement the introductions part by creating a chart with the names, roles, and contact information of different teams in the welcome packaged we discussed before.
Introducing other employees also allows your new hires to form new connections with your employees to help them settle into your organization.
6. Communicate with New Employees Often
Communicating with employees throughout the on boarding process helps build connections with team members and coworkers. Organise formal and informal opportunities to communicate with your new employees. For example, encourage employees to turn on their videos during conference calls and have weekly one-on-ones with these employees.
Due to the alienated nature of remote work, you may want to have more check-ins than you would with an in-office team. These check-ins provide opportunities for new hires to ask questions and receive support in their new role.
Opening communication lines with new employees is critical, as is allowing for feedback. Create a strong feedback culture in your organization. Creating feedback loops helps you uncover the feelings and opinions new employees have about the organization. Stay connected with your new employees through email, chat, and videoconferencing.
You can collect new employee feedback through surveys, performance tracking software, and one-on-one meetings.
Set Your Remote Employees Up For Success
On boarding is one of the steps that set up your new hires for success, especially when working with remote workers. Get off to a strong start with your new employees and provide a positive experience to keep the momentum you built during the recruiting process.
A good remote on boarding process aligns your new employees with your company culture and offers the foundation for better performance within your organization. Even as you onboard your remote employees, remember that, like recruiting, on boarding is a continuous process, which your organization improves with time.
Keen to learn more about remote on boarding? Discover what BGC Malaysia can help your organization with during the current MCO.