When many offices moved to a virtual workspace in the spring, existing employees had the benefit of already being part of the team, which can make it easier to stay connected in a remote work situation. As time goes on, those who are still working remotely may find themselves in the position of hiring and onboarding a new employee.
We’ve talked in the past about how successful onboarding requires planning and working in advance, and it’s even more critical in the case of remote work employees. Onboarding from a distance means thinking about the logistics of bringing a new employee onto the team even before you have officially made an offer. You need to be sure they have everything they need for success in terms of equipment required for the job, plus consider what it looks like to do employee orientation and create cohesiveness among the team on a virtual platform.
New hires can feel lost and unwelcome on the first day if they don’t have a fully functional computer and necessary technology access, and that effect will be compounded by sitting in a home office unsure of what to do next and unable to walk down the hall and ask. Just because a new employee will be working from home doesn’t mean all you need to do is issue them a laptop. Instead, you need to take the time to consider all the equipment they will need, plus the various passwords, technology permissions, video conferencing information, and contact information for their colleagues that will be needed as well.
In terms of equipment, think through all the various aspects of the day-to-day functions of the position. A laptop is an obvious start, but also consider accessories such as printers, monitors, chairs, and phone service. Decide how much your office will be providing and communicate that to the new hires up front. Arrange delivery of all necessary equipment to their home before they begin work. With delays in shipping and some limited equipment availability due to the pandemic, this may take more than just a day or two.
With the equipment and office space taken care of, give extra attention to the IT needs of a new hire. Access to email and virtual meeting platforms will be extra important on their first day. Having everything ready to go will welcome them to the team and set them up for success. And don’t forget to schedule time for them to meet the rest of the team during their first day.
Along with all the extra pieces required for working from home, evaluate your orientation plan and materials. In the past, we’ve talked about the need for clear, concise, and consistent communication of expectations and goals for the position. How does that look in a virtual setting? Are there any pieces of the orientation that require an in-person meeting, or can it be done strictly remotely?
Take the time to consider all these aspects of remote onboarding to ensure a smooth transition and set the employee up for success in their new position. It may take a little more time and effort than typical onboarding in the past, but it’s worth it to create a positive experience for new employees who are working remotely.
If you need help designing an effective process for onboarding remote employees, reach out to the WhyHR team today to chat.