11 easy tips to improve your remote onboarding experience

11 easy tips to improve your remote onboarding experience

Written by Mark Blokhuis

Over the last 10 years, I worked in digital marketing roles within job marketing and employer branding. After connecting the right audiences with the right job or organization I am now on a mission to give everybody an onboarding experience they will remember.
During the past months, most organizations were suddenly forced to onboard new hires remotely. Although most employees will eventually start going back to the office, the trend of remote working, and therefore remote onboarding, will continue to rise as flexible working locations become more common. But how do you successfully bring across your company’s culture and give a personal touch to your remote onboarding program? Especially when almost the entire organization is working from home?

In this article, we will take you on the onboarding journey. Give you tips on improving and personalizing your process. So your new hire will not feel lost on his or her first remote working day.

Before the first day

Great! Your new hire signed the contract and will soon start. Why not send them an introduction email? to your new hire to inform him/her Let them know about what will happen on their first day. Try to make this email more as personal as you can. Maybe even also ask the onboarding buddy to introduce them at this point as well.

Here are some points you can consider for the introduction email:

  • The schedule of the first day(s).
  • How devices like a laptop, phone, etc. will be delivered or can be picked up.
  • Include a personal welcome video from the CEO, manager, or team to wish your new hire a warm welcome to your organization.

Furthermore, prepare the organization for the new hire. Introduce him/her in your internal communication channels. Share information about the role, the team, and something interesting about the person. Also make sure that the people directly involved in the onboarding process, like a manager, team members and the buddy, schedule time in their calendars. This will allow them so they have the time to give the new hire a proper and personal introduction.

The first remote day and week

How you welcome new employees will depend on your company’s culture and possibilities. Ensure everybody within your organization communicates appreciation all the way through the onboarding period, so your new hires stay enthusiastic and will perform at their best.

Since you need to host your complete onboarding program via the digital highway, things can quickly become impersonal. You want to avoid that their first day of your new hire on a remote team feels lonely and disorienting. Therefore your organization should invest time and effort into making sure the onboarding stays as personal as it could be. The following tips can help you to make the first days more personal.

  • Let the manager or team lead, check-in at the end of every day during the first week in a personal virtual meeting.
  • Send a welcome package and show your appreciation by adding a personal note or a team picture when you send company goodies or flowers. to new hires on their first day. 
  • Assign an onboarding buddy that checks in on the new remote hire on a regular basis to see how they are she/he is doing and transfer know-how the company’s culture and values.
  • As a manager, clarify to new hires what to expect and how the process works in your organization by scheduling upcoming meetings, like the performance meeting after the first month. For example, create a checklist with small scale responsibilities to give them your new hire the feeling like they’re learning and making progress on the job from the very beginning.
  • Let a team member or buddy help your new employee to get to know the company faster by scheduling virtual coffee dates with your company’s key persons.

After the first week: Orientation on the job

Onboarding is a process that never stops. Since you want to continue building an engaging relationship between your organization and your remote employees, you might need to make even more effort compared to a situation where you can engage them in the office surrounded by colleagues. 

Take time to explain the ‘rules’ of remote working: this way, your new hire gets a better understanding of what is expected, what the working culture looks like, and how to easily fit in. Share with them how the communication lines work, how the team’s work processes look like and how to deliver, so they can start adapting their role as soon as possible.

But there are more opportunities to give remote onboarding a more personal touch.
  • Train teams to work agile. Start for example with organizing a daily standup per team, so colleagues will share what they are going to do. It also helps remote new hires to get involved in the daily business a lot faster.
  • Organise virtual team-building exercises. From remote team bingo, virtual museum tours, online office games, to MTV Cribs: the remote edition. There are tons of virtual team building activities you can do to bring your team closer together without being physically in the same room.
  • Facilitate periodic demonstration meetings, where everybody can demo/show whatever they achieved. This will improve the visibility of the work that has been done and how individuals and teams contribute to overall success. 
  • A regular town hall session or company video update will encourage the conversation between all layers of the organization.

Good and clear communication is the key to smooth onboarding, especially when working remote. Therefore, rather over-communicate and keep information accessible by using online tools. Don’t forget that remote onboarding is mostly about communication. Train your colleagues that a short call makes more impact and feels more personal for new hires than texting via your direct messaging channels. Especially when somebody is new it will make a world of difference if everybody takes the time to give feedback via a call instead of sharing it in a team feedback channel. 

Don’t forget! Ask for feedback on the remote onboarding program and leadership

Everything you pinned down for starting at the office, may work out differently while starting your new job from home. Ask feedback to correct or improve the onboarding process for remote starters. Ask things like:

  • How do you feel in your new job?
  • Did you have enough and sufficient resources during your first days to get up to speed?
  • How did your remote team and manager help you to be successful in your role?
  • Do you understand the company’s mission and vision, culture, and values and how they drive the way we operate?
  • What parts of the remote onboarding experience could be improved?

Happy remote onboarding!

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