Many organizations have shifted to remote work in the last year, but the transition isn’t always easy, especially for new employees. Managers have grown accustomed to gathering their staff into a conference room on the fly when they needed to share information or conduct training. Working with a virtual team requires more forethought. Onboarding new employees is even more challenging. Without an established relationship, there is no history or trust, which can be essential to getting off on the right foot.
What are the best practices that can make virtual onboarding a success?
Welcome them to the Team
It’s easy for remote workers to feel out of the loop. Put effort into incorporating them into the team. Send an email with a few words about the employee out to the company or department as appropriate. Schedule a Zoom team meeting as well as one on ones with applicable people. Try not to onboard only one person at a time. Onboarding new employees together is more efficient, plus it gives the new employees a training buddy to connect with. Include chances to socialize with coworkers as well, such as lunches or happy hours.
Set New Employees Up for Success
Ship new hires the technology they need to do their jobs – laptops, phones, etc. Be sure it’s simple for them to set up remotely. Preload required software if possible. Give them access to tech support, walk them through the setup process or troubleshoot as needed. Alternatively, record a video ahead of time with step-by-step instructions. Send some company merchandise along as well, such as a mug, tee-shirt, or ball cap, so they feel like part of the team.
Take a Strategic Approach to Onboarding
Many companies don’t have a formal onboarding, choosing instead to wing the onboarding process. That’s probably not the best idea for any but the smallest companies, but when onboarding remote workers, a plan is essential. Onboarding forms the foundation for the employee experience. Don’t underestimate the importance of getting it right.
Break into several sessions.
When onboarding in person, some companies would devote a full day to filling out paperwork, walking the new employee around, introducing them, and training them on their job responsibilities. That can be overwhelming conducted via zoom or a series of emails. If you decide to conduct multiple sessions in a day, be sure to include plenty of time for breaks and try not to require cameras on for every session.
Combine synchronous and asynchronous training.
Live video training can be valuable because it is engaging and allows the employee to ask questions. Asynchronous training enables new employees to move at their own pace. It’s easier on your training/HR department because they can record a training once and use it many times, which is much more efficient.
Offer some self-directed training.
Zoom fatigue is a real issue. If some of the training can be independently completed, it will allow new hires to move at their own pace. While you don’t want to overload a new employee with content, you also don’t want to leave them idle, wondering what to do next.
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We serve a diverse group of industries including higher education, banking, legal, manufacturing, insurance, financial services and more. The Panther Group is not a normal staffing company with a one-size-fits-all solution. We truly customize our workforce management solutions to fit your needs, both short term and long by first understanding who you are and what the best partnership looks like.