5 Onboarding Tips For Remote Employees

January 13, 2017 Deanna Hartley

Onboarding employees is one of the most crucial tasks you can undertake as an employer. The first 90 days are crucial to increasing retention rates. Now that you’ve hired the best candidate, it’s time to not only get them set up logistically, but also to make them feel like an integral part of your organization. That’s a challenge — and perhaps even more so for employees who will be working remotely.

Equip yourself with these five tips to ensure that you’re setting your new employee up for long-term success.

1. Make sure paperwork and technology is ready to go before the start date. Oftentimes, the majority of a new employee’s first day is consumed with trivial technology roadblocks—obtaining a laptop, getting it set up, getting various programs installed, etc. Do yourself a favor and get them set up with IT and any other paperwork they need to dive right in on the first day. By preparing ahead of time, you can mitigate the time spent on administrative and logistical setup so you can focus on what really matters.

2. Communicate expectations. For instance, if you expect them to be online and available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., make sure you communicate that up front. It will help employees working remotely to better plan out their days, especially if they need to invest in a work station at home or a co-working space or find a quiet café where they can work from. If you aren’t a stickler for set hours and just care about the end result, then it doesn’t matter what hours they work as long as they have a deadline to turn in their work. Either way, expectations should be set at the outset to avoid assumptions and miscommunication. Keep the lines of communication open at all times.

3. Set clear and concise goals. There’s nothing worse than an employee logging in on Day 1 and not having an idea of what to do or what the big picture of the role is. To prevent this from happening, consider providing them with a written list of objectives, responsibilities and specific goals so they have a clear picture of how you will judge their performance and measure success. Setting goals, milestones and/or benchmarks can go a long way toward helping new employees understand what’s expected of them from a performance perspective.

4. Find ways to make them feel part of the team. Encouraging teamwork and collaboration can be more challenging with remote employees, but do what you can to make new employees feel like they fit in and build (virtual) relationships with the rest of the team. See if they can come into the office — even if it’s just for a day or two during the onboarding process — to meet the rest of the team. The occasional team outing can also boost team spirit and help build camaraderie. Additionally, make sure the new employee knows who to reach out to if questions arise or they need additional help.

5. Offer training and development. Employees entering your organization will need to be ramped up fairly quickly so they can hit the ground running. For remote employees who are not able to make it into the office during onboarding, make sure you have in place virtual training and/or workshops to get them up to speed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whether it’s looping them in on HR protocols or ramping them up on the tools/technology your organization uses, having it readily available and on-demand is crucial.

Do you manage remote workers? What is your biggest challenge? Do you have a tip for other employers? Tweet your response and tag @CBforEmployers.

 

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