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    A guide to onboarding new employees remotely

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    By Mark Seemann, founder/CEO of StaffCircle

    Onboarding remote workers presents businesses with a new set of challenges not faced when onboarding in the workplace. The familiar induction process, built around face-to-face introductions, needs to be modified for the digital sphere.

    Communication is often the biggest challenge for remote workers. Having a timetable for the first couple of weeks with regular check-ins and clear tasks enables new employees to adapt quickly to the culture and keep on top of their goals.

    Introduce them to your company’s culture
    A strong company culture permeates throughout the workforce, but it’s harder to get a feel for this when everyone is working remotely. Building your company’s core values into the framework of your performance management system helps to clarify and promote it to your new hires from the outset.

    Providing a digital company welcome pack discussing your company’s culture helps strengthen these values.

    Hold virtual meetings with their team members and direct reports
    When introducing a new hire to team members and key contacts do this via video calls. You can’t replicate the face-to-face induction process entirely, but these calls help to quickly establish relationships and strengthen communication.

    Hold these initial meetings on their first day, linking them with a sponsor or mentor to help them find their way in the company and keep them connected to their team, both work-related and informal social digital spaces.

    Establish their work expectations and objectives
    Comprehensive performance management tools to track and update objectives and key results are the backbone of your company. Use these to establish work expectations and objectives so employees are clear about their immediate tasks and longer-term goals. Add defined goals to establish benchmarks for performance which managers can track directly.

    Set out their key projects and short-term deliverables up front and make sure they have liaised with the relevant team members they’ll be working with.

    Make sure they have the software they require
    From day one, ensure they have access to the right software and IT to do their job, don’t leave them without. Help them set up their company emails, cloud storage systems and any other programs they require. If you are providing equipment make sure all software and applications are installed so they’re ready to start work immediately.

    Make sure they have access to your company’s internal communications platform, allowing access to goal tracking, absence requests, intranet and any other internal systems they need.

    Catch up weekly, monthly and quarterly
    Elizabeth Grace Saunders, author of How To Invest Your Time Like Money, says of one-to-one meetings: “They are where you can ask strategic questions such as, are we focused on the right things? And from a rapport point of view, they are how you show employees that you value them and care about them.”

    Schedule regular weekly conversations and monthly and quarterly appraisals ensuring these regular touchpoints are maintained. These catch ups will help managers identify any cause for concern, both in terms of workload and mental well-being.

    Training and development
    Set up a training programme early, and get new hires used to learning new skills. Build a library of training videos/documents and interactive courses making them easily accessible via your internal communications platform .

    Refine your onboarding process
    Onboarding processes can sometimes leave a lot to be desired, and a survey from Accountemps in 2019 revealed that 6 in 10 workers met with mishaps when starting a new job, now it’s all being done remotely. Refining the process is essential to address any problems with communication.

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