In order to ensure a smooth onboarding process, you need to lay the groundwork with your new workers as soon as possible. This is just as true for remote workers as workers who take a position in your physical offices. Ask any experienced manager and they will be able to tell you how much of a difference the preparatory work that you do will make to the entire onboarding process.
How To Prepare Them Properly For The Role
Below is a list of 10 steps that any business can take to prepare the foundations for onboarding new remote workers.
- Compile a list of all the important contacts that new starters will need and their contact information.
- Put together a document that sets out your company’s mission statement and strategy.
- Gather any other media files that you think will help new starters to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
- Draw up a chart that shows the structure of your business and the team that your new starter will be joining.
- Write a checklist that new starters can use to familiarise themselves with their new routines and duties.
- Devise a realistic training schedule and calendar so they know what to expect.
- Prepare an itinerary for your new starters.
- Pre-book your Day 1 calls well in advance to ensure they will be available.
- Arrange virtual meetings with all of your essential staff.
- Make sure your new starters are set up with your main comms channels – Slack, Teams, etc.
Making Sure They Have What They Need
It is essential that you establish your remote workers’ working patterns and timetable early in the onboarding process. It is also a good idea to work with them to ensure that they have a suitable setup at home for doing their fulfilling their role. One of the benefits of remote working is increased flexibility. However, you should still aim to work with your remote workers to not only develop a consistent schedule but also to gain an understanding of their precise circumstances and how they impact their ability to work.
Prior to their first day as a remote worker, you should aim to have an understanding of the following:
- What is their remote working setup like – what distractions will they have? Will they be working with children or partners around them during the day?
- Do they have a dedicated area in their home to work?
- Do they have all the basic office supplies that they need? If not, can you supply them with some or all of what they need?
- Is their internet connection up to spec and reliable? If not, does the recruit warrant investment from you to help them upgrade? In some cases, a new router can resolve any reliability issues instantly. You don’t necessarily need a high-end router, although as with any tech – if you go too “affordable”, you will get poor results.
- If you need to send anything to your new starters ahead of time, have you left enough time for all the necessary deliveries to arrive? If anything else needs to be set up beforehand at your end, do you have a timetable for getting it all in place?
Help Them To Connect With Your Team
In any team environment, one of the biggest differences between regular workers and remote workers is the lack of face-to-face contact. If your remote workers all live within a reasonable distance from your offices, it is a good idea to arrange at least one face-to-face group meeting at the beginning of any team project. The value of this kind of connectivity between your team on a personal and professional level is hard to overstate and it can’t be replicated remotely.
However, if a physical meeting isn’t feasible, there are still some useful things you can do in order to improve team cohesion and communication. Encourage new starters to write short bios about themselves, some facts that they are happy to share with the team. You can then create an online portal your remote workers can use for communicating with one another.
Including a photo of each of your remote workers, along with a short bio detailing who they are and what they do, will encourage your remote workers to communicate more with one another and can also help to establish a sense of camaraderie amongst your team. Bios should consist of information about hobbies and interests along with areas of specialities and the role of each worker within your business.
The First Day
On Day 1, there are two key calls that you need to arrange – one with IT and the other with HR. Let’s start with IT.
Your Call To IT
- Setup and an introduction to your business systems.
- Go over security and passwords.
- Make sure they understand the terms of acceptable use for your online services.
- What software are they permitted to know?
- Data storage practices
- Confirm everything is working and your worker is happy.
Your Call To HR
- Go over the specifics of your remote working policy during the Covid-19 outbreak if they differ from your normal operating procedures.
- Inform them of your absence and productivity tracking.
- Explain probation periods and performance management.
- Make sure they are represented correctly on your payroll
- Inform them of any benefits and when they will qualify.
The First Week
During the first week of introducing any new remote worker to your business, you need to ensure that there is a reliable chain within your business for the transfer of knowledge between your key teams.
In order for your new starters to integrate into your existing team as quickly as possible, they need to be able to communicate easily. This means knowing who they need to communicate with and how to talk to them. Make sure that all of your existing staff understand the role that they have to play and the knowledge that they will need to share with new starters.
Finally, you need to ensure that you set clear and unambiguous expectations for your remote workers. They should start their role in your business with a coherent idea of exactly what is expected of them and where their job can lead in the long run.
If you’d like more detail on this topic, download our free report: The Ultimate Guide to Onboarding Remotely
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