Remote Onboarding: Frequently Asked Questions & Best Practices

We all remember our first day at college. Looking for the right classes and wondering who we’d eat our lunch with. Even though we’d been ecstatic about getting in, we were extremely nervous now that we were here. Our bodies filled with endless hope, yet we wished we had someone to help us figure everything out as soon and as seamlessly as possible.

Similarly, your new hires have a sense of fear on their first day of work. In this case, “you’re” that “someone” who needs to help them settle in. Onboarding is a pivotal moment for your employees to feel included starting from day 1. Now imagine if this process had to be done for remote employees instead of in-person hires.

worried HR

Without further ado, let’s jump into the “How’s and What’s” of remote onboarding. We’ve answered a set of frequently asked questions around which several organizations have been seeking help.

1) What is remote onboarding?

Like any other onboarding process, remote onboarding constitutes of the same objectives – to build and scale new teams. However, this time around, your process is being conducted virtually, and for distributed teams of hires that you have not met in-person.

remote onboarding

2) How can I onboard a remote employee? What is the onboarding process?

It’s time to update your existing processes to a fully virtual environment. Here are a few tips to help you construct a seamless remote onboarding process:

(i)  Focus on connection building

Provide your remote hires with presentations, documents and videos that comprise of company values, culture, vision and mission on a single portal. Introduce them to key stakeholders with the help of live video sessions where they talk on topics such as personal goals and accomplishments. This is where you form a human connection with remote employees.

(ii)  Learning and contributing

Make your new employees aware of key projects and strategies on a holistic level and have an open discussion around suggestions and recommendations to have them involved.

(iii)  Set goals and expectations

Now that your employee has a greater understanding of the company and its operations, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and set goals for each of your remote employee. Arrange discussions with managers in order to set KPIs and talk about what success must look like.

remote onboarding

3) What are the top onboarding activities that I need for remote employees?

Some of the ways to ensure seamless processes, high information retention, and effective engagement, are enlisted as follows:

  •  Dynamic forms and e-signatures:

Paperwork & approvals for distributed hires can become strenuous for HR if done through email. This problem is solved using dynamic forms and e-signatures, all in one place

  •   Providing necessary equipment:

Basic equipment such as laptops, accessories, etc that are required by new hires in order to operate need to be incorporated into your onboarding process in order  to avoid delays and to open up to troubleshooting

  • Team introductions:

For a distributed team, it is always extremely necessary to over communicate and collaborate. To improve team engagement, an ice breaking session would only make remote onboarding more successful.

  • Training and Learning tasks:

A core part of being productive is to offer as much information and resources needed to empower new inductees and direct them to success. 

onboarding activities

4) What are the benefits of remote onboarding with a virtual platform?

  • Save time and effort – with automated workflows, HR will be required to spend lesser time sending follow-ups and reminder emails. 
  •  Consolidate Employee Data – capture the employee information your business requires and have all your employee data in one, organized place.
  • Track Progress – empower HR to easily track onboarding progress of remote employees
  • Promote Employer Branding – keep distributed teams engaged from day one with a branded onboarding experience
  • Improve Processes – with reports, you can identify issues with remote onboarding processes & address them in time

 

onboarding benefits

Read more about ‘How Effective Onboarding Increases Retention’

5) How can a company adopt virtual onboarding without being tech-savvy?

To build an effective onboarding experience, your company does not necessarily have to be tech-savvy. Do your research and reach out to virtual onboarding platforms that will provide you with tools, and will setup the entire process for you from A to Z. Some of the top virtual onboarding platforms are as follows:

(i) vFairs

An online events platform that helps you host your very own virtual onboarding fair. This enables you to boost productivity of new hires in remote settings with a virtual event that trains employees via rich, interactive tools like webinars, audio/video chat and much more.

(ii)  Afterhire

A configurable onboarding platform that helps organizations ramp up distributed hires with ease and gets them to peak productivity faster.

6) How can you replace the experience of a new hire meeting colleagues over lunch or a cup of coffee?

Let’s admit it – we all love happy hour. Integration between team members is not entirely successful until there’s a social connection between them. In remote work arrangements especially, when your employees are isolated from one another, it is important to get together for a quick 20-minute call where they can talk about anything other than work.

Conclusion

No doubt, onboarding processes can be daunting, not just for the new employee but also the management.

Business owners generally agree that success rests heavily on new hires themselves. And since companies need to tie everything down to being productive, a strengthened compliance and communication system can help new remote employees pick up your company’s language with the help of a seamless virtual procedure, and eventually drive your company to make your vision a reality.

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Huda Nadeem Zaman