Welcome aboard the new normal: 5 useful steps to an effective remote onboarding process
In this latest Writer's Room blog, Andela Community member Wasif Khan explores how organizations can embrace distributed work by providing new remote employees with new and improved onboarding processes.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the way organizations work and think has taken a paradigm shift. Organizations’ concern has shifted from the advancement of technologies and expansions to the previously ignored significance of physical dimensions of work.
Remote work culture, which used to be offered as a perk for Gen-Z oriented organizations, has now become a new normal that everyone from global HR departments to employees is learning to adapt to.
Among the changes HR departments are navigating, from gauging employees’ presence, to managing grievances, and keeping them engaged, the most important one is to ensure an effective remote onboarding process to make sure every employee is welcomed properly to the team, and its culture, and introduced well to the company. A survey by HR Daily Advisor states onboarding was the second most important HR initiative for 2020, with 40% of HR leaders stating that it was a top priority.
Keeping the aforementioned significance of the said topic in mind, we’ve got you a few ideas to implement, for a better remote onboarding process.
So let’s dive into them to make your new teammate feel connected, engaged, and roaring with excitement!
Welcome with swag!
Prior to your new hire’s joining date send them a welcome package with some company swag, like company bottles or a backpack along with their employee business card, credentials to all their sources, welcome note, and all their relevant devices.
Greet ’em well
Think of a way in which you can recreate the in-office experience virtually. Schedule a virtual team meeting for an ice-breaker session. You can have a coffee session to introduce the new team member to their colleagues, so you all can greet them directly. This personalized gesture will leave an amazing first impression along with a motivated team member all ready to gel in on their first day.
Be all set and well documented
Once your new teammate is introduced to the team, make sure there’s a virtual space where all your relevant documents are easily accessible to them. Be it the company’s portfolio, HR documents, or any workplace jargon glossary. This makes the virtual orientation process go really smoothly.
Foster a community
Opposite to an in-house office culture, a virtual onboarding process sometimes lacks the extent of social interactions and connection building on the first day. To make sure that you bridge this gap, invest in some HR software like Slack. Foster a community where your employees can interact, socialize and build strong connections in their free time with their new teammates.
Last but not least, stay connected. According to a study by Digitate, 40% of new hires report that they receive delayed responses to job-related queries. This lead to disengaged employees. Do not abandon your worthy new hire after the first day. Keep yourself updated with their performance, the connections they are building, and if they are facing challenges of any kind. Most organizations fail to retain their employees because they do not follow up once their employee is onboard.
Real companies leading the way!
GitLab, ahead of its time was already a fully remote company even before the pandemic. They had a well-established remote onboarding process. They conducted virtual coffee chats, assigned onboarding buddies, and provided extensive documentation and training resources to ensure new employees felt connected and supported.
Slack used its own collaboration platform to adjust its remote onboarding process after Covid-19. They created especially dedicated channels for new hires to connect with colleagues, ask questions, and access resources. Additionally, they organized virtual events and workshops to foster teamwork and communication.
EQRx used to send video-based emails along with personalized company swags as a warm gesture before their employees joined. In addition to that they used to arrange virtual sessions and internal podcast series for the newbies to make the interactions easier.
Vistaprint, an e-commerce company had recorded orientation sessions to be delivered to their new hires. Along with that, they have new hire social day virtually, which helps them to connect with the other team members. They are working on a robust 100-day program, which will guide the new team members to the remote-first experience.
As a leading talent cloud platform, Andela are on a mission not only to connect brilliance with opportunity for global organizations, but to give their talent something extra - a vibrant community to provide mentorship, guidance, and networking potential. From onboarding and beyond, Andela offers their talent the chance to connect across the world through the latest communication and collaboration platforms and tools, using a strong community based strategy, meet-ups, webinars and shareable content to help engage Andelans.
All these companies reported better workforce engagement, motivation, and retention due to their smooth remote onboarding processes.
As remote work is allowing employers to see better productivity and motivation among the employees it has brought along challenges too. Companies need more refined processes to maintain their systems.
With the rise of the remote workplace, you need to think beyond just onboarding. As per research conducted by CareerBuilder, bad onboarding affects employee morale and performance, resulting in resignation in 12% of cases.
Recruiting a new employee takes a lot of effort and money. According to a study by Harvard Business School, companies with a structured onboarding process have a retention rate as high as 50%. This means that an effective and smooth onboarding process is the most critical part in deciding if it’s going to be a success or all in vain.
We hope implementing these suggested ideas will help you with your remote onboarding process.
Alongside, you must keep on gauging and measuring the effectiveness and success of your onboarding process, especially when interacting with colleagues remotely, where it’s harder to gauge human emotions, motivation, and performance from behind the screens. The best way to do so is to take your employees’ feedback on their experiences and keep improving. You’ll be good to go!