Six Effective Ways to Onboard Your Employees Remotely

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Corporations have been adjusting to many challenges as communities around the world have shut down. With enforced social distancing, working from home became the new normal before many employers and employees were able to equip themselves with the right processes, tools, and training to support remote working en masse. However, teams have managed to work together and quickly adapt, continuing to meet deadlines while also staying safe.

While current employees are in the process of getting back on track, what about new ones? In such a situation, there are proven ways organizations can resume successful new hire orientation through a remote, virtual process.

New Hire: Welcome Aboard

Embrace communication apps

New hires are usually excited to join their new workplace but, for some, this excitement is mixed with anxiety. In the current situation, new employees join the company from home and don’t get to meet their colleagues in person. Organizations can add a personal touch by sending welcoming emails and videos to make new hires feel connected to the organization. Additionally, lack of face-to-face communication may make it difficult for new hires to find the right channels for query resolution. Organizations should enhance standard approaches by quickly setting up communication software such as Skype, email, instant messaging platforms such as Slack, and project management tools such as Trello.

Digitize paperwork

One of the biggest challenges most organizations face while working remotely is completing forms for new hires. During a lockdown, sending over documents may not be possible. E-signature tools such as DocuSign and HelloSign let employees add their signatures to documents in a digital format. These tools are secure, hassle-free, and accelerate paperwork. Creating digital process flows provides new hires a complete understating of their onboarding journey. Additionally, to help expedite the new hire process, companies can create online assessments and post-hire surveys.

Chronicle your company culture

HR departments can share company policies and training resources electronically until the new hires have been formally incorporated into a learning management system (LMS). Despite this information-sharing, working remotely may not give a feel for the company culture. To tackle this, HR departments can share videos that provide institutional insight and help new staff understand the values and work styles of the organization. This will also provide quick updates for anyone, accessible on demand.

Promote inclusion

While working from home, new hires may feel detached from ongoing tasks and projects. Project managers should include new hires in functional meetings to help them understand their roles. Project managers can also share task calendars and involve them in online discussions related to current and upcoming projects. Training simulations of company processes can also be employed to deliver structured activities that mimic business operations and provide hands-on experience.

Initiate peer mentoring programs

While some enjoy working from the comfort of home, remote work is not for everyone. Working from home for extended periods may affect mental health—especially in times of a pandemic, which may cause uncertainty, confusion, and anxiety. Peer mentoring can help new hires feel heard and connected to their colleagues. Daily check-ins with the mentor can keep the protégés (new hires) motivated and engaged.

Redefine virtual learning

Rethink your standard training approach for new hire orientation. Multi-blended learning can still be achieved remotely by developing role-specific training, simulations, animations, videos, and games. Engaging new hires through mobile devices will be imperative through these challenging times. Incorporating virtual workshops, including pre- and post-work with micro-interactives as part of the process, will increase learning, motivation, and retention.

Refining your new hire orientation to a virtual format is challenging but, with a well-planned strategy and innovative tools and technology, bridging the remote gap can be accomplished successfully.

To find out more about our onboarding programs and learning solutions and how KnowledgeWorks Global Ltd. can help you achieve your learning and performance goals, please contact: