Tips & tricks for onboarding remote workers

We’re all well aware by now that things are changing with self-isolating and non-essential travel in place. Remote recruiting, hiring and onboarding is the only way to go if you have key roles that cannot remain unfilled and you are determined to carry on business as usual to minimise disruption.

So we’ve pulled together some tips and tricks below to help you on your way to remote onboarding amazingness.

1. Set clear expectations

The recruitment process is the beginning of the onboarding experience for the candidate, especially for remote employees so it’s important that expectations are set during the interview process. Be aware of the common struggles of remote workers and share your ideas for solutions to these.

Be transparent

Managing workloads, ill-defined hours of work, and lack of accountability are always amongst remote workers’ negative feedback. Be transparent and honest about workload, hours of work, and any key performance goals for their role. Defining these at an early stage will help avoid confusion and conflict further down the line and also help your candidate understand what is expected of them from the start.

Convey your culture

Remember, as the candidate is not actually stepping foot in your office for an interview, they’ll be relying on your social media and website to gauge your culture and vibe. Make sure these tools authentically portray your employee experience as well as they convey your customer experience.
Ensure your “Meet the team” page is up-to-date and accurate and don’t be afraid to post internal fun (albeit over video chat or instant messaging at the moment) on your social media, it doesn’t have to all be about the product or service!

2. Create a remote onboarding checklist

Take some time to create a remote onboarding checklist

There’s a good chance you have a checklist in existence already for new hires, but it may not be specific to remote hires. Some points will remain the same, but others won’t be relevant at all, and some new ones will have to be created especially. You want them to feel comfortable and able to crack on with work as soon as possible, so think about what tools and information they’ll need to get up to speed quickly.

Be as detailed as possible

Consider the tools they will need – who needs to set your employee up on what tech platforms? If your office manager, or the employee themselves are responsible for fulfilling a checklist, they should know exactly what they need to do. At Cast UK, we like to use an app called Process Street to create specific to do lists of things like new starters.

Being clear about this from the start means your employee will be up and running sooner rather than later. They’ll also have a much better experience which is key to ensuring they start their new role in the best frame of mind.

3. Send a welcome pack

While some things, like your company handbook, offer letter and contract, can be sent digitally, other things need a little bit of advanced planning. This is a great opportunity to send a welcome package in the mail, after all, everyone is used to receiving emails & digital documents, but receiving an item or items in the post shows you have gone the extra mile to make them feel welcome.

If you’re unable to get the items you would normally gift in a welcome pack, branded hoodies, notepads, pens etc, due to the current lockdown, then think of something else you could send instead. Even if it’s not branded, your new starter would still appreciate some new pens and a notepad to use in their new role.

Or you could even send them a pamper package to relax after their first week on the job. Just something to say, ‘Welcome – you’re part of the team!’ and to let them know you’re excited for them to join the gang, even though it’s not face-to-face.

4. Make sure you introduce the team

Helping your new employee meet their colleagues is easy when they’re in the office, you waltz them around the office, introducing them to everyone and explaining roles and team structures. Sure, they might forget some names for the first few days, but nothing beats a friendly, in-person chat, welcoming smile and lunch break catch-ups. This is definitely a little trickier working remotely, but don’t let that be a reason to not do it.

Put face to names

It’s best to do this over video so the new hire can ‘put faces to names’. This will also help curb the feelings of isolation and nervousness about reaching out to people with queries or tasks, and can help fast-track their grasp of the company’s culture. So make sure you put time aside to introduce them to the team and don’t let it get put off. Not feeling properly part of the business can be really disheartening for a new start, which in turn is likely to hinder their performance.

Social Calendar

Make sure they know the social calendar, you don’t want them missing out on Friday pints, even if it is just on a video platform. It’s nice to get to know about your colleagues’ lives outside of work and understand their personalities in a more informal setting to forge stronger working relationships.

5. Take time to ask what works for them

So far we’ve spoken about setting boundaries and expectations from your perspective. However, take the time to ask your new employee about their preferences for things you can be flexible on. Hearing how your new employee would prefer to hear feedback, take meetings, or be issued tasks can make all the difference.

Take the time to hear their thoughts to show you’re prepared to listen and that you’re considering their specific needs. Why not create a ‘How I work’ document and ask your new employee to fill it out? Set time to revisit this too as their preferences may change as they settle in, and processes may need to be revised to suit.

6. Always be learning

Ask your new starters for feedback, how they found your onboarding process and if they have any suggestions on how to improve it.

As a business, Cast UK have always seen the value of continuous training, and so we created a central database of helpful content, courses and training material in an online learning resource that’s accessible to all in one place, which means it can be accessed at any time.

Of course, all companies have their own methods, culture and quirks so it’s important that your remote onboarding process is reviewed regularly to ensure that any ideas and suggestions are incorporated to improve the overall experience.

Better still, once lockdown is eased you can still use your remote onboarding process to hire future homeworking team members should this pandemic change working practices and employee requirements for the long term.

Do you need more help with finding the remote talent you need to keep your business running smoothly? Call 0333 121 3345 for a chat about how Cast UK can help.