5 best practices for remote onboarding
Is remote onboarding really that different from traditional onboarding? Not exactly. But it might be time you changed things up.
30 December
5 min read
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Plenty of companies experienced problems onboarding remote workers during the pandemic.

Without a physical office in which to welcome new hires, a host of logistical problems arose. One of the biggest was integrating new employees into existing teams.

For recruiters not used to working remotely, it was a shock to the system.

How can you vet someone without meeting them in person? How can you read their body language? How can you really tell if they’re right for the job?

Onboarding from a distance

The onboarding process is important. Maybe even more important than the hiring itself.

According to the Society for Human Resources Management, 69% of employees say they’ll stay with a company longer if they experience good onboarding. Furthermore, 54% of companies with onboarding programs reported higher levels of engagement.

The differences between traditional and remote onboarding aren’t big. Both processes share the same fundamentals: onboarding should be engaging, informative, and social. But how do you make sure you’re checking all those boxes from afar?

The five C’s of remote onboarding

Like our parent company, 5CA, we embrace the 5 C’s of onboarding. But we thought we’d shake things up a little to bring you the 5 C’s of remote onboarding. With them, you can create an effective onboarding path covering both.

Compliance

Setting the tone, compliance is crucial to a successful screening process. It should be top of the list of company priorities. (Yes, even above getting a coffee machine.) We’re talking contracts, agreements, training, incident management plans, and legal paperwork. All of which you can do online.

Look into compliance training to get yourself up to speed.

There are plenty of courses available online. They’re inexpensive and a great thing to have. You’ll learn what information and policies to share with new hires, such as how to report incidents or file complaints. If you’re inclined, you could even do some collaborative learning.

Clarification

Communication is key in all aspects of life. Virtually, it’s more important than ever. Communicating online can be hard. Plain words rarely portray your sentiments and it’s extremely difficult to read body language through video chat.

Let potential hires know they can ask you questions about your company.

This opens the floor for communication. If they know the ball is also in their court, discussions will be honest and open. Be it about safety, human resources, or how much plastic you use yearly. They’ll appreciate it.

Culture

Since the start of the pandemic, loneliness has skyrocketed. It’s hard enough to feel connected to the world, but even harder when you’re in one room. It’s also one of the most common complaints about remote working. Most of us love and respect the freedom of remote working, but how do you marry workplace culture and remote hiring?

Welcome your new hires with employee handbooks to make them feel at home.

Organize fun engagement activities such as intro days, games, or virtual coffee mornings. Happy hours, murder mysteries, Pictionary. If it exists, there’s a way to do it online. If you value your employees, they’ll enjoy working with you anywhere.

Connection

Connection is hard to find and harder to maintain online. Thankfully, there are ways to forge it. For new hires and your existing employees. No matter who they are, people appreciate a human touch. Whether it’s marketing, law, or customer experience; we all long for it.

Make new hires feel welcomed by giving them welcome cards, gifts, or messages.

Introduce them to the team or onboard in groups. This way, the team feels involved, too, and it’s less intimidating. There’s no way to force belonging, but opening the door for it is a good start. And you can do that as well via virtual meetings as you can in any physical office.

Check back

Would you stop texting or calling a new friend? No. The same goes for hires. It’s one thing to welcome an employee, but another to make them feel like they’re valued. You can do this in a ton of ways, at no cost to you.

Keep checking in on new employees.

We’re not saying become a nuisance fly that won’t buzz off, but don’t give them radio silence. Send messages or emails, invite them to video calls to chat, and ask how they’re enjoying their new job. See if they have any problems or issues you can help with or ask for feedback on the onboarding process. They’ll feel appreciated.

Virtual hiring doesn’t have to be hard

We’ve been at this remote working thing for a long time. We’ve experienced most of these problems before.

Thanks to this experience, we’re pretty sure we’ve got this whole work-from-home thing down.

Whether you’re onboarding over a conference call or in a single room, as long as you put the hire first, you’re good to go.

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