By Rucha Bhalekar, Regional Communications Manager, Httpool APAC
Welcome to the team. Remotely.
In the digital world, running an online business comes hand in hand with remotely hiring new employees and making sure they have all the tools and resources they need for success. The past year and a half has proven that a successful onboarding experience is possible without ever even having to set foot in an office.
The early bird gets the worm
It’s crucial to establish a framework for your new employee’s smooth integration into your firm and into their new role, ready for their first day.
Employees working remotely may not have access to business resources such as a dedicated workstation, desk, or computer. So, how can you help to get these tools ready for your new starter? Ensure they receive all essential items (laptops, internet devices, HR manuals, welcome kit, etc.) before their start date and communication is key – To close the gap, talk to your new hires and find out exactly what they need for an easy transition and which resources they may be missing.
Nice to e-meet you
Now is the time to really get to know your new employees and introduce them to the rest of the team. In a typical office situation, you’d be giving your new hire the grand tour, doing face-to-face introductions, and maybe even treating them to lunch out with the team. However, with remote working comes digital adjustments.
These interactions are still paramount for distant personnel to be integrated into the team but, how can you do this successfully? Endless zoom calls trying to understand who everyone is and what they do can be overwhelming and lead to ‘zoom fatigue’ so, keep it simple and ease them in slowly planning calls with leaders in their first week. Make up for the lack of watercooler conversations with relaxed and informal digital chat spaces to help employees understand the organization they’ve been hired into and its culture.
Why not plan a virtual happy hour or coffee break for new employees to meet their coworkers in a casual environment? Assisting new hires in forming relationships early on will provide the groundwork for your company’s long-term success.
While you’re at it, provide an organizational chart with company teams, positions, and contact information to assist new hires in putting faces to names.
You’re not alone
Throughout the onboarding process, frequent and meaningful communication is critical for your new employees to establish a relationship with their team and the company; ensuring they have all the tools and knowledge necessary for success.
There are numerous official and informal ways to connect with your new hires. Set aside time each week for managers to check in with their employees, providing a virtual “open door.” To make meetings more personal and boost team engagement, encourage employees to turn on their video when conferencing.
Pulling from my own experience, my HR manager, Ayushi, sent me our pre-manual kit before my start date to ensure my virtual onboarding was smooth and hassle-free; it’s details like these that can really make all the difference! During my first month of service, I tested positive for COVID-19. I distinctly remember she gave me a call offering support during those difficult quarantine days and was in touch regularly to take a note on my health. As a new joiner, I knew I was in a good place.
Managers and HR leaders should follow up with new personnel frequently. As remote work inhibits the organic connections between individuals working together in an office, more frequent check-ins are required than in a typical onboarding procedure.
Get personal – Hold one-on-one meetings with new hires once a week to check-in and offer support.
Communication should be effortless for your remote workers. In today’s workplace, sending an email and waiting for a response just isn’t going to cut it. Employ remote working solutions for communication to ensure your employees feel genuinely connected. Using messaging tools or platforms such as Workplace by Facebook or Bamboo HR helps you to stay connected with the global workforce and plan goals/tasks in line with your worldwide agenda.
Face-to-face connections are another excellent approach to make your remotely working team feel more united. Many studies show that technology has rendered face-to-face interactions obsolete. While this may be true in some cases, technology enables face-to-face engagement in the case of remote work. Holding weekly meetings with your distant workers using video communication services such as Zoom or Skype can make all the difference to their working routine if they can’t make it into the office.
Add a personal touch – Don’t just talk about work during your weekly video sessions, to strengthen your bond and build team rapport. Why not build team spirit by joining global initiatives such as a Football or Cricket league, connecting employees all around the world.We at Httpool just planned one around the #EURO2020 for all the #Httpeople to promote a sense of belonging and cross-cultural celebration for the love of Football.
We’re not saying remote onboarding doesn’t come with its own set of issues but the future does indeed belong to those able to adapt. Preparing ahead of time and putting a strong focus on communication, feedback and training is the key to staying ahead of the digital curve.