How to improve the onboarding experience for remote workers

Digital onboarding is a growing need as remote work becomes more popular. Learn some practical tips for improving your digital onboarding workflow.

Onboarding employees successfully is a critical need for every business. An informed, prepared and focused staff member can prove to be valuable in just a short time.

Many onboarding strategies focus on the traditional model of in-person training and development. With remote work becoming a more popular option across the economy, businesses need to address the different circumstances that many new hires may find themselves in. How can your company improve its onboarding experience for new remote workers?

"It's relatively simple to automate the sharing of videos and virtual explanations of company history, benefits information, etc." says Lorri Zelman, Division Director of Beacon Hill's HR Division in New York. "The remote onboarding challenge HR professionals are facing is – how do you indoctrinate someone in your unique culture from afar? You work hard to recruit the right people. How do you get them to stay? The virtual world's biggest challenge is connection and engagement as part of a team, because nothing will replicate the benefits of being in the same room with your colleagues. Nevertheless, a thoughtful and engaging virtual onboarding experience can accomplish making a new hire feel like part of the team, as well as remind current and tenured employees why they joined the company in the first place."

A woman working remotely.

Don't reinvent the wheel

Assuming your company's onboarding practices produce positive results, you shouldn't look to completely and drastically overhaul them because new staff members are getting up to speed through video calls, chat and emails as opposed to primarily in-person efforts.

You will have to adapt your current strategy to align with the needs and capabilities of remote employees, of course. However, that doesn't mean starting from scratch. A review of current procedures that identifies areas where change is needed will help keep the best parts of the onboarding process intact while also helping you direct your time and effort to specific areas where it's needed.

Leverage prepared resources but don't rely on them entirely

The Society for Human Resource Management said video is a crucial tool in onboarding. While video in this context often brings video calls to mind, it also applies to prepared media that can be shared with new staff members.

Your company likely has a standard presentation, or a series of them, covering things like benefits, expectations in the workplace, technical details like filling out internal paperwork and tax forms and similar topics for recently hired staff. Creating an engaging, informative video or videos for recent hires to watch helps build a standardized and enriching experience. Following these videos up with a group discussion and question-and-answer period brings the all-important human element into the conversation, making sure these team members feel listened to while providing an opportunity to resolve any questions or concerns.

Similarly, documentation of policies, benefits, organizational structure and related pieces of information can be distributed digitally instead of handed out in person. This strategy is worth considering in general, at least in addition to sharing a paper copy. Offering a digital version means they can always look up specific information and quickly locate any necessary document kept on their local hard drive or in a cloud storage solution.

Carve out time for one-on-one meetings

Prepared media and group sessions are indisputably valuable to building both knowledge of your company and creating a sense of familiarity and even camaraderie among new hires. That said, it's also vital to have more dedicated time for discussions set aside between fresh staff and their supervisors. These conversations allow for more individualized conversations and sharing of information that wouldn't be practical in group settings.

Fast Company explained that HR needs to take a leading role in establishing an expectation for such meetings. Many managers will recognize the importance of one-on-one sessions with new hires, but this understanding isn't universal. By making the value of such meetings explicit and expected, the company as a whole and the individual new hires will all benefit.

Finding the best staff for your organization

A great onboarding experience will help a qualified and eager candidate quickly and efficiently move into their new role whether they're working remotely or coming into the office every day. Beacon Hill is here to support staffing needs across the modern economy. To learn more, get in touch with us today.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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