Onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee into an organization, and strong onboarding can lead to higher employee engagement and retention. Onboarding provides a new hire with their first real impression of the company culture and values, sets expectations, and provides the tools and training required for their role.
When organizations onboard remote employees, they must find ways to accomplish all of that virtually. It’s much easier to build personal connections, make the employee feel like part of the team, and share the unwritten company culture when everyone is in the same physical space. Creating an effective onboarding experience for remote employees creates new challenges and requires a little more planning and creativity. Here are the top 3 things to consider when developing a virtual onboarding process:
- Be organized and have a plan
Effective virtual onboarding requires more organization and planning than your traditional in-person orientation. You have to make sure the employee has all the equipment, software and system access they need to be up and running on their first day. Introductions can’t happen organically so they must be intentionally scheduled over video, and training materials need to be made available virtually. To ensure the new employee receives a thorough onboarding experience, create a schedule for the first week or two, including meetings, tasks, and training, and send it to them before their first day.
2. Provide opportunities for connection
Personal connections with coworkers help new employees feel like part of the team, which strengthens engagement and retention. Remote workers don’t have the same opportunities to connect with coworkers organically so it’s important to create opportunities for connection, whether through team video conferencing, one-on-one calls, or virtual social activities. Make a point of regularly connecting face-to-face with the new employee over video in their first few weeks to build rapport and connection.
3. Write down the unwritten culture
Every workplace has unwritten rules and norms that aren’t part of the formal company orientation and are instead learned through observation and experience. This exposure to and alignment with the organization’s culture is an important goal of the onboarding process. When an employee works remotely, they don’t have the same opportunities to learn the company culture through informal “water cooler talk”. Give some thought to the unwritten culture of the organization and find ways to translate that information and share it with the new employee.
Onboarding remote employees requires a bit more outside-the-box thinking, but in the end the same goals can be reached. New employees should feel welcomed engaged, and prepared for their role, and an effective virtual onboarding process will help achieve that with remote employees.
Your Engaged HR Assignment: Whether your organization is currently onboarding remotely or thinking about implementing a virtual onboarding process, Engaged HR’s Art of Onboarding interactive workshop can help you learn how to build a well-planned, easy-to-execute onboarding process that sets everyone up for long-term success.