You’ve survived the grueling task of interviewing dozens of potential candidates and have found THE ONE! Or perhaps the many as the case may be. Now comes the challenge of onboarding…. How do you make your new remote team members feel welcome? Let’s be honest, Zoom happy hours are played out. Here are 3 fresh ideas to successfully onboard and engage your new remote employees:
Don’t wait until they start
Successful onboarding and engagement begin before your employees even start. By providing your new team members with information and connection prior to their start date you help build momentum, excitement, and engagement from the off. Consider sending them high level details about the projects they will be working on or resources to help them properly set up their home office (psst… we can help you with that one!). You might even send them relevant educational links or articles that help them hit the ground running on day one. Sharing resources on company culture in advance of their start date is also a great idea. The more integrated they can feel early on, the more likely that their official training will be successful once they start.
This may seem obvious, but one of the fastest ways for someone to feel lost in their first weeks as a remote employee is if they are struggling with your technology systems. Make a list of all the tools you use – from Slack to Teams, Outlook to CRM. Even the ones that seem obvious, don’t assume that every new hire will know how to use them. Zoom and Teams are a great example of this. Yes, they’ve become widely used this past year, but your new hire may be coming from a long furlough or a different industry that didn’t use these platforms. Make sure that all technology systems your company utilizes are accounted for on your list and map out both initial training for your new hire as well as follow up sessions and small group/one-on-one coaching. Technology will be the lifeblood for both managing and integrating your remote staff so ensuring that they are confident with all the systems you use is key!
Small group socializing and support
Big team meetings or virtual events can often feel impersonal, forced, or intimidating for a new hire who is joining as a remote employee. That’s not to say that they don’t have their place but try to also incorporate small group sessions, peer mentors, or task related support groups to help your new hire connect with teammates in a smaller setting. If you have a few new hires starting at the same time, facilitating a weekly check in with one of their more tenured peers can also be a great way to help them feel connected.
Managing and engaging remote employees is a skill that all leaders have had to sharpen this past year. And one that is vitally important to the successful onboarding of new hires as well. Even if you can’t take your new employee to lunch like you would have in the past, these three tips provide a fresh, effective approach to helping them feel connected and excited even before they start on day one!