Working from home is here to stay… at least for a decent proportion of the UK workforce.
The shift in working habits is also one of the reasons behind the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ which has brought on an unprecedented number of resignations and vacancies in recent times.
With workers seeking a better work-life balance, greater well-being and a reduction in commuting time, the pressure is on businesses to support the demands of existing employees as well as new hires.
One of the challenges this presents is remote onboarding.
Prior to the pandemic, this isn’t a problem many businesses would have faced. Onboarding was likely done face-to-face, in the office.
And there are several benefits to face-to-face onboarding. Spending time with the teams you’d be working closely with and being able to lean over to the person next to you to ask a question is a little more personal than waiting for a reply on Microsoft Teams.
In 2022, With 14% of workers in the UK currently working exclusively remotely and 24% enjoying hybrid working arrangements, businesses need to also offer an effective remote and hybrid onboarding program.
Basically, even after the pandemic, remote and hybrid work isn’t going anywhere.
In this article, we’re going to look at how to make remote onboarding successful and the tools you can use to support new hires that work from home.
The challenges of remote onboarding
Starting a new role can be an overwhelming experience, especially if there isn’t the right level of support available to help someone get up to speed.
People may also feel isolated and willing to suffer in silence rather than ask for help – particularly if the onboarding process isn’t effective or streamlined.
For businesses, there are several challenges as well. Do they have the right software to support remote onboarding? Is the key information to help someone get started easily accessible and digestible? Does the new starter know who their key stakeholders are and how to get in contact with them?
To make sure of a smooth remote onboarding process of all, there are several steps you can follow and tools available to make it as easy as possible.
How to support remote onboarding
- Check-in regularly – A short check-in once a day is a great way to help someone settle in, as well as give them an opportunity to ask any pressing questions. These check-ins don’t need to be overbearing but act as a way of making sure things are going smoothly and that the new hire has everything they need to do their job.
- Be in contact before they start – In fact, good communication should start before someone begins their new role. This can also ease some of the anxiety that comes with starting a new role, by giving instructions on how to get their tech setup and what is going to be expected of them in their first week.
- Introductions and inductions – It’s vital for new hires to get to know the key stakeholders that they will be interacting with, even if it’s done over video. Set up calls with relevant people from around the business, giving your new starter time to learn the business and ask any relevant questions.
- Communication apps – Make sure that new employees are set up on the relevant communication channels, such as Slack or Zoom. This includes invitations to any group or team chats that can help people to settle in and generally feel like they’re part of the wider business.
- Signpost support – Even if you have a world-beating learning and development programme, it’s no good if you haven’t signposted it correctly. Make sure that any training documents are easy to access and that someone has support at hand if they need to ask any questions whilst they get up to speed.
- Software support – Many roles will require people to learn a new application or piece of software. Whilst some of these tools have in-built tools and helpful content, others may require additional support. This could be in the form of videos, eLearning courses or a digital adoption solution and can be the difference between seamless onboarding and software frustration.
- L&D culture – To foster a positive learning culture, make sure that learning and development are included during the onboarding process. Let new hires know about what learning is available and where they can find out more information.
- Highlight benefits – Everyone loves benefits and work perks and like training, it’s important to make sure these are clearly signposted. The last thing you want is a remote worker not being aware of the various benefits and perks that might be available to them.
- Clear processes – Some processes tend to be easier to learn in person. In a traditional office, you can see the processes of a business in action, whereas from home it’s a little trickier. Having some charts and diagrams that explain roles, responsibilities and processes can help someone get up to speed with how things work.
- Who’s who? – Even after inductions with department heads it can be tricky to know and remember everyone in a business, especially if it’s a large organization. Keep an org chart to hand so that someone can get to grips with who’s who in your business.
- Offer face-to-face meetings – Even if someone is a remote worker, they still might benefit from meeting the team face-to-face. It can sometimes be beneficial to have someone’s first day in the office to help them settle in and get up to speed.
- Socials – A social is a great way to help someone settle in. Going out for a team meal or activity, like an escape room, is a great way to break the ice.
Remote onboarding software
Communication apps – Keeping connected is an important aspect of any business, especially one that wants to offer remote work effectively. There are lots of communication apps available, but whether you choose Zoom, Teams, Google or Slack, the key thing is consistency. Ideally, everyone in the business should be using the same tool and should have the tech in place to run these systems effectively. Having ground rules and group chats set up should also help to encourage users to keep using them.
Digital adoption solutions – A digital adoption solution offers an added layer of support to remote workers who need to learn new software and systems. If they needed to learn Salesforce, for example, a digital adoption solution offers handy prompts and tooltips to help them move forward with specific tasks. This can reduce frustration, remove common blockers and help onboarding go that little bit more smoothly.
Learning management systems – As we discussed earlier, signposting is critical when it comes to benefits and learning and development. Investing in a dedicated LMS like Docebo or Rise means you can keep your training and learn courses organized and easily accessible to everyone in your organization. Otherwise, it’s likely to be a frustrating experience for new starters when they can’t find the materials that they are looking for.
Sharepoint – Going back to organisation. No one likes to arrive at a new job only to find a mess of documents and naming conventions. Use Sharepoint to encourage consistency and keep files organized. This is key for business continuity and can make things easier for new members of the team.
Remote onboarding conclusions
Remote onboarding is likely here to stay, with many workers keen to continue working from home in the future. Although it has required some adapting from businesses, there are several tips and tools you can put into place to make it a seamless process.
Looking to improve your remote onboarding processes? Talk to our team about the eLearning solutions that can help.
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