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Michelle Palasek has 20 years in the staffing industry working in sales and marketing operations. She currently serves as a Sr. Marketing Communications Specialist at SGA.

Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees

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According to Forbes, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, and over a quarter of them participate in some form of hybrid work. As remote work continues to gain traction, virtual onboarding has become a staple of the modern hiring process. With that said, however, onboarding remote employees can prove to be a bit challenging.

With that in mind, join us as we explore how to onboard remote employees so that you can make a great first impression with new hires and accelerate their path to productivity.

How to Onboard Remote Employees

Onboarding remote employees requires a well-structured plan. Remember, this will represent the person’s first significant interaction with your business. A smooth process, therefore, can set the stage for a long and mutually beneficial relationship. Conversely, a rocky process may leave your new team member feeling unprepared.

10 Remote Onboarding Tips

If you want to make the new hire process more frictionless, you should:

1. Provide a Roadmap

Before their first day, provide a clear plan that covers your new hire’s first week, month, and quarter. It should include introductions to team members, training sessions, and regular check-ins. By providing a structured schedule of events, you’ll help your new hire understand their role and how they fit into the larger organizational picture.

2. Use Digital Tools

Leverage technology to create an engaging and efficient experience. Digital platforms can streamline paperwork, immerse new hires in your company culture, and provide training materials accessible from anywhere.

3. Foster Personal Connections

Building personal connections represents a vital component of working in a setting where face-to-face interactions are limited. Schedule virtual meet-and-greets with team members, assign a mentor or buddy to your new hire, and encourage informal virtual coffee chats. These interactions can help new employees build a support network and integrate into the team more smoothly.

4. Set Clear Expectations

Don’t leave new hires in the dark regarding your policies and expectations of them. Clearly communicate their responsibilities and your performance expectations. Discuss their long-term goals, as well. Doing so demonstrates that you are interested in their personal success, not just in what they can contribute to the business.

5. Provide Comprehensive Training

If you want to empower your remote workers, you’ll need to provide comprehensive training. In addition to job-specific training, include sessions on using communication tools, data security practices, and navigating the company’s digital resources. Interactive and multimedia training materials can enhance the learning experience and ensure information retention.

6. Encourage Open Communication

Your onboarding process shouldn’t feel like you are just running the participants down an arbitrary checklist. Create an environment that encourages open communication. Use video conferences to check in with staff to maintain a personal connection and encourage new hires to speak up, ask questions, and voice their concerns.

7. Offer Flexibility

Remote work provides an exceptional amount of flexibility. However, you must recognize that remote workers may be in different time zones or have varying personal commitments. While maintaining some degree of structure, offer flexibility in work hours whenever possible.

8. Cultivate a Strong Company Culture

Integrating remote workers into your company culture can be challenging, but it’s essential for building a cohesive team. Share your company’s values, mission, and vision early on. Encourage participation in virtual team-building activities and social events to strengthen relationships and foster a sense of belonging.

9. Provide Feedback and Support

New hires require continuous support and feedback. As such, letting your staff know that you are in their corner will provide a morale boost and reinforce their value to the team and company. Make sure your feedback loops are a two-way street. Even people who have just joined your organization can offer valuable perspectives and insights.

10. Review and Refine Your Workflows

Finally, the onboarding process should be dynamic, adapting to new technologies, feedback, and the changing needs of the workforce wherever possible. Regularly review and refine your strategy based on feedback from the HR team and staff.

Make Onboarding an Organizational Strength

Effectively onboarding remote employees requires a combination of thoughtful planning, the right digital tools, and a focus on personal connections and clear communication. By adopting the best practices listed above, your company can create a welcoming and productive environment for remote hires.