As we move through 2021, COVID-19 continues to be a threat. As a result, many businesses that thought they might return to the office this year continue to work remotely.
An increasing number of companies are deciding that remote work might be how they want to operate long-term.
However, that does lead to challenges, especially when it comes to hiring new employees. For example, how can you onboard, train, and welcome someone to your staff when everyone is working from home?
Today’s technology gives you a lot of options. Let’s look at some of the strategies you can use as you hire remotely.
Set the Stage for Excellent Communication
Starting on the right foot is essential to successful onboarding. Make sure you set the stage for excellent communication right away. Ensure the new employee understands the structure of their team and who they should reach out to for different needs.
Then, provide the tools that make that easy. For example, you might use a group chat software or project platform, or both.
When your new team member knows who to connect with and how to do so, they’ll feel much more comfortable from the first interview through their entire tenure.
Everyone has been using video conferencing software to communicate with remote staff, but that doesn’t mean everyone should see your messy office behind you!
When you interview a new employee or are welcoming them and setting expectations, be sure to set a professional tone and example. Your video background should reflect the overall culture of your company.
When you set a strong example upfront, you set the tone for how the employee will act even when the camera is off.
Prepare for a Successful First Day
The first day in any job is nerve-wracking, but it can be especially challenging when you’re working remotely.
If there’s paperwork to do, make sure it’s easy to understand and sign remotely. Instead of emailing documents back and forth, consider an electronic signing tool or other technology solution to streamline the process.
Set up a dedicated go-to person for questions and let the new employee know the schedule for training and orientation. Ensure the go-to person reaches out proactively, rather than always relying on the new hire to take the first step.
It’s a good idea to set up technology in advance of the first day if possible. If that’s not an option, let the new team member know upfront that the first day or two will be dedicated to set up, so they can relax. A session with IT walking through the team tools can bring a lot of peace of mind to a new employee.
Finally, consider sending some fun company swag. It’s hard to feel like you’re part of an organization when you work from home. A company mug, pen, or mousepad can help the new employee feel like part of the team.
Make Introductions Fun
No one really enjoys the typical “get to know you” meeting where everyone shares their favorite color and food before diving into work. Unfortunately, many HR managers aren’t sure what else to offer.
Why not throw a virtual “cocktail” party instead of a stuffy meet-and-greet? Then, everyone can enjoy a beverage of their choice and spend time talking about non-work things like life and each other. This isn’t just a boon for a new employee; it’s fun for everyone on your team.
Strong relationships lay the foundation for a successful career. Making introductions fun will make it easier for the new hire to fit in, get to know people, and build their network. The more closely they bond with the team, the longer they’re likely to stay with your organization.
Schedule One-on-One Meetings
It can be challenging for a manager to keep up with a remote team, and unfortunately, some will fall into a pattern of “no news is good news.” To avoid the isolation that can be part of remote work, ensure that managers set up regular one-on-one meetings with their team, especially new hires.
Giving employees a forum to ask questions, voice concerns, and set goals for their careers will help everyone stay engaged and on target. It also keeps managers on top of problems before they become major issues and threaten to derail a project.
These one-on-one meetings should help make expectations clear, so the new employee knows what’s expected. If you have a ramp-up period, explain the goals at the end of the first month, three months, and six months.
Make sure that nothing is assumed or unspoken. Even if it seems odd, a manager should spell out video meeting etiquette, messaging rules, and work hours. If there are specific formality guidelines with certain levels of management, make sure to say so.
You never want a new hire to feel embarrassed or caught off guard because they didn’t know the unspoken rules.
Remote Hiring Helps You Succeed
When your company is willing to hire remote workers, you position your company for growth and success. Now you can capture talent from around the country or even across the globe. Many people love the flexibility of working remotely, so that can be a draw.
With the tips above, your HR department can avoid floundering as you adjust to this new normal. In time, you’ll master the remote onboarding process, and new employees will feel connected, welcome, and aware of their roles.
Embrace remote hiring and onboarding!
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor