October 04, 2021

Guide to Onboarding Remote Employees

Sam Caucci

Employee onboarding remotely on laptop

Wasting too much time onboarding new hires? 

Having a successful onboarding process is a critical aspect for employers who want to have a high retention rate. Having a high turnover rate is costly and disruptive, and it usually occurs within the first 45 days of employment. 

Now that many organizations have made the shift to remote work, this can cause a whole new set of issues to crop up as onboarding goes online. Here is an overview of the most common mistakes companies make when it comes to hiring and how to onboard employees successfully, and how you can avoid them moving forward. 

What is Remote Onboarding?

Let’s start with defining what exactly we mean by remote onboarding. Remote onboarding refers to the process of bringing on a new team member and introducing them to their role, their team and the overall organization. This entire process could take anywhere from a week to a few days, or even longer, before the new employee is completely integrated and working seamlessly in their new role and regular schedule. 

6 Common Mistakes When Onboarding New Employees

These are the top five mistakes that organizations make when it comes to new hires, according to Sales Benchmark Index:

1. A lackluster orientation.

Their studies show that over two-thirds of new hires are dissatisfied with their first day on the job. This is mainly because their supervisors were too busy to give them adequate attention and instead left them to figure things out on their own. Many new hires expressed being upset that their meetings were cut short and that they were handed off to other employees leaving them feeling disengaged on their first day. 

2. Not having a proper onboarding plan in place. 

Employees who understand what is expected of them on the job are more satisfied in their roles than those who don’t. New hires have expressed that having a detailed onboarding plan which outlines the doing and the knowing parts of the job helped make their first 6 months more impactful.

3. Inadequate mentorship or support. 

Many new hires end up feeling “passed around” when their supervisors are too busy to help get them situated and informed. This can occur in a remote setting when new hires don’t know who to contact when they need help or end up asking people who can’t provide them with the answers they need. 

4. No proper structure or milestones outlined. 

New hires who are given a structured onboarding plan with set goals and milestones, along with accountability, are usually able to get up to speed faster than those who aren’t given one. 

5. Training is too complex.

Many new hires who fail to get integrated fast enough felt that their training was too complicated. The best new hire orientation programs are ones that are easy to follow, and that build up as time goes on as the new employee’s familiarity with their role grows. 

6. New employees can feel isolated from the rest of the team, instead of feeling a part of it. 

One way you can help overcome these negative feelings is to set them up with meetings with key members in their team. And these don’t need to be all about work. You can schedule virtual coffees throughout their initial week to get them familiar with others and have more casual introductions which would otherwise occur naturally in an office environment. 

Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid many of these mistakes by having a more thoughtful approach to onboarding your new hires. Here is our checklist for deploying a successful onboarding remote employee process.

Get your team ready for the new employee’s first day.

While your new hire might not be directly working along with your other employees, you still want them to feel included with the rest of the team. Help foster this dynamic even before they start their first day. 

Once you decide to onboard a new person and give them a start date, you should communicate these details to the rest of the team that they will be joining. Inform them of their new team member, what role they will fill and what their start date is. Assign one member of your team to be their mentor and can act as their go-to when they have any questions or need support so that they aren’t left fending for themselves. 

Make sure the rest of the team understands that they will need to make themselves available in order to support the new hire as needed so that the new employee will feel empowered to ask questions and receive help. 

Get their tech ready in advance. 

In addition to preparing your team to support your new employee, make sure that they are also set up with any tools or technology they need to successfully do their job on their first day. Having technical issues when doing remote work can dampen their spirit, so avoiding these issues for new hires will support a smooth transition. 

Having the right equipment and access is vital for remote workers to be productive, especially if you don’t have on-site tech support like you would at the office. You should arrange to have all of the necessary equipment delivered to your new employee before their first day so that they are prepared. 

If your new hire will need access to special systems, make sure that you give them a copy of the steps they need to take to gain access so they can immediately begin the process and ask for the access they need for their role. 

Pencil in regular one-on-one meetings. 

As your new employee settles into their role, it’s important to make time for regular meetings with them to stay in the loop of how they are progressing and to offer them support as needed. While having these one-on-one meetings is typically standard practice for many supervisors with all of their employees, it might be helpful to have more frequent check-ins with newer employees.

For employees who are still figuring things out in their roles, setting up a structured document where they are able to share questions or talking points they would like to discuss during their next meeting might be helpful for making sure these conversations stay on track and are the most productive that they can be.

You can use these first meetings to check in on your new hires’ major milestones in your onboarding plan and give them a safe space to get support. Engaging in daily conversations with new hires is a great way to start to build trust with them. 

Conduct welcome video conference meetings with the whole team. 

Did you know that 35% of remote workers report feeling lonely a few days per week? For those just starting in a new remote work environment, these feelings could arise more often. One effective way to help support new hires is to set up intro video conference calls with other members of the team. 

These meetings don’t need to occur on a regular schedule, however, during the first few weeks of onboarding, your new hire should have had the opportunity to have virtual face-to-face meetings with their new teammates on a video conferencing platform. 

Just like one-on-one meetings, these first conversations can help build trust between the new employee and your current team. Plus, these will help give your new hire a chance to feel like they are a part of the team and give them a secure environment to get to know each other.

Be prepared with digital onboarding and workplace culture documents ready to send out. 

Having a plan that clearly outlines and documents what a new hire can expect as they get to know their role, especially in a remote setting. For your organization, this could look like 30, 60 or 90-day milestones that you put in place for your new employee, or having a custom onboarding plan that is easy to access and updated for every employee. 

For example, when adding a new team member, you must have an effective training program that keeps your employees engaged. Of course, there are also emerging technologies that can help support your employee training regimen that comes in all shapes and sizes. However, a gamified training platform like 1Huddle is a cost-effective way to meet your employees’ learning needs whether they work remotely or not. 

At 1Huddle, we offer cloud-based employee gamification software that can easily adapt to any employee training or gamification strategy you want to implement at your workplace. You can customize your content for a seamless experience and all of your employees will be able to access their training anywhere, anytime, and at the push of a button. You can use our gamification platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your gamification strategy next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your own workforce? Start your free trial of 1Huddle today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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