So you’ve just completed a rigorous interview process and have got a competent team to work with. Now, it’s time to assign work to them, right? Well, not quite.
You’ll need to carry out an on-boarding process for them first. Both employees and managers may find on-boarding lengthy and tedious. There’s a new app to install, new best practices to study, logistics to keep in mind, and a dizzying array of protocols to consider.
And the modern trend of remote work can make on-boarding even more challenging. The rise in virtual work driven by busy schedules, new technologies, and global events, such as COVID-19, has changed most conventional office processes.
In this modern working setting, managers may find it challenging to orient and integrate a new hire into the organization from miles away. So, how can you virtually onboard new hires?
1. Choose a Communication or Video Conference Program
The first step is to choose a video conference tool for the on-boarding process. With many applications out there, how do you select the right one? Follow these tips:
- Number of participants: You may want the new employee to talk with other colleagues during the on-boarding process. If that’s the case, you should consider a program that allows adding more users to a video call.
- Ease of use: Choose a tool that’s easy to use. Should you go for one with a confusing user interface, you may experience long delays and annoying interruptions as participants try to share their screens and turn their mics and video feed on and off.
- Mobile experience: The purpose of video conferencing is to connect with your new hires remotely, and that may mean using mobile devices. Thus, go for a service that’s compatible with both mobile and desktop devices.
- Recording: At times, you may want to save the virtual meeting’s highlights and go through later or share it with your colleagues. Find out the amount of recording space available on each tool. Most services provide cloud storage for recordings and limit the storage space per user.
- Screen sharing: To keep the participants engaged and make the on-boarding process more interactive, choose a video conferencing tool that allows screen sharing.
Examples of Video Conference Software to Consider:
After selecting the right app, please communicate with your new hire so they can install the same software, and sign up beforehand.
2. Create a Resource Hub for the Trainee
Have you ever held a meeting with a new employee, and they still ask the same questions you’d answered earlier? Well, it’s because, during onboarding, people may be too nervous, or they could miss out on the many details you’re providing.
To prevent such scenarios, you may want to create a resource hub where the new staff can refer whenever they have a question or don’t know how to handle a situation.
The resource hub may consist of:
- Instructionals: These are text guides that teach people how to carry out certain procedures in the company. Some roles require specific steps, and it may be difficult for a new person to master it all at once. They can refer to an instructional anytime they’re stuck.
- Videos: Visual content always works better and is easy to process. So, you may put some guides in text and create videos for the same, so people can easily follow and understand.
- Policies: Every business has its set of procedures that all employees must follow. Include all the policies under resources for people to refer to when necessary.
You can host the resource hub on a cloud storage app, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, and share it during on-boarding.
3. Ensure the Trainee Has the Necessary Equipment and Bandwidth
Remote trainees will require equipment, including a headset, laptop, and monitor. Not all new employees have these tools at home, so it’s essential to contact them and confirm whether they have all they need.
Some organizations often provide their remote workers with the required equipment, either by sending them funds to purchase the necessary devices or mailing everything they need to start working. You may also want to send them some welcome swag like a tee or branded mug.
To send them these things, you’ll need their home address, phone number, and email. After confirming the start date, be sure to mail them everything required to get started a couple of days beforehand so they can prepare their workspace.
Once you’re sure the trainee is ready, it’s time to confirm that everything works as required. The on-boarding process won’t be smooth if the employee has some issues with their personal computer, such as the inability to install the video conference app.
That’s why it’s crucial to test the equipment upfront. Give them sufficient time to identify possible problems; in some cases, a simple PC cleanup and speeding up the operating system or upgrading software could do the trick.
As the last resort, they might have to purchase new equipment, so it’s necessary to address these issues before the start.
4. Establish a Schedule and Timetable
This being a virtual exercise, you’ll probably be on-boarding people who are thousands of miles away from you. That means there’s a difference in your time zones, which is why you need to create a meeting schedule and share it with the new employee.
Use a tool like Google Calendar to schedule the meeting. Be sure to include a reminder a few hours before the meeting.
It would help if you also created a timetable detailing the list of things to discuss and the duration each will take. Be sure to define when the meeting will start and end, and communicate the same to the person you’ll be on-boarding.
5. Prepare Them for Remote Work
Don’t forget that your on-boarding process will set the tone for the future work your trainee will contribute to your company.
Your on-boarding process might be delegated to a virtual setting due to the current pandemic. However, in some cases, you might be on-boarding employees who will work remotely permanently even after social distancing orders have been lifted.
If that is the case and your trainee doesn’t have previous remote work experience, your on-boarding process is a chance to ease them into this new work arrangement and prepare them for possible challenges ahead.
In this part of the on-boarding process, you should educate them on some tried and tested techniques for staying productive, avoiding distractions, setting up a home office, as well as introduce them to existing policies on reporting, communication, or collaboration.
Virtual on-boarding can be easy once you have a plan and the right resources in place. With these tips, you can quickly and efficiently set your new employee on their path to success, regardless of whether they will join you in the office or stay part of your virtual team.
Don’t forget to express genuine excitement to the new hires for joining your organization. It’s a way of creating a positive first impression and a friendly culture that your new employee can thrive in.