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Everything you need to know to successfully onboard new staff remotely

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Send your new starters their laptop and tech well in advance

As soon as an employee’s start date has been confirmed, order their laptop, keyboard, mouse and any other tech that they need – such as company phone, tablet or second device.

Communicate with your IT department to make sure that all software and programmes that they’ll need are installed. Once the tech has been arrived and checked, send it to your new starter so they have everything ready to go.

Also make sure someone from IT is on-hand to assist them remotely on their first day if they have any difficulties getting set up.

Gift company merchandise

Everyone looks forward to a warm welcome to ease those first-day nerves, and that’s something that can be difficult to achieve remotely. However, sending a ‘welcome package’ of branded merchandise can help new starters feel like a valued part of the team. Think about practical items that they can use from home, such as a mug, water bottle or notebook.

To make them feel extra special, consider throwing in a few extra gifts such as chocolates or a gift card to thank them for joining your company, along with personalised note from their manager or even the CEO. It’ll create a really positive first impression of your company’s culture and give them a first day to remember.

Support them with completing HR paperwork remotely

Don’t expect your new starter to sign a physical copy of their contract, as they might not have a scanner at home. Even if they did have a scanner, the process of sending out a contract and waiting for it to be sent back is time-consuming.

Instead, use an e-signature tool such as HelloSign or DocuSign, so they can add their signatures digitally and send their contract back to you through a secure portal. The same goes for other new-starter documents that they might need to submit. Using online tools makes it a faster and more efficient process for both parties.

Help them to get a feel for the company culture

Being away from the team and the office can make it difficult for new recruits to grasp the company culture. You can help them get a feel for your business by sending them a digital version of your employee handbook, presentations or literature explaining your company’s values and photos or videos of company events. If you make use of your business’ social media channels to document life at your organisation, you should also encourage new employees to take a look at your social media feeds to give them an insight into the business and its culture.

Show them how to communicate with their colleagues

Make sure you outline how new starters can best get in touch with their colleagues – particularly their manager, wider team and any direct reports.

Explain which tools you’re using within your business to keep people connected during this period of remote working and put together a handbook to help them get set up on each platform. This should include company email as well as any group messaging tools, videoconferencing software or web phone platforms which you might be using.

Set goals and expectations

A new job is unfamiliar territory for anyone, so make sure your new employee knows exactly what tasks they’re expected to work on in their initial days and weeks. If they’re waiting for you to come online to find out what their next task is, they’re going to feel like a bit of a loose end.

Put together a task calendar to help keep them keep track of deadlines, and clearly define both the short and long-term goals for both the new starter and the wider team.

Also be sure to set up a weekly virtual meeting where you can discuss their progress, resolve any issues and keep them updated with any upcoming projects or changes to their workstack. Honest and effective communication is vitally important in a remote environment.

‘Meeting’ the team

When in the office, it’s common for new starters to spend their first few days getting to know their team and meeting with key colleagues with whom they’ll be working closely with across the business.

It’s important for these introductions to happen remotely, so set up virtual meetings with their team, direct reports, manager and people they’ll be working with. Video calls would be the best option here, as it’ll help your new recruit to faces to names.

Arrange training

Training new staff remotely can be challenging, but it’s definitely possible. If possible, use interactive courses which includes games or quizzes to boost engagement and test knowledge. You could also record demos, or do ‘screen-sharing’ videocalls to talk people through how to use a specific system or follow a particular process.

Make sure you also book in some IT training to get your new starter up-to-speed with file-sharing applications, cloud storage software and general security processes.

If you’d like further advice on remote onboarding, get in touch with the Aspire team.