How to Easily (and Cost-Effectively) Onboard a Remote New Hire

The use of technology to facilitate remote working has increased with the pandemic, including innovative ways to onboard a remote new hire. Bringing on new employees is proving to be a challenge for many companies that hadn’t focused on telecommuting before the coronavirus pandemic. 

In these times of economic and employment instability, many professionals are seeking jobs that allow them to work remotely in order to preserve their health and safety and that of their families. Although this is uncharted territory for many in the working world, it’s important to ensure that a new hire has an efficient, positive onboarding experience as they might’ve had before the pandemic.

Nowadays there are plenty of ways that companies can facilitate this process without being physically present. Following are some suggestions for businesses trying to normalize how to onboard a remote new hire.

Human Resources

Before a new employee meets with HR, make sure they have the right equipment, a stable internet connection, etc. to begin the process and to start their job soon after the paperwork has been done. Once onboarding is complete, you should have your newest employee start working right away.

Instead of running through general workplace training and procedures in person, your HR representative can help a new employee get settled in virtually. To take care of the paperwork typically done when someone is hired, there are web applications that can streamline the digital signing of documents needed for hiring purposes. Depending on the third party you use to collect e-signatures, you can have an employee sign for free or for a small fee.

Any necessary trainings can be done via video conferencing. Consider screen sharing, providing videos for the new employee to watch, and engaging in interactive discussions to encourage active participation in the experience. Most video chatting software is free.

Screenings and Checks

If your employee didn’t go through a screening process, including a drug test and criminal background check as part of the interview process, include it in your onboarding. These kinds of screenings can give you information about your new hire that they might not have disclosed to you directly. 

Although what you learn might not provide reason for disqualification, as an employer it’s important for you to be as educated as possible about your employees and their background. Prepare yourself so that there are no surprises about your new hire later on in their employment. These screenings can be done remotely or at a variety of locations across the US.

Set Expectations for Remote New Hires

This is an absolutely vital part of the onboarding process. A new employee will start to develop habits as soon as they begin their job. Explore both social and professional norms that your company has to ensure that a new hire will learn best practices and maintain standards that are already set in place.

Share your company’s organization chart. Explaining who is who in the organization, highlighting those who will be regular contacts, outlining who reports to report who, etc. will help new employees become familiar with the company and gain greater confidence in their interactions with others.

Encourage new hires to engage in mutual feedback with you and their coworkers. Remind them that working remotely is new to most professionals, and there will be a learning curve for all parties. Be sure to ask how they are feeling on a regular basis and if there is anything that can be improved from within the organization. Make sure they know that it is appropriate and welcomed for them to initiate these kinds of conversations, as well.

Team Unity

It can be intimidating for a new employee to join a company, and remote working conditions can escalate feelings of insecurity or unacceptance. A team member who feels disconnected or even outcast can have serious negative effects on the productivity of a team. Be sure to convey feelings of peace of mind and confidence to your new hire. 

Create spaces for communication through individual and group video calls, digital newsletters, and other forms of internal communications. Facilitate their integration into “the community.” Help them feel part of the team by including them in communication groups where your staff has opportunities to share experiences and interests beyond work, such as instant messaging groups.

Distribute a welcome kit. Create an online welcome pack where the new member can find everything they need to perform their duties and resolve many of their doubts. Include an employee handbook, bios on their coworkers, a brief history of the company, etc. Try to make it as dynamic as possible so that it emulates the welcome they might get if they were starting the job in house.

It is normal to experience communication failures and difficulties while you’re learning how to onboard a remote new hire. Being empathetic and patient when supporting this new team member can be key to their success in the company. These suggestions can help make the process as smooth and effective as if your new hire were starting work in the office.