Your guide to remote onboarding in a post-pandemic workplace

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remote onboardingAs many of us take steps to get business working again, for those in office-based workplaces, remote working may continue to be the norm and for lucky new hires, this means remote onboarding. But how can you effectively onboard new starters who won’t be physically present? How can you make sure they integrate with team members they may not meet for some time? And where does that leave you with instilling your corporate culture and brand values? 

The answer lies in effective remote onboarding and that’s what we explore in the final part of our blog series, Employee Engagement in Isolation and Beyond

5 tips for effective remote onboarding 

At the heart of onboarding, remote or otherwise, is learning and engagement — learning about company procedures and best practise and engaging with colleagues and organizaional culture. Much of the relevant information can be communicated through online training content, but ensuring information sticks and new hires feel welcome requires different approaches, which is where online blended learning comes in. 

Tip #1 Blended learning 

Our functional onboarding platform, On.Board, allows you to create a customized onboarding program that blends task-based learning, reflection, feedback and quizzes. When combined with a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom, used increasingly to facilitate skills development, your new hires will be able to learn new information and place it into the context of their day-to-day, while your managers will be able to verify this learning and feedback to reinforce this learning.

This multimedia approach also allows academic learning of processes and procedures to occur alongside social networking and instilling company culture. A real-world example that we’ve seen implemented successfully across several of our clients is the scavenger hunt. 

Tip #2 Virtual scavenger hunts

You set a series of questions or tasks that are designed to help your new hire better understand how things work at  your company, from processes to follow to appropriate behaviours. For example: how does finance work with order entry? How do customer services deal with formal customer complaints? etc. Your new hire must then contact the relevant individual with your team, department or wider company to discover the answer. 

You can instruct them to schedule Zoom calls with the relevant person to ensure that not only do they find the answers they’re looking for but also get much-needed human interaction, which plays a key role in social learning. To further support a sense of social connection, you can even include personal questions. For example: what hobbies does the HR manager enjoy? What sports teams does the marketing assistant support? etc. 

Tip #3 Checklists

As your new hire progresses through the stages of onboarding, it is important to use a shareable checklist — a feature built into On.Board — to ensure relevant team members, such as the HR manager, team leader and department head, can verify that new hires are getting the support and resources they need to meet the demands of their role. With this level of visibility, any stalling in the onboarding process can be quickly identified and resolved.

Tip #4 Consolidation 

At the end of the onboarding process, it’s time to take stock of whether your new hire is equipped with the knowledge and able to access the resources needed to become an independent member of your team. One way to assess the technical side of things is to set a quiz with multiple choice or open-ended questions to ascertain the extent of their understanding. Feedback on their answers can provide talking points to follow up on via a one-to-one video meeting. 

These one-to-ones present a good opportunity to assess how well your new hire has integrated professionally; do they know who to turn to for help? Have relevant team members found the time to talk to them? Do they have any concerns or unanswered questions? 

Tip #5 Social video conferencing 

The technical side of onboarding may end after several weeks but fully assimilating your company culture and social integration often takes longer. Maintaining a sense of community is therefore especially important for new hires and is an ongoing process. 

When engaged in remote onboarding, don’t forget to nurture the social aspect too. While in an office environment this may occur naturally, in today’s remote workplace this needs some structure and initiative to avoid employee isolation and disengagement. Scheduling weekly virtual meet-ups via group Zoom calls can help with this, such as social Fridays where teams can virtually get together to unwind at the end of the working week. This can be an ideal time to introduce new hires to the team in a more relaxed setting. 

Keep these five tips in mind and you will find that remote onboarding can be just as effective in bringing new hires into the fold, opening up a new way of team building in a post-pandemic workplace.

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