Hop onboard: how to make remote onboarding successful

There is the first day for everything- school, university, a new job. Today, our first days may appear differently from what they used to be. COVID-19 has introduced us to a world of remote-first days. When onboarding a remote employee, it’s helpful to keep in mind the importance of maintaining a supportive and inclusive culture in the workplace. Having had experience with this topic, I have found that the culture and approach positively impact employees’ confidence and familiarity with their role. By no means am I insisting that you onboard employees remotely; however, many of us have had to face this challenge since the global pandemic. Here are some recommendations I found effective here at Myrecruitment+

Maintain an inclusive culture from day 1 

Positive and constructive workplace culture is a crucial element when ensuring a business and its employees thrive. This concept would apply to the remote employees being onboarded into the fold. As a university graduate living in rural Australia, the work I hoped to acquire resided in Sydney. I knew I wanted to move and kickstart my career. So when I got the call from Myrecruitment+, I was ecstatic. 

What made the difference between me being nervous and doubtful to a confident writer posting multiple blogs in a matter of weeks was the comfortable and supportive culture. 

I was included in meaningful conversations and trusted with responsibilities from day one whilst receiving support from every angle. The approach the team took to me was understanding, constructive and reliable. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. The culture was collaborative, and I felt as though I was in the room with the team, despite being hundreds of kilometres away packing my things. 

Engage & become acquainted with the employee early on 

It is vital to establish a professional relationship with a remote employee from the very beginning. Engaging with their ideas and ensuring they are acquainted with the business’ values will help achieve this. From my first interview until now, I have engaged and established multiple professional relationships, which have made the onboarding process more comfortable. My ideas were acknowledged and I was able to ask questions and reach my full potential from the very first day.

Host daily catch-ups/meetings

Every morning or afternoon, the opportunity to Zoom with the team, collaborate on ideas, and provide feedback is a great way to immerse remote employees into the workforce. This will allow them to become familiar with the company and job before coming into the office and become acquainted with the team before officially meeting them. My first day at the office did not feel so daunting after daily meetings. It just became exciting. Hosting daily catch-ups despite my initial location gave me a certain level of confidence and familiarity I may not have had otherwise. 

Provide a straightforward structure for the first few weeks

If you find yourself onboarding a remote employee, provide them with a definitive structure of goals or a routine to follow. Whether that be producing blog posts, sorting through emails, attending training seminars or participating in meetings, they have a straightforward task to abide by. This provides opportunities for meaningful goals or KPIs to be achieved from the get-go. 

Be available & easy to contact

I’ve found that having people available and easy to contact eases the transition into the workforce. The great thing about a collaborative space online is being constantly available and in touch, whether via email, Zoom or mobile phones. There are so many ways to enable constant and collaborative communication. Offering the same level of support and availability online as you would in person minimises the feeling of isolation which could negatively affect job performance. 

Use technology as your primary channel of communication

It is essential to keep in mind that technology is an excellent channel of communication. Without mobile phones, email, and other devices and software, onboarding remotely wouldn’t be possible. Technology enables us to communicate more efficiently; however, it can separate us from a tangible workspace with a specific culture. We can often forget that the workplace culture needs to remain consistent online. Treating the remote employee as though they are in the room could provide a more inclusive experience. 

How onboarding remotely can be efficient 

Now that we are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and attempting to go back to normal, it’s time to reflect on how we communicate in our business during the onboarding process. As I’ve mentioned, it is effective to immerse the employee into a positive culture rather than allow their remoteness to pose an obstacle. 

It’s all about the business’ approach. Not only can onboarding remotely be a positive thing for the employees, but also the company. I was able to start immediately and contribute valuable work within my first two days. Having the opportunity to onboard an employee who may live in another town is an efficient alternative to waiting until the employee can relocate. As we all know, moving takes time. So being able to directly communicate and work with new employees before they arrive at the company is a definite bonus!

What worked for us?

As many would understand, COVID-19 has influenced different approaches when it comes to the working environment. Due to the pandemic lockdowns prohibiting unnecessary travel, I was unable to have an in-person interview. It also took time to relocate due to the pandemic restrictions. The Myrecruitment+ team dedicated their time to ensure I was comfortable and familiar with the company during the remote onboarding process. I was supported in my ideas and conversations whilst also taking on constructive feedback to better my skills. 

What was the result of this? 

I feel as though I can be honest and open. I feel incredibly motivated and ambitious. I feel supported. As I’ve mentioned, I was able to start work immediately whilst working remotely. Due to the constant availability and support from the team, I was trained and prepared for the weeks that followed. This resulted in a seamless transition from candidate to employee. 

Whilst working remotely for Myrecruitment+, I felt as though I was sitting at the desk beside the team. I didn’t feel isolated or out of the loop. It felt like there was no computer screen, just them sitting directly in front of me.

If you feel your business could benefit from onboarding remotely, apply some of these suggestions. See if it produces positive results. After all, working remotely is becoming a popular trend now with COVID-19.