You have finally made that excellent hire, employment contracts are signed and you are looking forward to them starting, getting stuck in and adding value to your team. How do you ensure an efficient on-boarding process, especially in times of working remotely? Without a well-planned process to bring your new hires on board, important information may be forgotten or missed, leaving newcomers confused or unengaged. A strong on-boarding process can boost your team’s long-term job satisfaction and productivity. It is an investment that will surely pay off. In the virtual on-boarding process it is important to maintain the human connection. The following will highlight some pointers that contribute to a successful on-boarding process.
Checklist and On-Boarding Plan
A new hire checklist can assist in ensuring you do not miss any critical steps in your on-boarding process. This is particularly useful in a WFH context, as you don’t want to forget a critical step that may not exist for office employees (i.e. shipping out laptop and other equipment). Create an on-boarding plan in which you map out the first few weeks for the new employee, who they will meet, their training schedule and what colleagues and supervisors are expected to cover. Pop the meetings into the newcomer’s calendar so they won’t miss anything important. Remember to share the on-boarding plan with the whole team and set the goals and expectations for the first weeks so that everyone is on the same page.
Send a Welcome Note
A warm welcome email can set the tone for employee engagement. Let new hires know how much you are looking forward to them joining the company. With this correspondence, send all the necessary logins and passwords. Encourage other employees to reach out to the new hire too. The first days and weeks in a new job are crucial. According to research by Glassdoor, a great employee on-boarding can improve employee retention by over 80 percent. In your correspondence, share next steps, any new hire documentation the employee should review or complete in advance and what to expect on their first day.
Timely Provision of Equipment
Office employees typically have a desk, chair, a networked computer, a working email account, phone and other necessary equipment when they arrive on their first day of work. Remote workers may not have a home office set up yet, and usually require the company to provide the usual equipment. Consider setting a budget for each remote worker to set up their home office. If you ship out equipment, like laptops, make sure it arrives prior to the employee’s first day. Have your IT team involved in the set-up for any troubleshooting. In your shipment you might include a starter stationery pack and branded company swag for a personal welcome touch.
Make the New Hire Feel Included and Make their First Day a Day to Remember
An employee’s first day is crucial to long-term employee engagement and retention. For remote on-boarding, consider kicking off the day with a virtual coffee meeting. Encourage your new employee’s manager and perhaps their entire team to grab a cup of coffee and meet virtually via an online video platform. You could even make this extra special by ordering a breakfast delivery or care package to arrive that morning. Foster social connections by organising the team come together for an online lunch on a new hire’s first day.
On-Boarding Meetings – HR and Line Managers
Under normal circumstances, when new hires arrive at the office on their first day, you would offer an office tour and show them to their workspaces and introduce them to co-workers. A good first day on-boarding process, however, can also be conducted online. Most likely, a member of the HR team will conduct the first meeting with the new hire. Schedule up to 2 hours for an initial on-boarding presentation via online platform. Introduce the company and its mission. Introduce the team, present the organisational structure and show photos of managers and team colleagues. Explain the main points of the company’s culture and values. Share the Employee Handbook and point out the major policies and procedures, including the Remote Work Policy. Cover the payroll process and other relevant workflows and admin aspects. Tell the new hire how things are done, outline the on-boarding plan and follow up by sending all relevant material by email or by sharing the directory where all this information can be found. Dive deep into the business, including who to go to for which questions, what makes your company tick and some of the main challenges. Allow time for the new hire to ask questions. Schedule further meetings for the new employee with the direct line manager and perhaps other members of the department the newcomer will be working with.
Set up a Buddy System
With initial introductions made and the ice broken, how to make sure the on-boarding goes on after the first week? One way to make this happen among the everyday work is to assign an online buddy to every new employee. This can be someone from a different department to promote cross-department communication. A buddy system will encourage regular informal chats and will make asking questions easier, and as a side product, a trusted colleague can help the newcomer to understand the company culture every step of the way.
It is a win-win for both sides to acknowledge the new employee’s accomplishments. This will instantly make a newcomer feel valued, which fosters engagement and leads to increased productivity. Employee recognition is essential to creating a positive culture which in turn assists in retaining top talent. Small acts of recognition especially in the first few weeks can reap nice dividends, i.e. highlight the new hire’s contribution at a weekly team meeting or through a shared communication platform.