The still-raging coronavirus pandemic has not only compelled many organizations to transition to a remote (or virtual) working model, but it is highly likely that this trend will continue for quite some time to come. With many physical distancing restrictions still in place, HR teams are struggling when it comes to hiring new employees. Since face-to-face interviews are no longer the norm in many companies, HR managers are trying to make the most of a virtual onboarding process.
Why is an effective onboarding process still crucial for your virtual employees? A 2019 survey by Indeed found that 4 out of every 10 employees (who left the company within 6 months of joining) mentioned that an effective onboarding process would have encouraged them to stay longer.
Although the objectives remain the same, remote onboarding of new employees must be approached differently than traditional in-person onboarding conducted within office premises. So, read on to know more about remote onboarding and what to include in your checklist for your remote workforce.
What is Remote or Virtual Onboarding?
When planned and executed properly, onboarding new employees remotely can be just as effective as traditional onboarding. In place of face-to-face meetings, remote onboarding is conducted virtually using a variety of tech tools like video conferencing, recorded videos, live webinars, and digital learning.
Ideally, remote onboarding must aim to enable new hires with:
A clear understanding of their job role and responsibilities
Knowledge about the company’s work culture and business vision
Awareness about the company’s employee-related policies
An idea about their fellow employees and managers
If done effectively, a virtual onboarding process can build employee loyalty and ensure retention right from the first day.
Next, let us look at what HR teams must include in their remote onboarding checklist to achieve the above hiring objectives.
8 Things that Your Remote Onboarding Checklist Must Include
Here are 8 checklist items that you must include when virtually onboarding new hires:
Send out a welcome email In this digital age, welcome emails do set the right tone by making new hires feel valued and appreciated. You can enrich your welcome email with relevant links to forthcoming training sessions or how to access the company intranet for the new employees to explore. Go for a casual and friendly tone in your message – and make sure they are sent out by the HR manager or a department head.
Complete all the paperwork virtually Just like in a physical hiring process, virtual employees need to complete their paperwork by signing contracts, filling forms, and submitting documents. Ensure that they can complete all these formalities (without leaving their home) using digital tools like online forms and e-signatures. An efficient onboarding database can be used to store all employee-related information as well.
Address common questions New hires usually have a lot of questions right from the first day but have no face-to-face access to their peers or superiors. So, right from the virtual onboarding process, encourage new workers to post questions using digital mediums like collaboration apps, intranet pages, or simply share a Google doc. Next, build and maintain a repository of common questions and direct them to the appropriate teams or experts.
Send out a welcome kit Even if they are joining your company remotely, new employees feel valued when they receive a welcome kit that includes gifts, vouchers, or some company merchandise like a T-shirt, cap, pen, or laptop bag. Other items in your welcome kit can include company policies, employee benefits, and handbooks.
Discuss their job goals and deliverables Virtual training sessions can help remote employees learn more about their job roles and deliverables. During the initial remote onboarding phase, help them out by assigning specific tasks and deadlines. Along with assigning regular tasks, supervising managers must engage remote employees with achievable goals, targets, and key performance indicators (KPIs). A digital task board or interactive checklist can help in boosting transparency among team members.
Engage in team-building activities For remote teams, team building must be a regular activity even after the initial onboarding process. This is important as remote workers can often feel isolated and "not connected" to the rest of the team. Ask remote workers to volunteer for a remote team-building committee that works on different team-building activities. This can include virtual team rooms, online company events, or even virtual workout sessions.
Make use of gamified learning Gamified learning can be super effective when it comes to employees learning and retaining important information. Interactive and fun-based activities are 6 times more effective than text or video-based training. Make use of gamification in your onboarding and training sessions with the help of online quizzes, user polls, and ice-breaking games.
Collect employee feedback What do remote employees think about your virtual onboarding process? Online employee surveys (after a week or 2 months) can provide insights into how effective (or non-effective) your remote onboarding activities are and how they can be improved. Measure if your onboarding process is achieving its most important goal, i.e. happy and satisfied employees.
With remote working gradually becoming the norm across many enterprises, a complete checklist is crucial for onboarding remote employees and ensuring that they are performing their tasks with full engagement. For HR managers, remote onboarding solutions can be used to set up distributed teams for success.
As an expert in virtual onboarding and gamified learning, Oust Labs has already enabled many enterprises with distributed or remote workforces to automate and improve their training and onboarding process. You can also read all about how virtual onboarding can improve hiring efficiency.
So, are you looking to implement remote onboarding for your new hires? We can help you out. Start by booking a free demo today!