Onboarding new hires has its challenges, but how do you manage it when working with remote employees? As with any onboarding process, you need to keep it as streamlined as possible, but you’ll also have some unique needs to address to get them both excited and prepared.
Make getting the basics painless.
Using services such as DocuSign and HelloSign allow employees to easily fill out PDFs, sign them legally by taking a picture of a signature and uploading it to use on the documents, and send them back to you. And both are legally binding. If they need equipment, ensure it gets to them in a timely fashion by using such reliable services as FedEx and taking weekends/holidays into account when sending equipment. You may also want to consider setting up a business account with Amazon (if you feel comfortable doing so with your employees) to make it easy to get supplies.
Remote doesn’t have to mean “detached”.
You can still bring remote employees into the office culture. If possible, have new remote employees meet at your headquarters for a week or so to get oriented with the company and learn the basic ins and outs, as well as meet face-to-face with those they’ll work most often or closely with. If that’s not possible, make sure to use learning management system (LMS) tools (such as iMeet) so you can get together using video conferences – so much communication comes through non-verbally that’s lost in endless email chains. This way remote employees can feel a part of things and build better relationships with on-site employees.
Make expectations clear.
As with any onboarding, don’t leave any questions as to what you want remote employees to do. They’ll necessarily self-manage, so they need you to clearly define your company’s objectives, organizational values, and their specific responsibilities. They should also have some sort of training as to the technology they need to use and how to connect with resources and important people – bear in mind that introducing all of this in steps will help smooth the process. You should also keep a strict timetable for meetings and take differing time zones into account.
Adjust as needed.
Regular check-ins with your remote employees and observation of what works and what doesn’t will help refine the process as needed. Test technology before putting it into play to avoid problems down the road. Keep up the communication with both your remote employees and those at the home office to make sure no messages get lost or misunderstood … it’s not always as easy when you can’t go around the corner to ask a question. The combination of adjustment, organization, and plain old trial and error will result in a better process as you bring on remote employees.
For any help with remote employees and the onboarding process, visit PrideStaff.