As COVID-19 continues to keep employees remote, companies have to start thinking about how to adapt their HR processes accordingly. One of the most important experiences to consider is employee onboarding. The type of onboarding program you have in place has a significant impact on factors like new hire retention and productivity. In fact, a study found that a structured onboarding experience resulted in 69% of employees being more likely to stay with a company for three years and 50% greater new-hire productivity.
While being remote does present some challenges to the onboarding process, we believe there are things you can do to make it just as strong as one that’s in person. Below, we outlined a five-step process to help you get your new hires onboarded remotely:
1. Start with preboarding
Many employers wait until the new hire’s first day to start the onboarding process. But there’s actually a step that comes before that called preboarding. The purpose of this step is to get your new hires up-to-speed before they start their new roles so they don’t feel overwhelmed on their first day. Preboarding activities have also been found to increase first-year retention by as much as 80 percent. These activities can include:
- Filling out documents (employment contracts, super information, etc.)
- Reviewing benefits options
- Collecting personal information (employee’s favorite snack, personal hobbies, etc.)
To help companies manage this process remotely, Flare has a free digital onboarding software that lets you add new employees to your ATS, generate documents, and gives your new hires a seamless way to auto-sign contracts and share important information with the company.
2. Create a warm welcome experience
Once you have all the preboarding logistics squared away, you can focus on creating a warm welcome experience for your new employee’s first day. Since your team won’t be able to take them out to a welcome lunch or greet them in person, it’s important to find other ways to make them feel excited about their new job. Below are a few ideas you can try:
- Send a welcome card that’s been digitally signed by the CEO, their manager, and their new team members
- Gift the new hire with a prepaid card to their neighbourhood cafe; They can grab a coffee and get to know their teammates through virtual hangout sessions
- Host a virtual welcome party with the whole team
- Ship a ‘welcome pack’ that contains the new employee’s favorite treats, movies, or board games
The last thing you want is for your new hire to feel isolated on their first day. These ideas will help your employees feel like they’re already part of the team and get them excited about their new company – even when they’re not physically at the office!
3. Establish a support system
Any employee’s first day can feel a bit scary – especially when they’re remote and don’t have the luxury of asking the person sitting next to them a question or getting to know people over lunch. To make sure they feel supported from day one, it’s important to establish a system that they can turn to if they have questions, need help, or simply want to feel more integrated into the company. Here’s how:
- Set your new employee up with a designated buddy. This is their go-to person if they have any questions, need someone to chat with over a virtual lunch, or simply want to learn more about the company
- Create a Slack channel for new hires. At Flare, we have one called #newbies that contains helpful resources and is a dedicated space where new employees can feel safe asking questions
- Encourage the new hire’s manager check in with them frequently during the first 30 days to make sure the transition is going smoothly
4. Run induction sessions
In addition to helping your new hires feel socially integrated, you want to make sure they understand the various aspects of the business as well. This is where virtual induction sessions can be helpful. The purpose of these sessions is to meet with different leaders within the organisation – from the CEO to the Head of Engineering – so they can better understand how the business operates.
Not only that, but induction sessions can help new employees put faces to names and develop a clearer view of how their specific role contributes to the broader mission of your company. This allows new hires to recognise that they’re a valuable part of the organisation and helps them find a sense of meaning in their work.
5. Collect feedback
Finally, remember that your onboarding process doesn’t end after 30 or 60 days. There are ways to continuously iterate on and improve your program – especially if your remote onboarding process is brand new. The best way to do this is to distribute an onboarding survey to new hires after they go through the experience. This provides an opportunity for them to share feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and how they felt coming out of the onboarding process – all valuable input that you can use to strengthen your existing program.
As you can see, a powerful employee onboarding experience can have a significant impact on your business. Thankfully, there are ways to make sure this process is effective, welcoming, and informative – even when doing so remotely. Follow our recommendations to make sure your onboarding process goes as smoothly as possible for your new remote employees.