A robust onboarding process plays a significant role in retaining and engaging employees in the long run. As companies continue to adopt hybrid or fully remote work models, they have the challenge of onboarding employees in a remote workspace
The difficult part of remote onboarding is ensuring that employees are acquainted with the team’s expectations and the company culture even when working remotely.
However, by providing all necessary tools of the trade, sharing information, and establishing the connection with leaders/ team members, you can help employees contribute successfully to their work.
Best HR Onboarding Practices for Remote Employees
You can adopt these HR onboarding practices to get your remote employees onboarded and attuned to the work culture.
- Prepare the Setup Beforehand
For employees to start working, they need a set of resources and equipment based on their job role and company requirements. Therefore, it would help if you thought about providing the necessary tools they do not possess. Then, if you ask them to purchase it, you can reimburse them. Otherwise, you can deliver items to their location.
Basic requirements include a computer system and Internet access, which most people have these days. But you also need to provide them VPN, access to emailing solutions, utility tools, collaboration tools, noise-canceling headphones, user logins, and different online resources like video conferencing tools. Ensure that your tech support team is ready to help the employee with software installation and other setups.
- Adopt Processes for Virtual Training
If you have not yet moved to a digital system, you need to convert hard copy training manuals, contracts, handbooks, policies, among others. In addition, you have to create and provide virtual training videos and modules on a centralized platform. There should also be a progress tracker and feedback option.
- Schedule Virtual Introductions
Set up introductory calls between new joiners, leaders, and other team members. You can plan a virtual meeting to help new joiners know their coworkers in a casual setting. You can also provide them the company hierarchy chart with teams, roles, and important contact details. This will help new joiners be more clear about the processes and their co-workers.
- Communicate Through One-on-Ones
Check-in regularly with new hires as remote work decreases the possibility of organic interactions. You should offer support more frequently and ensure that managers communicate with the new hires too.
- Get Feedback
Creating a strong feedback culture is necessary to understand employee needs and how they feel about the work environment. This can help improve the onboarding process and customize it as per individual needs.
Smart Tips for Onboarding New Employees Remotely
Here are some suggestions that you can follow to improve the effectiveness of your onboarding practices.
- Team Up New Joiners with a Virtual Buddy
Assigning a virtual buddy to a new joiner will help in breaking the ice. The virtual buddy can answer any question that new joiners have regarding company policies and other work-related issues.
- Share a Daily Plan for the First Week
Give the new employees a clear plan for the first week. Then, you can take them through the company’s history, industry competitors, product offering, and so on. This way, they would be able to better appreciate and align with their goals and responsibilities.
- Use Explainer Videos
You can use videos and other visual media for communicating the work policy and other SOPs remotely. This can include hours you expect the employee to be available, rules during the probation period, and so on. But, again, watching and listening is better in terms of retention than going through physical manuals.
- Create a Remote-Friendly Culture
Creating a remote-friendly work culture is critical so that everybody feels included, irrespective of their work location. Ensure that all employees are treated equally and fairly, irrespective of whether they are in the office or off-site. For example, if you offer subsidized memberships to onsite employees, you should also give that benefit to remote employees.
- Prepare a 90-Day Roadmap
To avoid a new remote hire from feeling lost or overwhelmed, format a 90-day roadmap and have a list of actionable tasks that the new hire can complete within that time. This also helps in boosting their confidence and allowing them to shine early on.
- Use Software to manage Employee Onboarding
Many popular Human resource management system (HRMS) offers the onboarding module to manage details and activities of new joiners. By using HRMS software, you can streamline tasks with digital documentation, software login creations, automated reminders, probation management, and so on.
Remote Employee Onboarding Checklist
This HR checklist can ensure a structured onboarding process for remote workers to get them working quickly.
- Send Work Accessories and Other Resources
Order laptop and other hardware necessary for the new employee to work in advance. Create login access for software. Communicate to the IT department about the new hire and ask them to help the user with the setup. Make sure that the employee receives all necessary equipment and tools.
- Prepare Welcome Package
To offer a personalized feel, you can prepare a welcome package and send it. For example, a welcome letter from the team members or team head can make the employee feel valued. You can also add items with the company’s logo, such as a diary or sipper, to make them feel included.
- Simplify the HR Paperwork
Send the employment contracts and other legal documents via a secure email environment. You can ask them to use digital signatures so that they do not print, scan, and then email you. Since the remote employee trend is not going away anytime soon, investing in software to manage employee documents can ensure higher efficiency and security.
- Train Employees to Use Your Existing Software and Tools
Help new joiners understand how to communicate with others in the organization and whom to contact if any issue occurs. You can provide manuals for group messaging tools, video conference software, and more.
Your IT department can further train the new joiners to keep their computer secure with efficient password management, phishing email detection, and so on. They can also teach them about secure file sharing through a cloud.
- Share Goals and Tasks
Give employees a clear picture of their short-term and long-term goals. Share training and meeting calendars for the projects that they are going to be a part of. They should feel free to ask any questions they have.
- Create Calendar for Role-Specific Training
You can create a calendar to hold training classes for new employees and schedule follow-up after each training session to address their queries. In addition, you can record product demos to explain any tool’s usage. Finally, ensure that the training sessions include assessments to boost understanding and focus.
- Keep in Touch
You can schedule calls with remote employees to see if they have successfully settled in their roles. Invite them to have in-person meetings every now and then. Have annual or quarterly events where entire teams can meet.
Why You Must Automate Your Virtual Onboarding Process?
Without efficient automated virtual onboarding, you can have a high turnover rate. You might even face compliance penalties. Automating the virtual onboarding process has the following advantages:
- Saves Time
It reduces the administrative burden that comes with manual onboarding. Also, with manual onboarding, there are chances of error. With an automated HR onboarding system, you can create workflows and simplify the steps. This can save a significant amount of time by reducing task repetition.
- Streamlines Candidate Onboarding
HRMS software enables you to manage the data of candidates shortlisted for different roles. You can also request new joiners to share their basic details and documents in advance by going to their self-service portal. This way, you can save the efforts later and fasten the onboarding process.
- Ensures Compliance
As every onboarding stage is automated, you can be sure that all essential data, forms, and letters are documented. The online checklist helps avoid compliance issues and penalties that can happen in manual onboarding if you miss something.
- Simplifies Paperwork
With manual onboarding, employees struggle with several documents and hard copies. Automated onboarding enables employees to enter the information online and sign the documents from a centralized platform. The data gets saved automatically, and the HR department can easily access it.
- Adds Transparency
Automated onboarding boosts the trust of newly hired employees. You can easily provide information like company policies, vision and mission statements, compliance papers, and videos online. From day one itself, new joiners can have clarity about their upcoming roles and tasks.
- Insightful Reporting
Reports can be generated to assess the efficiency of different onboarding steps. Accordingly, actions can be taken to make your remote employee onboarding process effective.
Best Employee Onboarding Software to Optimize Process Virtually
If you have not adopted a virtual onboarding process yet, you can first determine the opportunities for digitization and create customized pathways for different job roles. A few HR management software that can help you in optimizing the onboarding journey are:
Freshteam enables HRs to create multiple checklists for each team and role. You can send documents and get them signed before the joining day. It is also possible to send instant welcome emails with available templates and add stakeholders so that they can track the task progress for every employee.
Akrivia allows the creation of multiple onboarding processes based on location and designation. You can also connect them with their team members and share company values before the day of joining.
It becomes easy to quickly provide access to all important tools so that new joiners can get started right away.
Kissflow lets you track and execute all steps in the onboarding process via automated checklists. In addition, you can use the DocuSign connector to ensure legal compliance in the documentation.
All employee data is stored in a cloud database, and you can easily integrate it with other third-party solutions like payroll, ERP, etc. It also has features for applicant tracking, performance analysis, time and attendance management, leave management, and offboarding.
Oorwin offers remote-ready onboarding with a dedicated employee portal that works on the go. It supports digital signatures on documents and allows fully digital and contactless onboarding.
You have access to all employee data from one user-friendly interface. In addition, there are automated expiry reminders to ensure compliance.
Zoho People enables HR managers to customize both employee and candidate onboarding processes as per their needs. You can ask the new hires to sign the documents electronically via Zoho Sign (available for Enterprise plan users), DocuSign, and Adobe Sign.
The break-up of employees onboarded and those in progress can also be viewed under the reports section.
greytHR wizard allows automatic collection of employee information and documents during onboarding. You can customize the wizard/ form as per your organization’s policy. There are email notifications at every step of the onboarding process.
You can ask the employees to enter the information themselves, thereby saving time. You also get the option to customize form validation and business rules.
Zimyo is a smart and efficient software that helps automate the entire onboarding workflow from the interview process to sending customized offer letters. In addition, it offers candidate background verification from third-party vendors.
The details of the candidate’s application are auto-filled in the employee profile, and QR scanners can easily do Aadhar verification.
- What are the four phases of onboarding?
The four phases are orientation, role training, transition, and ongoing development.
- How is virtual onboarding done?
You use tools like video conferencing software, online resources, and webinars for virtual onboarding instead of in-person meetings. You provide the necessary equipment and software, and official accounts access to employees in their homes.
- What is the virtual joining process?
During the virtual joining process, employees submit the relevant documents to HR online. The employees are introduced to the organization via video conferencing tools and other means of remote communication.
- How to onboard a new employee virtually?
First, understand what the new hire needs to excel in their tasks. Then, provide them access to different tools based on their job role. You can also schedule face-to-face interaction to discuss the company’s values and work.
Next, set up introductory meetings with colleagues and clarify their roles and responsibilities. It is also important to schedule software training and other meetings/ events.
If you have an employee self-service portal, it will easily ensure that the employee submits all necessary documents in the checklist.