Ever since COVID-19 spread across the world, social distancing became compulsory. In response, organizations also strongly mandated minimum physical presence at work. This has made a massive change in overall employment cooperation practices.
Technology has played a crucial role in the unexpected shift. Many businesses used digital technology and continued operating with work from home. When it comes to onboarding, the new employee onboarding process is highly interactive and engaging.
The meaning of onboarding remains the same in virtual environments, but companies often find it hard to execute it virtually. Many employers are being introduced to a wide range of advanced channels and digital platforms.
Companies are now very diligent in making their remote onboarding process successful. They use various strategies, practices, techniques, and procedures which are beneficial for the transition of remote employees.
Role of technology in remote onboarding
Technology is the support system behind the making of employee onboarding process digital. An effective remote onboarding program will go a long way if digital tools and platforms are rightly used. The right technology can also help in overcoming remote onboarding struggles. Many tools such as video conferencing software, onboarding software, intranet, and learning management systems are very beneficial in achieving the goal of remote onboarding.
Before we dive into the best practices for remote onboarding, let’s look at some of the interesting statistics about remote working and onboarding:
- Workplaces that offer remote work options as a part of the onboarding process have raised from 41% in 2020 to 54% in 2021.
- More than 22% of the workforce shall be working remotely by 2025
- According to a software advice survey, 49% of HR leaders are planning on continuing the remote hiring and onboarding process.
- The latest report shows that the global market for onboarding software shall reach $1.34 by 2025, rising at a CAGR of 6.4 percent
- 34.7 % of recruiters feel that onboarding and training the employees became very challenging during the pandemic.
Best practices for remote onboarding
Remote onboarding is the onboarding that is performed completely through technology instead of in person. It means that new hires do not get a physical welcome, no face-to-face orientation, or interaction with managers. He will have to navigate to new software and technology on their own.
Therefore, human resource teams across the globe are still figuring out how can they onboard new employees smoothly. Developing such onboarding programs which are tailored to current times and technology can be helpful. Following are some of the best practices which companies can opt for:
Create a remote onboarding plan
The old onboarding plan must be updated, keeping the virtual requirements in mind. This plan must be well thought out and concise. It should contain the list of activities new hires would look forward to during the rest of the onboarding process.
A complete plan must also have details of how the new hire will be introduced to software, tools, and the security information of the company. It is vital to make a plan which is unique, interactive, and engaging.
Appoint a mentor
A mentor should be appointed during the onboarding process. He also acts as an onboarding buddy who is responsible for providing support to the new hire. A mentor is highly crucial as the colleagues and new leader won’t always be there to answer the new hire’s spontaneous questions.
The role of the onboarding mentor is to proactively reach out to new hires before their first day and develop a level of understanding. He will further make him familiar with the company’s culture, mission, vision, and goals.
Build strong relationships
In virtual environments, new hire does have the opportunity to have small talk with their colleagues. Therefore, human resources should encourage the teams and new hires to have a mix of formal conversations.
Their teammates will be able to guide them better about the company. They will cover topics on objectives, roles, responsibilities, and have informal interactions. This will eventually help them in building a broader network.
Organize an offsite meeting
One of the major challenges which any new hire may face during remote onboarding is isolation. If the new hire is not able to meet his team face-to-face, then they might not be able to bond well.
It is highly recommended to create a sense of belonging with the new hires. They should arrange at least one or two offsite meetings. If the employees are working from distant locations, then they should organize a social meeting online to get to know each other better.
There is a likelihood that new hires might not be able to comprehend the company culture well through remote onboarding. Thus, the human resource must plan to take action and strategize accordingly so that he gets familiar with the company culture.
The company’s culture must be communicated in detail. They should know how work gets done, what are the norms, the company’s tone, dress code level of formality, virtual etiquette on video calls, and the working hours of the organization.
HR managers need to check on their new hires. By having one-on-one conversations through video calls, HR managers can come to know what new hire is experiencing and can guide them accordingly.
This check-in can be done with the help of a questionnaire which can be finished and submitted to the HR department. They can then do a follow-up video call for clarification and resolve new hires’ concerns.
In conclusion, getting off to a strong start can create momentum. It can be overwhelming for remote new hires as they are receiving too much information. They need employers’ utmost support.
Organizations should have a detailed remote onboarding plan. Their focus should not only be on the logistics of the process but also on setting the tone for their journey with the organization.
In short, remote onboarding requires a lot of creativity. Its plan must be regularly reviewed and updated as it is not a one-time plan. New hire feedback can help improve the process