8 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
After the catastrophic pandemic in 2020, this year is giving hope to professionals and organizations across the world. Companies are implementing new trends and practices to ensure that their business processes are not hampered in the future.
One of these practices is that of onboarding remote employees.
Although the remote working trend arrived many years ago, it has skyrocketed in the past two years. As professionals, we were forced to work from home and companies had to resort to virtual workspaces. HR managers had no option but to onboard employees remotely.
However, the approach to remote onboarding is not the same as traditional onboarding. An organization needs to revise its onboarding strategies to deal with employees working remotely. As these employees will not physically interact with their peers and managers, it becomes even more difficult for HR managers to ensure a smooth and efficient onboarding process.
Therefore, it is important for an organization to set up new plans for onboarding remote employees in 2021.
Before we get to the key pillars of an employee onboarding process for the remote workforce, let us understand the benefits of onboarding remote employees.
Although the last two years have made organizations face several challenges, working with remote employees has its own benefits. Here are some of the advantages of onboarding remote employees to your organization.
No geographical restrictions
On-premise hiring and onboarding often limit an organization’s choices when it comes to the location of the employees. However, when you have employees working remotely, you can hire employees working from any corner of the world. This helps you add diversity to your team and prevents you from compromising on talent just because of the geographical location of the employees.
Thanks to digitization, remote onboarding allows you to form a truly global team and get dedicated employees from across the globe onboard effectively.
Collaboration is the key to managing multiple business processes within an organization. When onboarding remote employees, always use online collaborative platforms that help you ensure that everyone is on the same page.
This improves the collaboration between new employees within and across different departments as they all view the same dashboards, access the same database and communicate on the same platform.
The remote onboarding process saves an organization from spending a fortune on organizing on-premise orientation programs, setting up new desks, providing dedicated devices and several other office expenses. Technically, all you need to onboard remote employees is a stable internet connection and essential resources for new employees.
Also, remote onboarding processes help organizations cut down training costs incurred in hiring dedicated trainers every time a new employee joins the time. HR managers can facilitate streamlined and automated virtual training by providing the new employees with all the necessary training resources.
Effective monitoring of progress
The first few weeks an employee spends in your organization requires regular and effective monitoring. This helps you ascertain the effectiveness of your onboarding process.
When you onboard remote employees, you can keep track of their progress and their work on a centralized platform. As most tasks involve using online collaborative platforms, it becomes easier for team leaders and managers to monitor the work done by the new employees in real-time.
This allows HR managers to assess how well they have onboarded the employees and make crucial decisions.
Increased flexibility and convenience
There has been a significant amount of change in employee needs over time. In 2021, employees prefer flexible work hours and utmost comfort while performing their tasks. As long as the work is done, they prefer working under flexible conditions.
The remote onboarding process provides your employees with the flexibility and comfort that is impossible to provide them if they worked on-premise. Instead of getting dressed early in the morning and traveling to work, remote onboarding allows employees to join their new company while enjoying the comfort of their homes.
This prevents HR managers from ensuring that the new employees are comfortable in their new workspace. Moreover, a decent level of comfort allows new employees to give their best, increasing their productivity and engagement with your organization.
Four building blocks of an employee onboarding process for remote employees
Seamless Employee Support
New employees are often confused and have several doubts during the first few weeks of joining a new organization. They may have a few queries as they figure things out and adjust to the new work environment. The organization needs to provide seamless support to the new employees while onboarding them in such a situation.
Remote working further increases the need and importance of employee support as your employees hardly have any options other than your service desk.
It is always advisable for an organization to implement a modern employee service desk to leverage its employee onboarding process. These service desks are powered by AI and provide personalized support to your employees, irrespective of the department they work in.
HR managers can use the modern service desks to send personalized emails to all new employees on their first day at work. These emails can contain essential details such as the contact information of team members, login credentials for collaborative platforms, company policies, roles and responsibilities and all other relevant information.
Moreover, these employee service desks use conversational AI to eliminate the use of support agents from the first level of support. They employ AI chatbots that assist your employees and interact with them until their issues are resolved.
The traditional approach to employee support is no longer relevant for onboarding remote employees as it provides them with generic and delayed solutions. The AI-based service desks understand the context of the issues raised, scan the enterprise knowledge base, and develop solutions tailored specifically for the concerned employee.
Implementing modern service desks makes onboarding remote employees easier and more effective. It provides holistic support to the new employees without looking for the same on different platforms.
A revised onboarding plan
Organizations often make the mistake of implementing the same onboarding plan for remote employees used for on-premise employees. As the mode of working changes, it becomes necessary to change the approach to onboarding employees.
An organization needs to treat the employee onboarding process like any other project to be carried out over a more extended time. Ensure you create a new plan or make significant changes to the existing plan for onboarding remote employees. Have well-defined objectives to be achieved over a specific period.
It is also advisable to set specific milestones to be achieved to measure the effectiveness of the onboarding process. A well-defined and holistic onboarding plan will allow your HR manager to deal with remote employees in a more streamlined manner.
Making employees familiar with their teams before day one
It is challenging for an HR manager to build a rapport between the new employee and their team when working remotely. It is, therefore, advisable to make the new employees familiar with their teams before their first day at work. This will prevent them from taking time for team building once they are on board and working.
HR managers often arrange virtual meetings between the new employees and their hiring managers before their joining dates. Also, all HR documentation is done earlier to prevent any distraction once the employees have started working.
When you engage with your employees before their first day and make them familiar with the team they will be working with, it helps them get more comfortable and at ease when they officially start working. An organization needs to focus on communication and collaboration while dealing with onboarding remote employees.
Regular monitoring and feedback
In order to make remote onboarding a success, organizations need to monitor the progress they are making. It is good for HR managers to keep an eye on how well they adjust to their new work environment. Make sure you keep the onboarding plan in mind while monitoring the progress to match the results with the objectives.
Also, an organization needs to ask for honest and detailed feedback from the employees about their experience with the organization. This helps the management to strengthen the processes that work and improve on the ones that don’t.
These were some of the key building blocks for an employee onboarding process while hiring remote employees. Adhering to these processes helps HR managers ensure smooth and hassle-free onboarding, thereby increasing the organization’s rate of engagement and productivity.