Things to Keep in Mind When you Onboard a Remote Employee

One of the things that changed in the way businesses operated since the start-up boom was the remote employees. Earlier, employees worked remotely for a day or two, either from their homes or when they are on a vacation.  Now, there are remote employees who work from different locations. These remote employees should be linked with the entire system when they are on-boarded.  They must be provided with suitable tools and proper communication should be established with the new hires. They will help the new employee be productive and engaged.

What happens during Onboarding

By helping them adjust to the company’s social and performance aspects, they can adapt to their jobs quickly.  This is the perfect time to introduce them to other members of the team and answer all the queries that they might have. However, should it be done while either you or they are distracted, the purpose is basically lost.  And remote employees who are not onboarded properly are more likely to lose their motivation and enthusiasm; there will also be reduced their involvement and performance levels.

Tips to Successfully onboard a Remote Employee

Remote Employee

Here are some tips to onboard remote employees successfully so that they remain committed and passionate towards the work that they do.

1. Setting Expectations

Those who are self-sufficient and independent, not to forget hard working are generally the ones who go for a remote job. Studies have also revealed that remote workers clock in more than 40 hours a week, unlike their counterparts who work in the office.  The biggest reason behind the number of hours they spend working is visibility. There is a need for remote workers to prove that they are just as hard-working as those working in the office. The consequence of overworking is the remote employees get burned out sooner or later. This is not an issue in office as the employees constantly interact with each other. Because remote employees do not have the option to draw inspiration from colleagues, they would be lost soon enough.  To prevent this burnout and its consequences, it is essential to let the expectations of the company be known. Set the number of hours that is expected of any employee, irrespective of whether they are working in an office or remotely.  By asking the employees the hours that they preferred to work at, a rough work schedule can be framed.

2. Investing in a Support System

Teams are generally connected by super-advanced technology. Remote employees can create their own work environment. They also do not have to deal with issues like cabin fever. It is cheaper to employ a person who works remotely. However, these costs are basically balanced out by all the investment that has to go into a suitable support system. In some organizations like Formstack, remote employees get an allowance every month for rentals and for home office equipment. There are also other tools and equipment that are effective despite being used remotely that are required.

Office employees need to only stroll to another cubicle or a cabin to strike up a conversation with another employee. Remote employees do not have this luxury and have to actively communicate their needs, according to the Chargify’s marketing director, Adam Ferber. As of 2015, Chargify had gone completely remote in order to save rent. They hardly used that office at all, back when they used it.  The money they saved had to be spent again by investing it all in the infrastructure to support the new work methods. Every new employee is provided with tools and technology that would make the workspace fun and productive. Employees must also be encouraged to be communicative and open from the time they start work.

Online check-ins and stand up meetings are powerful tools and using hangouts help remote employees to get comfortable from the start. To understand the team dynamics on a whole other level, hrms tools like Zoom, HipChat, Slack, and Jell are helpful and can be introduced during the onboarding process.

3. Fostering Digital Friendships

Job Satisfaction and performance also depends on small variables like simple text messaging and happy hours. Unfortunately, new employees have a hard time doing both. It becomes even harder as these employees work remotely.  They will have to establish good rapport and meaningful friendships without having the opportunity to go to out together or even break rooms.  Performance levels will be below average when the person does not feel connected to the organization. When they are not connected to the organization, they would not have felt committed to the work. Even more importantly, they would be prone to shifting jobs quickly.  Some quick and easy steps to let the employees connect with one another include

  • Online opportunities to bond must be created, in such a way that it is a part of the work culture. It should be introduced during the onboarding process as well.
  • When an employee has a lot of opportunities to engage, they will fit into that organization that much faster and work as a member of the team.
  • Communication should always be detailed and frequent. Random chats with co-workers are also arranged by using tools like CoffeeTime that are open-source.

4. Instilling Culture

Because technology is so dynamic and we can access it from basically anywhere. This also results in the culture being lost easily.  Culture remains stuck at the office while employees remain stuck elsewhere, failing to evolve with the business.  By coaching, mentoring and by using technology appropriately, culture can be instilled. New hires should be linked with senior employees to form mentorship programs. This helps in employees understanding the value they add to the team and to the organization

Onboarding a new employee into the organization is much more than simply pointing the way for the person. It is typically like laying a foundation based on trust and enagagemnt. Onboarding is also the first step towards having a long and fruitful career with the organization. Only by experimenting different techniques and approaches with the remote team members will it be possible to find out the combination that works best for you.