Updated: Oct 18, 2021
For many companies, a hybrid or remote workplace is here to stay. With employees working from different locations and potentially operating in multiple time zones, onboarding has become more important than ever. It needs to work quickly and easily for employees and managers alike.
The 6 steps below will help you manage the onboarding process for your hybrid/remote workforce.
Step 1. Define the purpose of your onboarding process
Make sure that everyone knows why the onboarding process exists. Is it designed to ensure employees understand how things work so they can maximize their productivity? Or is it a way to ensure that employees understand the company's culture and values so that they can work together effectively? Both are great reasons that should be included in the onboarding process, but you need to make sure that everyone is aware of your company’s purpose.
Step 2. Create a culture of openness
Onboarding is, by definition, an introduction to the company and in a hybrid/remote workplace it's especially important for employees to feel welcome when they arrive.
#Tip: Create a "welcome kit"
Managers can help ease the transition by giving employees a "welcome kit" with the information they'll need to know when starting their new job. In it should be the employee's training checklist and any other relevant information they may need to know on day 1.
The checklist could include:
The tools/platforms that will they be using on a regular basis so they can begin to familiarize themselves with them.
A list of the new hire documents that need to be filled out and where to send them.
A list of Slack channels or other group chats that they would want to be a part of.
A formalized training schedule that has the first week, or even month, of training meetings set.
Creating a swag bag that can be sent to your new employees’ home can also help them feel more connected to your company.
#Tip: Create a mentor program
In a hybrid/remote workplace, it's even more important to have a buddy system. Employees need someone they can trust to answer their questions and give them guidance, so consider launching a mentor program if you don’t have one already. This way employees can draw on the experience of more seasoned professionals who can be there to help them adjust to the way things work. Be sure to make a plan for what mentorship will look like so the mentor, mentee and management understand what the expectations are over the next 3/6/9 months.
Step 3. Create an individualized onboarding plan for each new hire
You can't expect one-size-fits-all onboarding to work for your hybrid/remote workforce. Different teams will need to cover different processes and some employees may be more comfortable with new technologies while others need more support. That's why you should create a detailed onboarding process for each employee by prioritizing the information they need to know about their role, team, location, etc.
#Tip: Create a feedback loop
It's important for managers to check in on employees throughout the onboarding process, to make sure that they feel welcome and comfortable. You can use your mentorship program or any other internal communication channels to do this, but it's most efficient to create a feedback loop that managers can always access and where your new hire knows to go when they have questions or need help. This way, you can check in with employees any time, even if you're on the other side of the world.
Step 4. Introduce employees to their team and company culture
This can be one of the most challenging parts of onboarding, especially for hybrid companies. It's important to get employees connected quickly so that they feel like they are a part of the team, but it's not always easy to coordinate when people are spread out.
Videos and visual standard operating practices can be adopted to highlight your company and its culture. Having employees help to create videos can be a great way to train as videos can be more engaging than simply reading a handbook and can help someone new to the organization feel a better sense of connection.
Also, be sure to build in time for your employees to explore the company on their own. It's important for new people to get a feel for how things work in your hybrid workplace, so it's good to give them a chance to explore.
#Tip: Use instant messaging apps and internal communication tools
It's more efficient to keep employees connected through internal communication tools. These can include dashboards where employees can check in on new projects or updates as well as instant messaging chat apps.
Step 5. Provide customized training that is tailored to each person's needs
Not all training is the same, so it's important to make sure that employees are getting the right kind of help. This might mean different things for people from different departments, or it might mean that employees need more guidance as they adjust to their new remote work schedules. Either way, you can't expect training to be effective unless it's customized. And be sure to ask your new hire what their learning style is so you can pivot your training to a way that works best for them.
Step 6. Identify ways for employees to stay connected with one another after they've been hired
Many employees find it hard to adjust to working from their home office, especially if they're used to having a lot of contact with other people. That's why it's important to make sure that new employees feel like they can communicate with other people in the company. One team may need a quick morning meeting to get everyone on the same page whereas others would do best with a weekly meeting.
And just because your team may be spread out, don’t pass up on opportunities to still have a bit of fun. There are a lot of virtual teambuilding events that can be done to bring your team together so experiment with a few until you find something that works for your hybrid/remote workforce. You can also keep your first day or week of new hire traditions alive even while working remotely. For instance, if your team traditionally does a first day lunch, take it virtual. You can even have lunch delivered to your team depending on their geographies.
#Tip: Check-in with new employees often
You should check in with your employees throughout the onboarding process to make sure that they have the resources that they need. This way, you can check in on them any time that you notice that there's a problem, and quickly resolve any issues. Setting up quick check in meetings that are regularly scheduled throughout the first few months is key!
We hope this article has given you some valuable insight into how to successfully onboard new employees in the hybrid/remote workplace. As we’ve discussed, there are many considerations that need to be made for a successful employee onboarding process - and it can seem like an overwhelming task at first glance. But if you take these six steps as your guiding principles, managing onboarding will become less daunting and more manageable. If you have any questions or would like assistance, feel free to contact us directly!