Onboarding New Employees in a Remote Work Setting

Even if your business has been operating remotely since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a good chance that you’ve already run into the issue of how to properly train and introduce new employees in a remote setting. New hires who have never worked in your physical office or experienced your company’s workplace culture first-hand can find the whole process overwhelming without set procedures, proper training, and clear expectations.

There’s nothing quite like experiencing life as a new employee and learning the ropes in person - meeting your new colleagues, being trained “on the job” by your superiors, and fitting into the new culture. In order for them to succeed in the long-term, people hired remotely need to be trained with these challenges in mind so they can overcome the difficulties posed by a remote work environment and become functioning members of your business.

Why it’s so important to get onboarding right with new remote employees

The orientation experience is one of the most important things for new employees, setting the tone for their new career by showing them everything they can expect out of their new employer and position. With new remote employees, the traditional orientation experience is essentially nonexistent. Rather than an in-person introduction to your company and its culture, new remote employees must communicate through video conferencing and collaborative tools.

This makes it even more critical for businesses to get the onboarding process right with each and every new hire - going about it the wrong way could make new employees feel lost, completely overwhelmed, and afraid to ask questions, starting off their new post in the worst way possible. With the right approach to onboarding, in-office and remote employees can effectively integrate into your workplace culture.

Set clear expectations and goals for new remote employees

Make sure that their role in your company is well-defined so new remote hires feel like valuable members of the team and understand exactly what it is they’re doing on a daily basis. Remember to cover your company’s policies early and make it clear that they’re expected to follow them like they would at any other workplace. These policies could outline things like availability, usage of business accounts, preferred software and apps for communication and collaboration with colleagues and clients, behavior, data privacy, and more.

Right away, managers must lay out your company’s expectations of new remote employees. Like in an office setting, it’s important to be extremely clear and specific about when these remote employees are to be available for work - this will allow them to create a set schedule around those mandatory working times and ensures they’ll be available for things like group meetings, team building exercises, and day-to-day collaboration with colleagues.

Once your company’s expectations have been clearly outlined, you can get to work on establishing goals for new hires to work towards. These can be long-term and short-term goals, or even a simple calendar of tasks and projects that they should be working on during the onboarding process. These projects are normally simpler at first, but should ideally increase in difficulty to help them get used to what it is your business specializes in. Be very clear about deadlines and expectations - that way they can’t fall short. 

It’s important to check-in with new employees regularly to see how they’re progressing, answer questions about their work, and to ensure that they’re easing nicely into their role. Assign a point person to help them work through any issues they may encounter, answer their questions, and to give them a consistent source of support.

Establish accountability guidelines

After establishing goals and your expectations of them, new remote hires should be given a clear way to hold themselves accountable. Remote work can be difficult, especially for those who have never done it before, so establishing guidelines for accountability can be extremely helpful and motivating.

Let them know exactly what deliverables are expected of them, when they’re expected to submit these deliverables (whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly, or any other time frame), and what will happen in the event that deadlines for deliverables are missed or when the quality of work isn’t up to par with what’s expected of your organization. This will ensure that deadlines are respected, especially when the penalties for missed deadlines and subpar quality are clearly laid out.

At this stage, you’ll also need to define how their performance will be appraised. Whether it’s quality of work, quantity of work, a mixture of both, number of leads generated, number of projects completed, call volume, contracts signed, engagement numbers, or something completely different, they’ll need something to work towards, so be very specific with your expectations. Let your employees know what management is looking for in terms of quality and quantity, and what the expectations of clients are.

This will help them approach their work appropriately, and can help you better define their path to progression through your organization. Creating a roadmap for new remote employees will help them better understand exactly what management expects of them, and how they can progress upwards within the organization if performance goes above and beyond their expectations.

Encourage collaboration and communication with colleagues

Perhaps the best way to set up new remote hires for success is to encourage them to collaborate and communicate with other colleagues from day one. Hold meetings with all hands on deck to introduce new employees, allowing them to get a feel for who they’ll be working alongside and who they’ll be reporting to. Provide new employees with a mentor who will be their point person and who they’ll be working closely with. This person will help to train them on the tools and solutions they’ll be using to perform their duties, showing them how to get the very most out of them from a collaborative standpoint.

Establish how important collaboration is to your team, and let new hires know that they’re expected to work alongside and keep in touch with colleagues. From there, encourage your team to hold one-on-one and group meetings with new employees, getting them involved in ongoing projects and communication channels on apps like Slack. This will give them real experience working with their new colleagues, and keep them in the loop. Encouraging collaboration and communication will allow new hires to work with your team members more effectively, set them up for success in their new role, and get them ready for a potential future working on-site with you and your employees.

Using contextualized productivity intelligence to better manage new remote employees

It’s understandable for employers and managers to be hesitant about training new remote employees. The best way to get peace of mind is by putting contextualized productivity intelligence offered by Prodoscore to the test. Prodoscore allows you to keep tabs on your new employees by better understanding how they’re spending their time.

With contextualized productivity intelligence, you’ll be able to see how new employees are performing and progressing on a day-to-day basis, how their assigned manager is guiding them, which apps they’re spending the most time using, which ones they could be making better use of, and when they’re most productive during the day. With Prodoscore, you can identify sudden drops in performance and get to work finding the cause of this drop, whether it’s related to their mentor, their workload, or if they require additional training.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to compare your new remote employees to other members of your team, see how they’re progressing, spot trends, and make decisions that will help to increase engagement, ensure that new employees stick around for the long-term, and enhance coaching to get the most out of new hires. Prodoscore takes the unknown out of managing new remote employees by offering contextualized productivity intelligence to help you get the most out of your remote teams and become a stronger leader. To find out more about how Prodoscore can revolutionize the way your business onboards new remote employees, get in touch with us today.

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