Credit: Luke Peters
Tips for onboarding remote employees are spreading across business blogs with uncanny regularity. Service provider webpages, (much like this one) offer advice and ideas for onboarding remote employees in the smoothest, most efficient way possible.
The reason that onboarding checklists for remote employees have been stressed to saturation is because remote onboarding isn’t easy for anyone involved, and it’s happening more than ever before. One challenge, for example, is addressing supply-chain issues related to providing the right hardware and software to remote employees.
According to a Gallup poll, over 80% of white-collar professionals have been working from home in some capacity as of Spring 2021 in occupational groups like:
While this number may be lower for other professions - the general idea still rings true: more people are working from home now than they were two years ago.
And there’s no reason to believe that this will change anytime soon. According to a FlexJobs survey, 58% of respondents said they would prefer a work-from-home arrangement, while another 39% said they’d like a hybrid model. That’s 97% who want to work from home in some capacity!
Companies are concerned with virtual onboarding best practices due to the very real ramifications of a poorly executed start for a new hire. Poor onboarding processes can stymie companies who have plans for growth, delaying start times and forcing new employees to make do with substandard equipment.
These challenges are present for two reasons:
In fact, it’s less than 2 years old as of December 2021. This newness means “best practices” are still in the process of evolving. Translating how Human Resources and IT used to help an employee get established to a new, virtual landscape takes time and, for companies without outside guidance, trial and error.
This is what truly sets remote new-hire establishments apart. This task requires the creation of new processes that were either overlooked or deemed “automatic” in the past. Deliberately launching culture, organization goals, leadership, and social constructs is a new frontier for a lot of organizations.
Credit: Lasse Jensen
The most critical part of the remote onboarding process is to have a deliberate, structured plan. Different companies and even particular roles may differ in specific employee onboarding process steps, so let’s consider instead what dimensions or elements need to be covered for a successful new hire launch.
We’ll also go over some examples of how companies might benefit from achieving specific goals within these dimensions.
This is the element that may have changed the least from its in-person processes, but they still need to be accomplished in a digital format.
Investing in an e-signature tool for secure handling of all HR paperwork and legal documents, (like contracts and non-disclosures) helps ensure everything is sent and signed in the most efficient way possible.
HR can also benefit by setting the stage for how and when they would like to be contacted. Providing access to appointment times for virtual meetings shows HR is available to employees even when they work remotely.
Perhaps the most grounding element in the onboarding process for remote employees is making sure your new hire has the technology necessary to execute their work. This includes but is not limited to:
Remember, as an employer, you are responsible for your employees’ working conditions. This doesn’t change just because your employees are not at your physical office.
It is necessary to have the best tools available in order to support real-time communication with a new hire. Using a service to manage employee-issued devices and tech installs can simplify this basic need.
With growing hiring of remote employees, organizations need to find a way to quickly scale the process of providing the necessary tools to their new hires. A solution like Quadbridge’s QB Zero Touch can quickly deploy standardized IT solutions for your remote employees at scale.
Helping your new hire establish a positive connection with your company, as well as understand values and the “why” behind it all, can pave the way for excellence.
Companies often start this process by sending welcome packages including company swag, mission and vision statements, personal notes and even gift certificates for lunch.
Building relationships with coworkers and getting to know other departments helps employees to do their jobs better, especially when tasks require interdisciplinary action. Yes, they should just be able to go online and view the org chart, but making real connections remotely can be tricky.
Since meeting others is not nearly as organic, providing small, virtual opportunities to connect can go far. These might include:
It is important for leaders to develop a rapport and roadmap with direct reports as soon as they start. Setting clear expectations and working together to create goals for the first 30, 60 and 90 days of an employee’s tenure allows everyone to be on the same page. Regular one-on-one meetings also give employees the opportunity to be heard and to ask questions.
This leads us to employee support systems. Experts recommend assigning a mentor or “buddy” (or even both!) to each new employee. While this might sound a little elementary, having a go-to person that isn’t your boss, available for clarification, verification and guidance can be extremely helpful.
It might feel awkward or superfluous to leaders, but making sure your new hire understands company culture can avoid future stress for everyone. Cultural topics to cover include:
Quadbridge has created QB Zero Touch to help organizations manage the device-side of onboarding with minimal effort.
Quadbridge’s breakthrough service packages and ships starter kits designed to your company’s specifications. This allows your team to focus on the human-centric elements critical to onboarding for remote employees.
QB Zero Touch currently supports Apple, PC and Google deployments. The user-friendly, cloud-based interface makes ordering starter kits and tracking delivery to your employees as easy as ordering out for dinner.
QB Zero Touch also handles:
Contact Quadbridge today for more information on onboarding remote employees and device deployment for work-from-home staff within the United States and Canada.
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