Renate de Jonge•
Working from home has plenty of advantages. You need to have some adaptability, but it also brings you a lot. Although, some topics remain more difficult; employees can for example not always start their new job at the office. Realising the onboarding and training of employees remotely really asks for a different approach.
It’s for example important to have even more focus on and time for the onboarding when this happens digitally. First impressions are everything. How you welcome your new employees and how you introduce them to you organisation, has a huge impact on how involved they will be and how quickly they’ll reach their complete potential and productivity. So, the onboarding isn’t something you want to rush!
An example of a challenge during a remote onboarding, is introducing the new employee to already existing team members. But also the explanation of the company’s policy and the procedures have become a more difficult task.
New employees feel more easily isolated by the distance. It can be that questions aren’t answered as good as normally and that they feel less part of the team. Moreover, all of this is difficult to detect. As a supervisor you’ve also less personal contact so it’s more difficult to find out when a new team member needs help.
How do you ensure your new employees do feel welcome, without a tour of the office and a face-to-face introduction with new colleagues? We'll give you a few tips:
There's no such thing as too much communication
People feel vulnerable in new situations. Often quite some questions and insecurities arise: ‘What are my new colleagues like?’ and ‘Will I fit within a team of people who’ve known each other for a longer period of time?’. A good digital onboarding programme can take away these stresses.
Normally, a manager will regularly walk by a new employee to check up on them. This isn’t possible while working at home, but you can still stay in contact using mail, WhatsApp or a short call. Make sure the communication doesn’t only cover practical business, but spend ample time on the social aspect – mainly in the beginning.
Guide your new employees well. Make sure they feel welcome and that they have the correct tools and that they understand the instructions so they can get started. Short microlearnings help with this. Take them by the hand and don’t leave them in the dark!
Emphasise the culture and values of the organisation
The corporate culture is one of the most important yardsticks for involvement and happiness of employees. Working for a company that shares your values and that has a mission in which you also believe is sometimes considered even more important than the salary.
That’s why it’s of extra value to centralise the corporate culture during the online onboarding. You need to give your new employees the feeling that they’ve made the right choice choosing for your company, from day 1 on.
By using among other things interactive online trainings you can make your new colleagues familiar with the corporate culture and the company’s processes.
Increasing online involvement
We all miss the chat at the coffee machine and walking with colleagues during our break. All communication happens online and that’s exhausting. To prevent ‘Zoom-fatigue’, you can make an extra effort in your online onboarding. Are you talking during an online training or presentation? Focus extra on your facial expression and voice-use. Look into the camera, move your hands, be lively and interactive. This way you make it a bit more personal, even though it’s still on a screen.
Creating contact possibilities
At a successful onboarding, new employees won’t only get to know the company, but also their colleagues. Create enough online possibilities for this.
A fun idea is for example a spinning coffee klatch. Already familiar employees will meet with their new colleague for an informal coffee break to get to know each other. This way you recreate the feeling of a nice chat at the coffee machine.
Give it time
An onboarding process can be quite overwhelming. New names, faces, procedures and tasks ask a lot of energy of your new employee, and this can be even more exhausting when everything takes place online.
Provide new employees with ample time to take all information in. Give them half a workday to view the online academy of your organisation independently, so they can figure out what they find interesting. This way you stimulate their curiosity to learn and develop themselves further.
The extra time and focus you put into a good online onboarding will result in employees who feel welcome and valued, also on remote. There’s nothing that yields a better involvement than a good start.