Considerations when Onboarding Staff Remotely

April 7, 2020

As we continue on this COVID-19 roller-coaster (is it week 4 or 5, I’ve honestly lost count), there are chinks of light. From all over the world LinkedIn alerts show connections starting in new roles. Good signs and I’ll take the positives where I can get them! Locally, we have clients in organisations of all shapes and sizes who have had offers made in months past who are now looking at onboarding those candidates – but not having an office in which to do it.

A solid onboarding process is always important as we know but particularly during these times it will really help with new hire training, engagement, productivity and ultimately their retention. Having someone work from home from day one is new for businesses in Cayman and so it’s worth giving time to consider how you will manage this process without any in-person interactions.

For anyone starting a job it’s a nerve-wracking time. Being physically removed from your employer is especially tough and so making your new hire feel welcomed into your organization is key.

Some things to consider are listed below. You’re unlikely to be too surprised to see that utilizing technology features heavily here…!

Communication

First things first: communicate early and communicate often. After the offer has been accepted ensure someone (ideally their line manager or a representative from Operations/ HR) reaches out to say hello and WELCOMES THEM. Before they commence working, provide them with your company handbook, an org chart and any other manuals or pertinent literature that will assist them. This pack of info is not to be underestimated and will show them you live your company values and culture by making them truly feel like one of the team. Albeit from afar.

Virtual

Organize a team video call to allow them to virtually meet their new manager and colleagues, pair them up with a buddy who will check in with them and have a virtual orientation with HR meet to help them feel part of the wider organization.

Make sure the necessary tech is set up to start them working properly from Day One. This may mean organizing a laptop and mobile phone to be delivered to their home, getting IT to give them access to your CRM, or simply sending them logins to join the team Slack and whatsapp groups. Any additional corporate gifts like mugs and notebooks will be received with gratitude – as would a plant or even a coffee!

Training

As much training information that can be provided electronically the better. If you have an online training platform well, you’re just winning life. Devoting the time – ahead of time – to allow them the opportunity to hit the ground running, will pay you dividends and clearly sets out your expectations as an employer.

Understanding

As we come to terms with our new normal of working from home and social distancing from family and friends, we’re all experiencing bouts of isolation, feeling disassociated from others and generally feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Anxiety is perfectly normal right now – this is an abnormal situation we’re living in!

Success

Giving your new recruit a suitably warm welcome as they are start work remotely will undoubtedly unease the period of adjustment for both you and them. Nothing is set in stone for any of us right now but keeping the communication lines open and being honest about any weak spots (where you need to just bear with you) will undoubtedly help them have a positive onboarding experience.

Prioritizing these actions should mean they remain with you long after COVID-19 is a distant memory. Soon come!

This is definitely not exhaustive, and I’d be really keen to hear about anything I’ve overlooked. Please get in touch with me vanessa@theagency.ky if you have any questions about talent onboarding or your plans to make future hires.