5 Tips for Successful Remote Onboarding & Training
The remote working model is increasing in popularity. According to data, ¼ of all professional jobs in North America will go remote in 2022, and the numbers will only continue to grow through 2023.
There are many reasons for this shift. For one, it allows companies to recruit top talent from anywhere in the world. It also helps promote work-life balance and can save on workplace as well as commuting costs. Moreover, as the coronavirus pandemic has shown, it’s a much safer option, both in terms of employee health as well as potential crises.
However, there are also some challenges that come with telecommuting. One of the biggest is remote onboarding and training new employees. When you can’t just pop into their office or grab them for a quick chat, it can be tough to make sure they’re getting everything they need to be successful. Here are five tips for successful remote onboarding and training:
Prepare All the Materials in Advance
One of the most important things you can do to set your new employee up for success is to prepare all the materials they’ll need in advance. This includes things like their employee handbook, job description, anything related to their status and benefits, any needed software or logins, and contact information for their team or manager.
You should also put together a welcome packet that includes an overview of the company and the team, as well as any other helpful information. For example, you can share a few tips on how to prepare for a job interview. If you lack ideas, here are some valuable guidelines from the Bravo interviewer. Keeping your new and potential employees well-informed is a great way to make them feel comfortable and excited about joining the company.
Then, you should focus on work-related materials, e.g., SOPs, project templates, checklists, etc. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to hit the ground running from day one. As such, it may be a good idea to restrain from large blocks of text and instead use short bullet points, numbered lists, and visuals whenever possible.
You can even go the extra mile and create explainer videos to make complex concepts easier to understand. Micro-learning is a great way to consume information these days; just make sure the videos are high-quality, engaging, and offer value.
Finally, don’t forget to send all of this material ahead of time, so they have time to review it before their first day.
Have a Dedicated Remote Onboarding Contact
Your new employee should have a dedicated point of contact for all things related to their remote onboarding. This is the person they can go to with any questions or concerns, and who will make sure they have everything they need. Ideally, this should be someone who’s relatively senior in the company and who knows the ins and outs of the business. They should also be familiar with the remote working model and be able to offer advice and support on anything related to that.
Develop a remote Onboarding Program
You can’t just wing it when it comes to training your new employees. You need to have a well-thought-out plan that covers all the bases. This includes everything from the basics of the job to more specific skills they’ll need to be successful.
One way to do this is to create a training program that they can work through at their own pace. This could include things like reading material, instructional and explainer videos, quizzes, and even simulated work tasks, depending on the job. However, remember that visuals and bite-sized pieces of information are key here; no one wants to sit through hours of lectures.
Moreover, you should make sure to schedule regular check-ins, whether that’s daily, weekly, or bi-weekly. These will give you a chance to see how they’re doing, offer support, and answer any questions. You can even use these sessions to give them feedback on their progress.
Last but not least, don’t forget about ongoing training. Just because someone is done with their initial training doesn’t mean they don’t need to continue learning. As such, you should make sure to provide new employees with opportunities to learn and grow over time. This could include things like attending workshops, taking online courses, or shadowing more experienced employees.
Set Expectations Early On
One of the challenges of remote work is that it can be difficult to establish boundaries. This is why it’s important to set expectations early on, both in terms of work hours as well as communication.
For instance, you should make it clear what the company’s policy is on things like working from home, taking sick days, and using vacation days. You should also put together a schedule that outlines when they need to be available for meetings, calls, and other work-related tasks.
It’s also vital to set expectations in terms of communication. For instance, you should decide how often you want employees to check-in, whether that’s daily, weekly, or otherwise. You should also establish what the preferred method of communication is, e.g., email, phone, video chat, etc.
Make sure to go over all of this with your new employees during their remote onboarding, so there are no surprises down the road.
Prioritize Communication and Encourage Socializing
Since remote work can be isolating, it’s crucial to prioritize communication and encourage socializing. This means finding ways to help employees connect with each other, whether that’s through regular team meetings, company-wide events, or even just informal chats.
It’s also important to encourage employees to socialize outside of work. This could include things like arranging virtual happy hours, starting a book club, or even just creating a space for employees to chat about non-work-related topics.
Moreover, you should make sure to be available at all times, especially in the beginning. This means sending out regular updates, answering any questions the new employees might have, and providing them with all the information they need to be successful.
Finally, don’t forget to allow employees to provide feedback. This is the only way to know if something is working well or if any areas need improvement.
The Bottom Line
While remote work comes with some challenges, it also offers several advantages, and there’s no reason why it can’t be just as effective and efficient as traditional work models. Just remember to take things slowly, focus on communication, and make sure to provide all the materials and resources they need to be successful.
Remote onboarding and training new employees is always a challenge, but it can be especially tough when you’re dealing with remote work. However, by following these tips, you can set your new hires up for success and make sure they have everything they need to be productive and happy.
Natalia Kołkowska is a linguist and content writer fascinated by people, the modern world, and personal development. Apart from writing, she’s constantly learning new things, sharing her thoughts and experiences with others.