We are in a new era where flexible work schedules and locations are becoming popular. The traditional nine-to-five work model hardly applies to some global-operated businesses and professions, especially IT. These conditions create a high demand for remote work. On the other hand, companies try to get the best talents by tagging themselves as a “flexible work environment” to keep up with the competition.
Now, with everyone working from home due to COVID-19, the capacity for having employees work remotely is no longer a ‘benefit’ but an essential need to keep businesses running. It is important for companies whose regular onboarding process was interrupted by the pandemic to quickly put together a contingency plan. How do you create a seamless remote employee onboarding process? Here are some tips and steps employers may want to consider:
Identify Stakeholders and Accountabilities
First and foremost, employers need to identify which parties are involved in the normal onboarding process. If necessary, assemble a task force and start with identifying roles and accountabilities.
For companies that don’t have a remote onboarding process in place, here are some recommended steps:
Make a checklist for the existing onboarding process.
- Who does the IT setup?
- Who collects paperwork and sets up payroll?
- How do you save paperwork and store information?
- Who does orientation?
Reassess the existing process, and see how it can be shifted online.
- How do you pass paperwork that contains personal/confidential information?
- How do you set up remote access?
- If necessary, how do you deliver the hardware?
- How do you have hiring managers communicate with new hires on/before their first day?
- How do you conduct orientation and set up a training plan?
Redefine the process and execute.
- Make sure everyone involved in the onboarding process is on the same page;
- Make sure the paperwork for new hires is returned before setting them up or delivering company hardware to them;
- Communicate constantly and refine the new plan as needed.
Select Suitable Technologies
Many tools and technologies can be helpful to remote onboarding and remote working.
- Electronic signature platform (DocuSign, PandaDoc, etc.) – most are legally binding.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader – free, easy to exchange documents.
Communication and conferencing:
- Slack – used mainly by startups.
- Microsoft Teams, Webex – popular communication & conferencing tools within enterprise organizations
- Zoom, GoToMeeting, Blue Jeans – handy conferencing tools for both startups and enterprises
Time tracking (primarily for contractors):
- Google Drive – free.
- SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, a shared drive – used by enterprises, have better security
Make New Hires Feel Welcome
After everything is set up with the new hire, a warm welcome is essential. New employees can be nervous about starting their first day virtually.
- Schedule a virtual HR orientation.
- Ask hiring managers to reach out to new hires on or before their first day, introduce them to the teams (by email or hosting a team meeting), communicate about the first two weeks’ training and work plans, schedule one-on-one meetings, and set work expectations, etc.
- Check on new hires periodically to ensure that they are comfortable with the arrangement.
With more and more globally operated businesses that have employees working worldwide, it is crucial to have a secure and seamless remote employee onboarding process. This can significantly increase HR efficiency.