21 April 2020

The world is experiencing one of the biggest challenges of its time; COVID-19. With the current pandemic lockdown, restrictions on travel and social distancing rules in place, we are all having to adapt to how we do business. This, in turn, is having an impact on how we look after our current employees as well as how we onboard new starters.

Onboarding simply cannot take place face to face and businesses need to work hard to deliver an exceptional, human approach to do this remotely. Onboarding a new employee is an important part of welcoming them to the team and ensuring they become productive quickly and effectively, with access to all the people, information, processes and equipment they will need to do their job.

Here are our nine tips to ensure your new employee is remotely onboarded successfully.

1. Pre-board where possible

Be proactive and have your new employee fill in all the relevant paperwork (preferably online) for HR and payroll before their start date. Also, consider all the platforms they will need access to and ensure that the relevant departments have set this up at least a day before they start.

This will help your new employees start work on their first day without any admin or access issues getting in the way.

2. Send a welcome pack

Create some excitement for their first day. As part of their starter kit, which might include any equipment, software and hardware they will need to do the job, also send them a welcome pack. This could include a branded water bottle, mouse mat, or a welcome card. This is your opportunity to make them feel special and part of the team.

3. Create a personalised action plan

One size rarely fits all – take the time to create a personalised plan for each new starter, focussing on what they will need to know on their first day, their first week etc.

4. Do not create a brain drain

Avoid covering too much on their first day and creating a brain drain. Ensure it includes a variety of activities including learning, reading and contact with other relevant people.

The first day is a great time to share expectations with them on what you want them to achieve at the beginning of their tenure with you.

5. Build rapport

The reality of working from home can make people feel isolated and lonely. Focus on the human aspects of your exchanges with your new starter. It is important to find out about them from not only a working and managerial style level but also to find out about their personal life and interests.

6. Make updates in real-time

It is crucial to ensure all processes, staff directories, guidelines and documents are up to date. Your new starter will want to show initiative and find out information themselves. Whether you use an Intranet or a sharing platform like Microsoft Teams, audit these well in advance and update in real-time. 

7. Human connections

Working from home can make people feel lonely and isolated. They must be included in team meetings and make time for individual introductions to be made.

If you don’t already have a buddy system in place, consider implementing one now. Introduce them to someone who they can communicate with regularly for virtual coffees and chats, just like they would do at work.

8. Check-in regularly

Schedule regular catch-ups with your new starter and make them feel welcome to contact you when they need to. Recap on information provided in their first few days. Remember the start of a new job can be quite overwhelming and refreshing certain elements will make them feel confident they are settling into the business.

9. Ask for feedback

Onboarding is not a one-way street. Ask for feedback on how their onboarding has been and where they would recommend changes to improve the process.

Onboarding should be something that your business continually works on to improve. 

View our other career advice for employers here

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