During my 15+ years career as a lead and hiring manager on many projects, I’ve developed this guide to remotely onboarding new hires – 9 key points:
1. Formulate Pre-boarding Process
As a hiring manager, formulate the onboarding procedures ahead of time via a google doc or some other shared online document. This document will have a checklist and references to your policies, procedures and tools used and instructions. You can email the link to the document to new hires before they start so they are not overwhelmed by information on their first day.
2. First Day Introduction
Set up a video conferencing call with the new hire on the first day to introduce yourself, your team and familiarize him/her with your company culture, product(s) and procedures. Provide a reference to their managers and supervisors.
3. Welcome Package
Send new hires a welcome package that may consist of your company’s product information, a welcome letter from you CEO or a gift card – something that will make them feel welcome and a part of the team.
4. Communication/Collaboration Tools & Access
Communication is the key with remote onboarding. Use tech tools available to you to set them up with, for example, Google G-Suite/Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack. Help them understand your communication tools & provide them access to your intranet, authentication/VPN if any. Describe the best ways to contact team members and how to troubleshoot communication technology. If exist, provide manuals on how to set up email, group messaging, video conferencing and phone.
5. Introduce new hires to the team
Facilitating work friendships from the very beginning! While working remotely you can’t go to team lunches or drinks, but virtual “water cooler talks” are essential. Set them up with the video call with your team: go through introductions and talk with the team about hobbies and interests so the new hire can put faces to names and get to know everyone. Don’t forget to add your new hire to 1-on-1’s and group calls with their teammates, managers, direct reports and others in the company they’ll be working closely with.
6. Setup Training and Onboarding Sessions
Have a standardized procedure of setting up training sessions with your product or marketing team to go over your product’s features. Set your onboarding sessions with your team leads, senior team members to guide new hires through the processes.
7. Regular Check-ins
To create a positive onboarding experience – check in regularly to see how the new hires are tracking, especially in the first week. Make them feel they are not working along and you are there to support them! Answer their questions and guide them if necessary. Do group chats so your team members and leads can jump in and help out. Be consistent with communication.
8. Task Calendar after onboarding
As a hiring manager, project manager or team lead, develop and share a task calendar with your new hire after training and onboarding sessions. Define long and short term goals. Schedule weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects, progress and resolve potential issues.
9. Company’s Culture is Essential
Your company’s culture is essential to the success of the new hire and his/her retention. Keep your culture strong: provide incentives, check in regularly about the work and personal well-being. Invest time in additional “fun” team virtual meetings at the “water cooler”. Send them regular updates on the successes of the team or company as a whole. Make your new hire feel valued and welcome!