Employees enjoy remote work because of the convenience, saving time and money related to the commute to and from work, greater flexibility, and the ability to balance work and personal obligations. Though loneliness and other factors can creep in, remote work is here to stay. Upwork predicts that 22% of the U.S. workforce will be working remotely by 2025.
As a result, companies need to ensure that whenever possible, there is a remote equivalent to each onsite meeting or amenity. For example, as some associates are witnessing a presentation in person, remote workers can be watching comfortably from their home office – in their pajamas. Effective onboarding can lead to great employee retention.
Here are some factors to consider so you can generate a personal connection with your remote employees:
Get going: Start the unofficial onboarding process as soon as you know the associate is hired. Share all the company social channels and the template to follow for the email signature. Providing a company-branded swag item as a welcome gesture will further make a remote worker feel like part of the team.
IT infrastructure: Introduce the remote associate and an information technology (IT) associate as soon as possible to ensure the new associate has the setup, access, passwords, platforms and protocols to be ready to go on the first day.
Handbooks and history: Establish a digital handbook and website for remote employees that addresses their unique needs, including all the pertinent policies, such as paid time off (PTO), performance appraisals, etc. Provide a greeting from the chief executive officer to welcome the new associate and personally convey the company history, corporate culture, mission and vision from the top brass.
Creating connectedness: Those working from home need the right amount of connection points with other staff members to fight feeling isolated. Create established check-in times with teams and supervisors daily, weekly or whatever suits the flow of work.
Personalize the welcome: An onboarding plan for remote associates could contain the staples of traditional orientations, plus individualized components, such as a digital introduction from an established staff member to teammates welcoming the new associate in a casual “getting to know you” format.
Checking in: New remote associates want to do a good job, but it may be harder to discern whether they are when associates can’t just drop by their office and chat. Establish video check-ins and goals so remote associates know what the expectations are and when and how measurement will be assessed.
Promote collaboration: Encourage learning between departments, as well as between veteran and new employees.
Promote professional growth: Offer training opportunities for remote employees to take advantage of and encourage associates to bring their own educational findings to the forefront for consideration.
Newbie group: Offer an extension of orientation that enables new associates to gather online, casually converse, get to know each other and create a supportive community across various departments. A facilitator can get the group started.
Provide mentors: Cultivate a group of willing mentors for both a welcoming probationary period and long-term career development. Today’s workforce contains multiple generations and multicultural associates, making it especially important to have empathetic guidance from someone who has occupationally walked in the same shoes.
Adapting these suggestions to your own workplace can help establish a sense of welcome and worth for remote employees during the onboarding process and beyond.