Starting a new job can be daunting as it is. But at least when starting a new job in a physical workplace, you know you’ve always got people sitting nearby to whom those ‘nice-to-know’ questions can be directed. 

And given that one objective of onboarding is to introduce new hires to their new working environment, the prospect of remote onboarding can seem somewhat challenging.

But the definition of the traditional workplace is changing, meaning employees are often hired on either a fully or semi-remote basis. Then of course there is the reality of COVID-19 lockdowns, currently faced by parts of Australia. During these times, new hires are forced to undertake remote onboarding whether they like it or not!

As such, organisations have had to adapt their onboarding programs for virtual set-ups. And though virtual onboarding does come with some challenges, with the right tools, technology and processes, your new hire will feel as welcome and excited as they would in an ordinary office environment!

In this blog, we offer five tips on how to onboard new hires remotely.

1. Use onboarding technology 

In a remote environment, the use of onboarding technology becomes essential in streamlining the process and ensuring a speedy collation of the relevant personal details and forms. HROnboard’s functionality allows HR and hiring managers to create, send and process job offers and advanced provisioning faster with a fully-customisable onboarding experience.

Inductions can be easily created and personalised for a perfect new hire experience, from day one through to their first anniversary.

2. Make it highly personal 

Once your candidate has signed the dotted line and is ready to start, you might want to think ahead and send them some branded goodies to get them excited for their first day. Not only is this a nice personal touch that makes them feel welcome (while easing those first-day nerves), it’s also an opportunity for you to showcase your employer brand – particularly since your new hire will likely share a snap of the goodies on their own social media channels. 

3. Establish structure, routine and rituals

All new starters need lots of structure and guidance to quickly direct their learning and upskilling in a new organisation. So in a remote setting, it’s important your new hire has a clear itinerary of all the necessary inductions to complete and colleagues to meet over the first few weeks. But they also need exposure to the rituals and practices that establish your organisation’s cultural norms and behaviours. 

Establishing rituals such as beginning online meetings with every team member discussing something they’ve learned over the last few weeks or having dedicated Slack channels that encourage the daily sharing of pet pictures or their daily runs, will help establish comforting rituals and make your new hire feel at home.

4. Assign your new hire a virtual buddy

When a new hire starts a job remotely, assigning them a buddy is a good way of maintaining an open channel of communication for them. While the buddy may not be able to answer role-specific questions, they can answer those ‘nice-to-know’ questions and provide an informal lowdown on the company culture that can help the new hire to feel more settled. For more information on buddies, check out our Ultimate Guide to Buddy Systems.

5. Gather feedback on your virtual onboarding processes

One of the most successful ways of measuring the success of your virtual onboarding program is to ask your new hires for feedback on it! According to ELMO’s 2021 HR Industry Benchmark Report, only 26% of HR professionals measure the effectiveness of their onboarding programs. Meanwhile, a Gallup poll found that only 12% of employees were satisfied by their company’s onboarding process. Obtaining regular feedback from all new starters is the only way you will improve your virtual onboarding processes. 

After all, we’re all just getting used to this remote world of work – it’s a learning curve! Regular feedback will help you to continuously improve your onboarding in the new world of work.

HROnboard, an ELMO company, offers a best-in-class software solution that reduces the amount of time HR teams and leaders spend securing the best candidates and undertaking the critical onboarding process for new hires. Our solution also helps manage internal employee role changes and can create a smooth and seamless process for exiting employees. To find out more, reach us here.

ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll offers end-to-end solutions for the entire employee lifecycle, from ‘hire to retire’. This includes recruitment, learning, performance management, payroll, rostering / time & attendance, and more. For further information, contact us.

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