Business, Career

Successfully Onboarding and Training Remote Employees

Welcoming new hires with a positive onboarding experience is crucial for their long-term success within an organization. To ensure this, you should...

Successfully Onboarding and Training Remote Employees

Welcoming new hires with a positive onboarding experience is crucial for their long-term success within an organization. To ensure this, you should implement best practices to foster integration and engagement.

It is essential to provide new employees with a warm welcome. This can include a personalized welcome message, introducing them to the team, and assigning them a mentor who can guide them when they’re starting out (elaborated below).

Next on, you should offer appropriate orientation programs that should include company values, mission, and goals.

For remote workers, many standard procedures need to be adjusted. While virtual meetings aren’t novel, you should think about how to step up integration.

If you deploy a combined hybrid work model, make sure to set up hybrid events from time to time so that all employees can enjoy them.

Let’s take a look at the most important steps to consider when onboarding and training new remote employees.

Include the Emotional Aspect

Yes, workplace digitalization is all the rage. Aren’t we all aware of that?

Even so, people cherish human interactions. New hires, in particular, need to get a sense of unity to be able to excel in their role.

Here’s our first tip: don’t hand out generalized, boring training materials that don’t make your onboarding program stand out!

Do put in some effort to add unique details and encourage new hires to ask questions.

Don’t Rush Onboarding

Next on, even if the apocalypse is imminent, don’t rush onboarding training!

No matter how urgently you need a new pair of hands on board, get it into your head that a scared and unprepared new hire won’t change anything for the better. Quite the contrary! They will only delay work and feel terrible for being incompetent.

Here’s our second tip: make new hires competent and self-confident. No matter how long it takes to achieve this goal, stick to the plan.

Combine Standard Workflows with Personalized Materials

Preparing training materials is an arduous task and no mistake. The materials should include both general guidelines and role-specific information. To top it off, they should be original and evergreen at the same time.

Arduous to a T!

Is there a shortcut?

Not exactly, but there’s a way to create a good foundation and apply creative hacks to personalize content.

For starters, create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which should detail the general part. A template will help you customize even the tiniest of details, so don’t kill the mood with formalities.

Naturally, the “boring’ part” can’t be avoided, as everyone wants to know about the perks, salary, and days off, but make it concise and laser-sharp.

Make up for it with engaging, personalized training that will invoke inspiration.

Here’s our tip: engage new hires. Ask for their input and ideas.

Naturally, training materials come in various forms. They may or may not include training materials (handouts), instructional videos, and online courses. Use any combination to achieve the goal, but avoid information overload like the plague.

Tell New Hires What Their Future Holds

New employees don’t know what to expect from the company. With so many uncertainties popping up these days, it’s only reasonable to be straightforward.

Tell them what their future in the company holds. Answer all their questions. Include a mix of different aspects such as facts, employee experience, and seniority.

Set Clear Goals

Make sure to communicate goals clearly so that new remote employees know what to expect.

One notable downside of new tech is that human interactions are greatly diminished (if not entirely eliminated).

Too often, remote employees are left to deal with whatever issues or questions they may have on their own. Relying on Slack channels and tickets to get the answers can be so frustrating and inefficient that new hires may just give up.

Not only do goals need to be communicated clearly, but you should also ensure that appropriate communication channels are set up and operating properly.

Assign a Mentor

Mentorship is a common onboarding practice. It only stands to reason to expect that even the most detailed of onboarding programs don’t stand a chance of training new hires for every possible scenario.

Although there are no hard and fast rules, many companies opt for a 90-day plan that covers all aspects of the role. Pick a senior mentor who hails from a different team this will help new employees meet more colleagues and integrate faster.

One critical part of successfully onboarding remote employees is directing them to the right people early on. Make sure to schedule a virtual meeting with key staff.

Identify the Training Needs of New Remote Employees

It is paramount to identify the training needs of new remote hires. There’s a huge difference between office workers and remote employees in this regard.

One way to go about this is by conducting individual assessments and performance evaluations. Set up regular feedback sessions to understand specific areas where remote employees may require additional skill development.

Additionally, rely on surveys to gather insights and analyze performance metrics. Examine productivity levels and project outcomes to identify areas where additional training may be needed.

Lastly, staying up to date with new tech and industry trends is essential for spotting potential skills gaps.

Decide Whether You Need Cross-Cultural Training

Cross-cultural training isn’t always necessary but if you hire multinational teams, it may be helpful (and engaging, to boot).

Make it interactive by inspiring all team members to participate.

Literally, anything goes in this regard, and you may even ask senior team members for input.

Support Remote Employees

Remote workers can feel isolated and struggle with time management, so, at the very least, these two issues need to be addressed.

Rely on new tech to help you brainstorm ideas. Think in terms of virtual meet-ups, conferences, and hybrid events.

Schedule virtual team meetings where ALL employees can exchange information, discuss progress, and address drawbacks. Make sure that these meetings are interactive, allowing everyone to participate actively.

Encourage a culture of open communication where all employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns to foster inclusivity.

Create Development Opportunities

To ensure the growth of new remote hires, you’ll need to come up with appropriate development opportunities.

Again, new tech can come in handy. Organize virtual webinars and training sessions that address their career development.

Utilize Various Communication Channels

Offer a range of communication channels (e.g., email, IMs, video conferencing tools, project management software).

The practice allows employees to choose the most suitable channel for their communication needs and enhances connectivity among remote employees working in different geographies.

Encourage Feedback

Finally, establish a feedback system where employees can suggest innovative ideas and voice their concerns.

Setting up a regular anonymous feedback system is the best way to foster honesty, as employees won’t fear retribution.

Plan Ahead

This should be plenty to go on, but with the corporate ecosystem evolving rapidly, you should think ahead.

Timely adjustments are often needed. To avoid creating all plans from scratch, create bulletproof templates and SOPs and apply tweaks here and there to meet new situations head-on.

Remote employees should be encouraged to communicate with their colleagues. Efforts to humanize interactions and management are essential.

With things changing this fast, it’s difficult to make long-term plans. It’s not impossible, though! Be inventive and listen to employee feedback. Allow your workforce to evolve alongside your organization.


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Written by Angela Ash
Angela Ash is a professional writer and editor, focusing on business topics.

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