When new hires receive proper employee training from the beginning, they have more chances of becoming successful in their position. However, as most managers know, training employees online can be stressful to say the least. You will need to do more work than you normally would when onboarding someone in person.
Training new employees online is more than giving them some documents to read and sign. To properly onboard a new staff member, you need to start with how you run the interview. From there, start introducing them to their mentor, initiate relationships with the broader team, communicate with extra clarity, and have frequent check-ins.
1. Meet the team interviews
Although most companies hold interviews where the interviewee gets a chance to meet current staff members, this type of interview is especially important with companies who work remotely.
With in-person jobs, new hires typically get the chance to meet everyone (or at least most people) on their first day, since everyone is at the office. However, with remote work, new hires don’t get that same luxury. Therefore, it is essential to introduce your interviewee to staff members during the interview.
Holding an interview with multiple staff members will give the new hire an opportunity to meet the people they will be working with in the future. This way, once they begin their role, they already feel comfortable with a few of the team members.
And vice-versa, this will also give your current staff members a chance to be introduced to the new hire and get to know them on a personal level. This process will benefit team relationships once the new member has been officially hired.
2. Get Started Early
Starting a new job is always a little nerve-racking. New hires will be concerned about getting along with team members, learning new procedures, and possibly even learning new skills. While all this can be stressful when working in person, it can be even more stressful doing it online – especially if the new hire has never worked at a remote job before.
When we work in person, we can simply speak to the person sitting next to us, or visit a co-worker down the hall to ask them a question. This kind of environment makes it easy for new hires to get to know the staff and start building up their relationships.
However, new hires do not have that same opportunity when working remotely. Therefore, it’s a good idea to personally introduce your new employee to a liaison who can answer any questions and provide mentorship. It’s important for the new person to know who they can turn to when they need help, especially since they will not be in an office where they can ask someone sitting next to them. Try to do this introduction over a video call so it feels more personal and inviting. The sooner you make this introduction, the sooner the new hire can start settling into their new role.
Remember, even if the new hire and liaison already met during the interview, it won’t hurt to re-introduce them once the employee has officially started.
By the very first day –or even before the official start date – you should give the new employee all the log-in credentials they need to do their job – this means emails, apps, software tools, special accounts, etc. This way, if any technical issues arise, you can work out the kinks early on.
If you really want to go the extra mile in making your new hire feel welcome, send them a gift basket on their first day. This will get them more excited about starting their new position and will help them feel closer to the company despite not actually being there in person.
Implementing all these techniques as soon as the new hire starts will make for a smoother transition.
3. Initiate Relationships
Just because you operate remotely, does not mean you can neglect the importance of establishing employee relationships. Strong relationships ensure that employees are happy and motivated to be successful at work. Unfortunately, in virtual settings you can’t rely on the spontaneous relationship-building that happens in person. Therefore, you will need to be more proactive in your approach.
Virtual environments make it easy for staff members to only speak with the same people every day. In order to break this trend, throughout the first few weeks, schedule formal and informal meetings between the new hire and other staff members. You can do a mix of one-on-ones as well as group calls, so the new member gets a better understanding of company dynamics.
Intentionally setting these meetings will make employee training easier because the new hire will get a chance to see how the business runs from multiple perspectives. Therefore allowing them to see how their jobs fits into the bigger picture.
4. Communicate clearly and provide tutorials
Good communication can be challenging in an online world. Poor internet connection can cause video call glitches, written text can easily be misinterpreted since we don’t hear the tone of voice, and receiving pages and pages of new information without anyone physically there to assist you can be overwhelming. This means you need to be extra careful and clear when giving your new hire instructions.
Providing a video tutorial can make it easier for them to understand their task – everyone likes a video tutorial more than reading a 50-page document. On the other hand, if you don’t have a pre-recorded tutorial, you can get on a video call with them and share your screen.
You should also be asking them what their preferred style of remote learning is; this way you can ensure you are meeting their learning needs.
Lastly, remember that a lot of the processes may seem very obvious to you and your staff, but they are completely foreign to your new hire. This means that you should be stating the obvious – even when you don’t think you need to. Examples include company norms such as dress code, etiquette, messaging norms, meeting rules, work hours, etc. Although stating these things may seem repetitive to you, if you don’t relay this information to your new employee, you leave the door open for confusion and ambiguity in the future.
You will want to find a good balance of checking in often, while not seeming like you’re micro-managing. In the beginning, it is appropriate to check in often with your new hire to make sure they are on track or if they need any help. You can also check in with their direct supervisor to get any feedback on their experience with the new hire thus far.
As the weeks go by, you can slowly check in less and less.
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