Written by:
Christine Christodoulou

Remote Onboarding guide: Nail your remote onboarding
in 2021!

Managers! You need to be nailing your onboarding process to stand a chance of retaining your team and scaling in 2021 and beyond.

How do we onboard our new hires effectively when they’re working remotely?

Our recent Workplace 2.0 webinar saw us tackle the topic of remote onboarding with our guests Charlotte Richmond (Head of Talent at Aiimi) and Chris Newton (VP of engineering at Immersive Labs) who have been there done it and reaped the rewards of building a strong onboarding plan.

In this blog, we’re going to break down the fundamentals of remote onboarding, including key advice from our Workplace 2.0 guests from translating your business culture to accountability…

Nail the pre-boarding stage.
According to Indeed, 83% of employers have experienced being ghosted from new starters, where a candidate has been offered a role, accepted it and then not turned up on the first day. CNBC have said that in fact, 1 in 5 workers who accept a job offer will turn out to be a ‘no-show’ on their first day. If you’re waiting until start date to begin engaging with your new hire, you’re leaving it too late.

We broke down how to nail your pre-boarding strategy in a recent blog, read it here.

Be consistent.
Is your messaging and how you present your values consistent across the process. Is it clear to candidates in process with you and new hires what your business stands for and what you’re about? The more consistent you are with this; the easier new hires find it to settle in and feel embedded within the company. Chris mentioned in the webinar that the consistency Immersive Labs presented to him from a prospective candidate, right up to a new hire was impeccable and one of the things that really resonated with him from the get-go.

Be responsible and be accountable.
Onboarding isn’t just the responsibility of HR.  Line managers need to be responsible and accountable for what they need to cover during the onboarding process. A high proportion of onboarding mistakes stem from responsibilities not being translated to line managers within the business, this combined with a lack of accountability from line managers – ‘I didn’t know it was my job’. Making a clear plan for the person who is responsible for the new hire creates a smoother more effective process. Everyone should be clear on what’s happening and when.

Roadmap the touch points and translate them!
We’ve all heard the onboarding fails…new hires being left alone for hours without any guidance on what to do next, new hires being a part of the company months before meeting their team mates properly etc. There is no need for these problems to occur if a communication plan is implemented from the get-go.

Line managers should be taking the time to schedule regular catch ups.

Touch points are critical, especially in the remote working world and new hires should be made aware of each point. While touch points (e.g teams calls) are a great opportunity to talk about business, projects and to make plans, it shouldn’t be the sole purpose of each touch point meeting. It’s really important that your new hire feels comfortable and connected with their new colleagues – this is often created through genuine non-work-related conversation, which will help integrate new team members quicker and create a sense of loyalty earlier on. If there’s a meeting booked – stick to it. Rearranging and cancelling intro calls with your new hire can make them feel pushed out, isolated and not important.

Regular check ins are vital for employees no matter how long they have been in a company but even more so during the onboarding stage – especially in a remote environment when serendipitous conversation with colleagues is non-existent.

For tips on translating business culture remotely, check out the video below…

Get Feedback!
How do you know your process is really working if you’re not asking for feedback?
This will either reiterate what a good job you’re doing OR more importantly, if you need to switch it up and try something new. There’s loads of ways you can receive effective feedback, whether it’s through tech platforms such as Officevibe or even making it a topic of conversation in one of your regular catch ups with your new hire.

Make it fun!
The onboarding process is also a great way to integrate your new hire with all the fun aspects of your business. Make sure you have scheduled some social events, zoom activities and in person social events as soon as you’re able to.

Chris says…“The effectiveness of your pre-boarding and on-boarding processes is a key determinant for the success of your hiring strategy. The shift to fully remote work has amplified the need to provide a well-structured, tailored and personal experience for new hires, and all companies need to inspect and adapt their processes to the new virtual world. Your pre-boarding process needs to start as soon as the candidate has accepted the offer, with both the people/HR team and the line manager playing an active role in giving the individual relevant information, business context and above all a welcoming experience. Every person you hire is unique, so it is important to adapt your core processes by tailoring the experience based on the individual’s personality/interests, their role, and their specific circumstances.

And finally, the line manager needs to be held accountable throughout the process; ensuring they have regular communication with their new hire, introducing them to their team and other stakeholders, and setting clear expectations and a plan for the first 30/60/90 days. By following this advice you will increase the likelihood of new hires having a positive onboarding experience, which ultimately leads to a positive outcome for your business.”

Catch Charlotte and Chris’ top 3 onboarding tips here:

To watch the full footage from Workplace 2.0 (Virtual) Onboarding in 2021, click here.

For advice on engaging and retaining your best talent this year, talk to us. We’d be happy to guide you through the process. Find out more here.


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