Innovative Onboarding for a Remote Hire

By Kaitlin Hurtado on August 20, 2022

Onboarding a new hire can be a challenging process for any company as every situation has varying factors to consider. For many companies, onboarding is now done remotely after adopting a semi-permanent remote work practice due to the pandemic. Ideally, the onboarding process should be completed with no obstacles, but there always seems to be at least one thing slowing things down or causing some trouble along the way.

Not sure how you can improve the onboarding process? Keep reading for some ideas on innovative onboarding for a remote hire.

Photo: Pexels

Prepare a care package 

If you weren’t working remotely, you may have likely invited your new hire out for a welcome lunch or had an in-office breakfast to celebrate their new beginning. While you may not be able to welcome them via the usual lunch, you can send them a care package as a welcome to the company.

Prior to their start date, you can send a care package to their home. Depending on what line of work you are in, the care package can include the company’s product and give them the chance to experience the products firsthand. Or, you can send them goodies equipped with the company’s logos, from hoodies to tote bags.

Another thing you can do with a care package is send them things that would typically be supplied to them at the office, from sticky notes and pens to headsets and keyboards. Your new hire may not have their home office perfectly set up, and sending them equipment that can help perfect their WFH area can help prep them for success.

Designate a “mentor” for the new hire

In a typical office setting, it is easy for any employee to walk up to the new hire’s desk for a quick chat, or for the new hire to pop over to their coworker’s desk to ask a simple question. For remote hires, this type of contact is hard to come by. Sure, there’s the instant messaging system your team uses, but working up the nerve to message a coworker can be anxiety-inducing for some new hires.

Designating a single employee or two to “mentor” a remote hire through their onboarding can help the new hire get settled. While it may be easy to choose the new hire’s supervisor for the mentor role, you may want to consider selecting one of their peers or someone that is in a similar role to their coworker. Someone who understands the new hire’s tasks and can show them the ins and outs can be extremely beneficial and offer a lot more wisdom and comfort than someone who isn’t as familiar with what the new hire will be facing on a daily basis. Getting coworkers familiar with new hires early on can also make future remote collaboration easier.

If you are incorporating this approach into your onboarding process, make sure to take the selected mentor’s current workload into consideration. If you want them to be readily available for the hire’s questions, you may want to consider shifting their tasks or extending a deadline or two to give them more breathing room as they accept additional responsibility during onboarding.

Allow your new hire to “shadow” employees

Depending on the situation, your new hire may be completely new to the field you are working in. Creating opportunities for them to shadow existing employees during their onboarding process can help get them introduced to the field they are going to be working in and get a better grasp of their new coworkers.

While a mentor can shine light on the new hire’s day-to-day work, allowing your new hire to connect with other coworkers they may not interact with daily or share tasks allows them to network during their onboarding. In a typical office setting, in-person shadowing is easy to do. Remotely, it may be a bit difficult to navigate.

Have an employee prep a small presentation to give to the new hire, giving them insight into their own daily work, their journey with the company, and what they are currently working on. These small presentations can be completed via a one-on-one call and give the new hire the chance to ask any questions and connect with their new coworker one-on-one.

Offer one-on-one IT assistance

Unfortunately, one of the biggest obstacles many remote hires face is technology, whether it be logging on to their company-provided laptop to getting access to different tools they need for their daily work. Technological woes can be frustrating, especially when everyone just wants to hit the ground running. To prevent inevitable frustration, or minimize it, offer every new hire a session or direct contact with IT.

Have the IT tech walk them through setting up their accounts and double-check that all software/programs are working without any issues. Having direct contact with IT for their first few days can help new hires navigate any technology troubles and help them get to their actual training much quicker.

Onboarding can be frustrating for everyone involved, especially when completed remotely. With these ideas in mind, you can help streamline the process to help everyone involved.

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