Delivering remote onboarding whilst working remotely!

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What a strange situation we find ourselves in. It’s one thing onboarding remotely when most of the team sits in the office – it’s a different ball game when your whole workforce is remote!

Whilst some of our clients are having to put their recruitment on hold, many are finding that the finance roles they are hiring for are still business critical. Our team at Altum Consulting is highly experienced in supporting a virtual recruitment process, which has been of great benefit to our clients, but when it comes to onboarding, our clients are having to completely adapt their usual process in order to deliver a positive new joiner experience.

To support our wider network with adapting their processes we spoke to a few of our clients about their best practices for onboarding remotely, here are their top tips:

Set-Up:

Starting a new job is daunting at the best of times so ensuring your new joiner receives clear communication and all the necessary technology and resources prior to their start date will set a tone of success for the coming weeks.

  • Ensure necessary technology is delivered ahead of start date
  • First day introduction conducted by IT
  • If they are using their own device, make sure email accounts and all logins for accessing online shared spaces are set-up ahead of time and clearly communicated
  • Pre-populate calendar to include all new joiner activities

The Children’s Society: All new joiners have had requisite technology sent to their home address with clear set up instructions.  The technology and data team has organised a daily ‘surgery’, which is a drop-in meeting to support both new and existing colleagues with their technology and improving the use of various applications.

Article 19: As well as all the usual set-up, we created a brief induction summary document to act as a quick reference guide that contained all the relevant information for our new joiner, including: communication & access platforms with URL and log-in details, the team structure displaying names and job titles, and details of thematic teams and team leads who our new starter will be business partnering.

Welcome:

First impressions count! Each company has its own way of welcoming a new joiner to the team and company, this should continue remotely. Face-to-face interactions are especially important whilst the teams are working remotely – utilise technology to facilitate this.

  • Welcome with manager
  • Meet the team
  • Announce new starter to the company
  • Hold daily catch ups

The Children’s Society: We held a virtual welcome event for new joiners, having previously delivered it in person.  This included an introduction from the CEO, Mark Russell with a Q&A session. It was a great opportunity for Mark to bring our values to life and for new starters to get to know both him and the organisation better.

Expectations & Support:

Onboarding employees with a clear picture of their responsibilities is the basis for successful hires. Setting expectation with the new starter regarding communication, role, training, reviews, and milestones will ensure everyone knows what is required of them. It also allows for the new joiner to know when to flag they need support if they are struggling to meet the expectations set out.

The wider team plays a large support role for the new joiner - it is key to set expectations with their team about the remote support required from them.

Blue Ventures: We set clear terms of reference for role, and managed expectations both internally and with the new joiner. It is important to get the balance between having active faith in the employee that they deliver, and more proactively monitoring progress and providing support where needed.

Article 19: We have been very clear with our new joiner regarding our expectations as well as the support that can be expected from us. We are taking a structured approach in handing over responsibilities and monitoring progress in weekly 1-2-1’s as well and more informal discussions. It is important for any new joiner to have access to necessary resources to allow independent working in order to build confidence.

Building the team & culture:

During this time of uncertainty, it is vital to establish your new joiner within your team and instil the company culture, if this is done well it will ease the transition (whenever it happens) back into the usual work setting. Suggestions we have gathered from clients:

  • Coaching / Mentoring / Buddy Scheme
  • Virtual drinks
  • Virtual coffees
  • Virtual social events
  • Virtual exercise clubs
  • Q&A sessions with leadership
  • Weekly newsletters

Article 19: We are currently in an unprecedented situation and as a company we understand the pressures this can put on our employees. We have organised several workshops for employees including, how to manage stress and how managers can support their direct reports. We are also sharing wellbeing related tools and are being more flexible during this period to give employees the freedom to plan their working days to suit individual needs. These measures are supporting us with building our team and instilling our values and cultures remotely.

Adjust and Adapt:

As with any process, virtually onboarding new joiners requires constant evaluation to identify what is working and what can be done better in order to adapt.  As you would for an in-person process, you need to adapt each onboarding to the individual.

With the technology available today, there is no reason for new joiners onboarding remotely to feel unwelcomed by the business. It’s vital to make their first encounters with the company positive and memorable, even if they have never set foot in the office or met anyone in-person.