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Onboarding remotely: Mapping out an employee induction

Are you looking to make the shift to onboarding remotely? In the Robert Walters remote onboarding series, we support employers looking to attract, engage and introduce talent from their homes during turbulent times.

Your new hire is geared up to start, but what will their induction look like? Providing a structure will be crucial to ensure a smooth onboarding - here’s our top tips to map out their first few weeks in their digital office.

Formally introduce

Where relevant, send out an email to the wider company (or appropriate teams) introducing your new starter. In the communication, include some information about the individuals career background, what they will be focussing on in the business, and something personal which people can then use as an e-conversation starter – such as ‘dog lover’, ‘keen traveller’ or ‘jujitsu medallist’ – and crucially, include the new starters email in the body of the text.

Create an induction timeline

Provide a sense of routine from the outset by sending an itinerary for the first couple of weeks including training sessions, one-to-ones and time to work on specified tasks. The first week is about easing them in and getting them up to speed quickly, so it’s important to have some initial and immediate workload, on top of the training and introductions. 

Send diary invites for everything you schedule in to help your new hire structure their day.

Schedule team meetings and one-to-ones

Celebrate your new addition to the team with an informal team call. Make this a social call – it’s more about putting names to faces and breaking the ice than assigning tasks.

Schedule one-to-ones with individual team members and stakeholders to talk over more specific responsibilities and provide training using screen-sharing technology such as Skype or Microsoft Teams.

Develop a training programme

Think about all the processes you may need to provide training on to support your new recruit in performing their job. This may include things you deal with as they come up in an office setting, such as accessing the company intranet, accessing templates and key files, or bookmarking sites they will use on a regular basis.

Set daily expectations

Set clear, daily expectations during calls so the employee knows what to focus on throughout the day and can plan out their activities. As time goes on and your new recruit will have built more understanding and naturally will have become more autonomous. As a result, you’ll find these check-in meetings will become less frequent, but more productive and efficient.

Create a feedback loop

Digital onboarding is a learning curve for all parties, so there are bound to be teething issues when implementing it for the first time.

After week one, be sure to ask your new team member what can be improved. Perhaps they could have benefited from a more organised system, or would have appreciated fewer meetings and more down time to get settled in. It’s important to take into consideration how different personality types may react to a novel situation, and you won’t be able to improve your process if you don’t ask.

Make them feel supported

From checking in regularly, providing mentorship, to creating a safe space for honest and relaxed communication, you need to provide support in every sense to help your new recruit to reach that familiarity and level of comfort that organically occurs in an office environment.

Digital onboarding is a learning curve for all parties, so there are bound to be teething issues when implementing it for the first time. If you want to learn more about remote onboarding, watch our on-demand webinar where we discuss principles, practices, and tips for how hiring managers can make the shift to onboarding remotely.

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