Hiring virtual employees has become the new norm. This means that a positive onboarding process is more crucial than ever. Obviously, an effective onboarding process is essential if you want to give your new employees a big warm welcome, but how do you achieve this when your new recruits are based at home?
In this post we’re going to give you the low-down on how to optimise your current strategy. The goal is to ensure you give your new virtual team members everything they need to feel comfortable and go on to progress professionally and socially in their new roles. And, of course, we want to make sure you have a good employee retention rate.
Welcoming a new (remote) team member
Step 1: Welcome email
First and foremost, send your new recruit a friendly welcome message to set the tone for future communications and give them a general overview of the company culture.
This email should include some key information such as their start date, perhaps essential account logins, and your expectations of their job role.
More importantly though, this email is about generating excitement. You’ll be able to cover any admin in more detail later, so for now keep it concise, but be sure to let them know that you’re optimistic about them joining you. This is a good time to also set up the details of the next stage which we’re going to cover next – a video chat.
Step 2: Video chat
With your new employee missing out on the usual face-to-face welcome, it’s crucial that you utilise video conferencing. This medium allows employees to make eye contact and observe facial expressions which are important in building interpersonal relationships.
Have a direct manager or someone from human resources schedule a video call with them and use this time to welcome them face-to-face. Allow them to ask questions, and walk them through the onboarding process, i.e. what they can expect over the coming weeks.
Again, make sure to express excitement about them joining the team.
Step 3: Meeting the team members
A significant aspect of joining a new team is of course, actually joining the team. With your new employee(s) working from home, they’re going to miss out on the all important social aspect of meeting their fellow work members. But, you can fix this. It’s crucial that these relationships build if you want a cohesive workforce and to ensure no-body feels isolated. So, utilise team chat apps such as Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, or Slack. There are so many out there and they’re a great way to facilitate team communication.
You should also encourage your existing team members to reach out to their new co-worker(s) and send their own, less formal, welcome messages.
Step 4: Pair them with a mentor
Working from home can be isolating and asking questions can seem intimidating. To counter this, assign your new team member a mentor that can act as their first port of call for questions and guidance. Make sure it’s someone senior with enough knowledge and experience to be able to answer any queries, and is able to set aside an hour a week for a meeting, preferably via video conference.
Step 5: Maintenance
This final step is about maintenance. Once your new employee has been sufficiently welcomed to the team, it can be easy to lose momentum and forget to check in with them. Encourage all employees to keep utilising the team chat apps, make sure the mentor-mentee relationship is a good match – if not, assign them someone else, you might also want to hold a daily zoom chat for everyone on the team to check-in.
If you’d like some more advice on how to make a new remote employee feel welcome, contact a member of our team here.