Remote Work is trending right now — and rightly so. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to disrupt business operations, companies have had to innovate and radically change the way they function and come up with new strategies to hire and onboard new hires.

The number of remote hires has been on a significant rise. Research indicates that hiring managers anticipate approximately 38% of full time employees will be working remotely in the next ten years. Nearly 57% of companies have incorporated a formal policy for hiring and allowing employees to work away from the office setup. This brings up the challenge of designing an onboarding process for remote employees that address employees working from remote locations.

Different locations and time zones make it difficult for employees to engage in a structured onboarding programs meant for regular employees. Productivity could get affected owing to the longer time taken for remote employees to grasp how things are done in the new company.

Here are some best practices to consider while developing an onboarding process suited for remote employees:

  • Share the onboarding process structure – As soon as the employee signs the intent of joining, you can share the outline of the onboarding process as well as what to expect. Keep it organized and simple to follow through. Cover points that need to be addressed prior to the actual joining of the remote hire. This may include a welcome letter, compensation and statutory paperwork as well as what to expect in the onboarding process. The outline of the onboarding process could be shared so that the remote employee is on page with you.
  • Establish a Face – to Face connect – Through video conference or other means, it is best to establish a face to face connect. It is ideal if the remote employee can visit the headquarters in the first week of employment.
  • Establish connection with team and related systems and departments – Making this connect is crucial for the remote employee to start work and getting productive. It is best if the employee can make this connect through video conferencing. You can also conduct a virtual walk through office meeting coworkers and related departments, and a virtual tour of the office premises.
  • Make it fun and welcoming – Keep the welcome fun and engaging. A customized welcome gift could be included.
  • Assign a virtual buddy – Assigning a buddy for the first week or first month would be helpful. The buddy could hand hold the remote employee in doubts relating to work as well as the work culture.
  • Communicate expectations from the start – Communication is a challenge with remote employees. Hence greater attention must be paid to ensure that the employee has understood his role as well as the expectations from him.
  • Impart company ethos and culture – Employee work better once they have grasped their work environment. The culture and ethos of a company can be communicated through mailers, emails, company paraphernalia and video interactions.
  • Create a system for feedback – The onboarding process must provide for the employee to respond and provide feedback for the entire process.
  • Systemic processes for improving the onboarding process – Continually improving and working on the feedback received on the onboarding process would ensure that a better and more efficient system is in place.