When you’re growing your team remotely, it presents a set of challenges, including, HOW to make your new employees feel welcome in an online environment. After all, this is new to all of us and there isn't a simple guide with answers. It may feel a bit like going from level 3 to level 30 in one swift movement.
Mistakes may seem unavoidable (and are ok!), however, this article will help you focus your on-boarding efforts on the four key areas to avoid any major mistakes and to make sure every new joiner feels trusted, valued, and committed to your company.
1. Create an Effective Induction (Onboarding Experience)
Creating a suitable and engaging induction for your new employee is hard to achieve online, it can easily become overwhelming with meetings, new software, and limited social interaction.
Ensuring that you provide new employees with the relevant information regarding their role, expectations, your company cultures and values, software, health and safety and many more, can seem almost impossible to achieve.
Stripping it back to the most important details, making the induction as role-specific and tailored toward the employee as possible, will help you create an engaging and welcoming induction.
Remember, some things can be covered at other points during the first few days, it does not have to be an avalanche of information!
Re-evaluating the quality and practicality of your inductions, and their compatibility with remote working is especially important.
If a new employee feels as though the induction was rushed, uninformative, or unproductive, they’ll probably feel less excited about the job and, in turn, may not stay with you in the long term or provide you with their best work.
Contrastingly, arranging the information in a clear, accessible, and simplistic way can provide a new employee with the perfect foundation to build their place in the company, settle into their new role, and start work.
Feeling welcomed in this way will encourage an optimistic, committed attitude that will be far more productive!
Making these changes may seem daunting, but it’s doable and can have a vast impact on the employee’s perception of your business.
2. Encourage Social Links
The most common issue raised with remote working is loneliness, and therefore the impact that it can have on one’s mental health.
This is only worsened for people entering new companies, where they do not have the social links that come with an office environment.
Providing opportunities for social interactions and building those relationships that would usually be formed in the office, is key. For example, arranging short, regular ‘catch-up’ meetings with your employees can enable you to learn a bit about them. Encouraging regular communication with other employees is also important, following up on emails, reaching out and suggesting some out-of-hours social activities to get to know other members of the team.
It is important that the employee feels included and comfortable reaching out to others, putting themselves forward and making an effort. They are far more likely to create these bonds despite the lack of physical socialisation.
Consider facilitating a buddy-up programme with relevant team members and walk-and-talk activities connecting more people and helping to build new bonds.
By being proactive in this, employees can begin to form relationships with other members of the team from the get-go, and continue to positively engage with the work, workplace, and counteract this feeling of loneliness that is so prominent in the remote working world.
This also promotes better mental health as they feel a sense of belonging, form a support network, and are less likely to burn out or feel lonely.
3. Supply Necessary Equipment and Access to Support
One of the biggest issues with remote working can be internet access, and maintaining a strong network connection throughout meetings. Ensuring that new members of your team have access to up-to-date technology and reliable software will enable them to work more productively, and prevents these issues before they arise.
Additionally, doing this makes the employee feel valued and encourages them to stay productive and committed from the start.
Ergonomic issues are also on the rise, with people working at tables of the wrong height, or on unsupportive chairs. So, much like with the technology, making sure that your employees are well supplied for, when needed, can increase productivity hugely and prevent ergonomic issues before they progress.
Furthermore, providing desks, chairs, laptop stands, etc. creates a designated workspace for your employee and will help them to separate their work and home lives, and therefore have a positive impact on their mental health, as this is another growing issue with remote working.
Alongside this, providing clear mental health support networks is increasingly important with remote working, as people’s body language and mood can easily be hidden. Making a new employee feel supported and valued is of high importance.
4. Set Expectations & Trust your Employee
Be sure to arrange when and how you will be checking in with your employees!
Have a general schedule and make it clear the best way to reach you, and how soon to expect a response. Do not leave them in the dark and, in turn, they will be open with you about any issues, questions, and uncertainties they may have.
Similarly, ensure they have links to all the relevant support contacts (wellbeing, IT, HR, etc.) in case they ever need them - those contacts need to be there and accessible from day one!
There can feel as though there is less communication and structure when working remotely, so ensure that this communication does not suffer. However, if you make new employees feel that they are being overly supervised, it can be perceived as a lack of trust and can have a negative impact on their work.
Mastering this balance is not easy!
So, communicating with your team and understanding what system will work best for each member can be extremely beneficial here, speaking to new members and finding out how they would like to feedback and keep track of progress can begin to build that sense of trust that is imperative with remote working.
Do you need help with building your remote programme and setting up the induction both from the tech and people angle - get in touch to see how we can help.
What if HR designs employee experiences and creates compliant and engaging workplaces for early-stage businesses. We do this by bringing together top Experts from relevant business areas and making it easy to work with them on-demand.