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So, you’ve made it through the remote interview process, found your perfect candidate and they’re all set to join you. But how on earth are you supposed to onboard effectively for the first time? How can you ensure your new starter has everything they need – from equipment to support – to successfully integrate them into the team?
Successful remote onboarding requires collaboration and co-ordination throughout the business. From organising equipment with IT and a courier to deliver it, to drawing up induction plans with HR and department heads, remember you don’t have the same interactivity as when you’re based in the same office. Ensure you understand exactly what new starters need to maximise their success and who needs to be involved in order for them to get it!
Don’t treat the period between offer and start date as dead time; keep in touch with your new recruit and begin slowly integrating them into the team. If possible, organise a remote welcome drink with their colleagues and send any welcome packs you would usually present on arrival out ahead of time. Onboarding remotely can be daunting, so the sooner your new recruit feels part of the team, the better.
Integrating your applicant tracking system (ATS) with your learning management system (LMS) is a great way to speed up the onboarding process and help your new recruit acclimatise to your internal systems and technology. Your recruitment software and LMS can take care of a good chunk of the onboarding process, from sending welcome messages from your organisation’s CEO to getting your successful candidate up and running with their compliance training.
Office culture makes it easy to introduce new team members to the wider organisation, with informal introductions organically happening in kitchens and corridors. Working remotely reduces this exposure, and it is not ideal for new starters if their first exchange with a colleague is asking for a favour or information. Organise informal meetings or exchanges with everyone you envisage your new recruit working with – a ten–minute call should do it – to avoid awkwardness down the line.
As the world adjusts to this new way of working, every business is different. Whether you’re an emails-only company, with access to MS Teams for casual chats, or one where 99% of business exchanges take place on Slack, make sure your new hires are made aware of that, and be honest! There is no right or wrong way of working from home, but clarity of different working practices from day one will help your new starters bed in quickly and comfortably and avoid awkward exchanges.
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all process; every business and every candidate is different, but it is always important to be mindful that regardless of how thoroughly you emulate a ‘normal’ induction programme, things are different for remote onboarding. Stay agile and constantly ask for feedback to ensure you’re giving the best possible experience to the whole team, not just new recruits.