Onboarding your new team member… remotely

Sep 21, 2020

Welcome to the team! Please stay away.

After the arduous journey of securing budget, advertising, interviewing and hiring a new employee, the last thing you want is for them to leave. Unfortunately, that is often the case with one third of new employees searching for a new job within six months, and 25% leaving before the year is up.

Regardless of industry, the process of welcoming and orienting a new hire is integral to building engagement and loyalty, as well as providing the practical access and information required to do their job. Yet research from CareerBuilder indicated that 36% of organisations do not have a structured onboarding process in place.

Now thanks to the recent swing to remote working, there are new challenges to welcoming a new starter. Onboarding new team members without ever meeting them face to face is a process most of us have never had to consider. How to make them feel welcome? Help them connect with the team? Provide practical support for setting up a workstation and communication channels?
The right answers will differ according to role, but some elements will apply to the majority of successful onboarding efforts.

1. Checklists

It may seem bureaucratic, but checklists make life easier. Set one up in Planner and work through it for each new starter to ensure things don’t get missed because you aren’t walking past their desk each day.

2. Automated processes

The collection of information such as taxation, superannuation, important dates etc is an obvious candidate for automation. Digitising this process reduces errors and missed information, and eases the workload for busy managers, allowing them to focus on more personal elements of onboarding. Technical onboarding elements such as system access, hardware allocation and Group membership are also easily accomplished with a Power Automate flow.

3. Get social

A formally organised social video catch up helps everyone get to know each other. People can feel nervous about proactively organising social events when they first start, and a regular Teams meeting lunch that is already part of the work week takes the pressure off. WebVine do it every Tuesday and it’s always a good laugh. A public welcome on the digital workplace home page and quick video chat with the MD or COO is also a worthwhile investment, showing your new team member that they are visible, and valued.

4. Technical help

It’s all well and good having a Teams lunch and a chat, but if your new hire is frustrated by technical issues, they will be on Seek before you can say “turn it off and back on again.” Provide them with comprehensive self-help information and responsive technical support and make sure they know how to access it.

5. Training

With limited face to face time, it’s essential that training be delivered effectively via user-friendly and engaging training materials. Videos, product demos, product information wikis, recordings of previous town halls… ideally presented in a logical order via your intranet. In a perfect world, compliance topics like security and physical safety training would also record consumption and acknowledgement with reminders for those not yet completed.

6. Free stuff

It doesn’t all have to be digital. A welcome pack – delivered on time – is a lovely way to welcome a new person and communicate your culture. Water bottle, coffee cup, headphones, t-shirt, gift card, cupcakes… it’s even better of you can include a signed note from the team. When we have a birthday or new starter at WebVine, we collect messages from the team which are then written into a card and popped in the post.

Every dollar or hour you invest into onboarding your new team member will be repaid tenfold as they settle in to become a productive, valuable member of the team. For more ideas about how your Digital Workplace can help with onboarding and promoting your company culture throughout the organisation, please Get in touch.

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