How to on-board staff when working remotely
18th Mar 2020
We’ve all had to adapt to new ways of working with Covid-19 disrupting businesses and lives worldwide. When whole companies start working from home, many have to adapt to how to better communicate and continue to be productive in our jobs. It also means, just because we are working from home, doesn’t mean you can’t recruit. It takes months to build talent pipelines and if competitors are slowing down it can be a tremendous opportunity to attract outstanding candidates.
Corvus have developed a remote recruitment methodology which provides a platform for collaboration with key decision makers, including behavioural testing and video interviews which save time and money; called Corvus Assured.
Furthermore, we know it can be daunting to think of on-boarding a staff member, so we’ve put together this guide on how to on-board staff when most people are working remotely.
New employees that are put through a structured on-boarding program were 58% more likely to stay after 3 years. Using a structured process will ensure that new hires are up to speed on their role, your business, policies and projects. In addition, 91% of people believe they get more work done when they work remotely.
Does your new hire have access to all the equipment needed to do their job effectively? This can often be a problem if an employee is using an old laptop which is slow, or they don’t have the right software for the program you need to run. Getting set up can be half the battle and make life so much easier for the new hire when it runs smoothly.
If you can help in this process from sending new equipment or screen-sharing to help with set up, it can make a real difference to the new start becoming productive asap.
Using a tool like DocuSign can be really useful when trying to sign contracts quickly. Employees can add their signatures digitally and share contracts internally in a secure environment.
Have all company policies on a digital platform such as SharePoint which can be securely be accessed from any device.
Key documents to share with your new staff member:
- Company policies/procedures
- GDPR policy
- Social Media policy
- Contact details of all internal departments
It’s also important to cover projects, workflow, priorities and expectations, this could be in document or presentation form, but may be more effective when discussed over video chat or in a phone call.
Communication is key to every team but even more important when working remotely. Ensure new hires understand how to use your communication tools. Whether you’re collaborating via video chat, group chat, emails and phone calls, it’s essential they are kept up to date. Over communication is recommended to ensure they feel they’re involved and understand what is going on in current projects and what they are meant to be doing.
Putting together a communication schedule such as every morning everyone catches up on a video conference and then continues to talk via email or Microsoft Teams for the rest of the day could be very important to maintain constant communication.
Click here to learn more about how to stay connected with your team when working remotely
Stack overflow discuss their remote on-boarding process:
“We take on-boarding very seriously. Every new hire in the company goes through a series of orientation calls with each member of the executive team, where they hear about our company history, culture, goals and structure. Within the engineering team, all new hires are assigned a mentor who guides them through a six-week on-boarding process where they meet people from different parts of the engineering team and learn about our culture and processes.”
If training is required on a specific system or product, most training topics are best explained through videos. We recommend pre-recording training sessions as well as talking things through over a video call.
In addition, to reinforce the training, follow up after each training session to answer questions.
Whoever the new hire will be reporting to should set specific goals and expectations to keep the new hire motivated. Developing a task calendar after on-boarding will be important for monitoring their progress and maintain collaboration over time.
Scheduling weekly one-to-one meetings to discuss progress, resolve potential issues and setting short-term and long-term goals.
Ensure that team members can support new staff members when they have questions or even for general chat. Starting a new job can be an exciting time, it’s important they feel support via instant messenger, email, and calls, especially during the early part of on-boarding.
At Corvus, we have video call meetings at 09:15 & 16:00 to keep the team connected & engaged. On a Friday, at 16:00 we all have a virtual drink together (tea/beer/wine/whiskey, whatever floats your boat). This routine and constant communication maintains great teamwork and communication when working remotely.
You could even consider online team-buildings, this could be playing a game online or hosting an online quiz in a video conference. You can be creative!
Pairing your new staff member up with a peer-to-peer mentorship can make a significant impact on their on-boarding. Have a designated person to help in the initial on-boarding period can help streamline any questions the new staff member has and is able to guide them through projects they are currently working on.
Tools to help on-boarding staff
There are tools available to help with on-boarding to streamline the process, improve communication and manage projects.
Kin is a new hire on-boarding software that creates a personalised welcome page for each new hire that links them to tasks, paperwork, and workplace details like location, start time, and team member bios. This could be useful to streamline the hiring process.
Learn more about Kin
Trello is used for task-based communication.
You use it to organise “cards” into lists—these cards can be projects, notes, memos, shared files, or anything else that helps your team work together. It’s extremely handy for online effective project management, you gain full visibility over all tasks in a project and have flexibility to rearrange them as your priorities change. You can collaborate with team members on this board.
Learn more about Trello
SharePoint is a document management and collaboration tool developed by Microsoft. It's basically an intranet and content management system that is used for internal purposes to assist with bringing an organisation together.
Learn more about Sharepoint
Microsoft Teams makes it easy to Instantly go from group chat to video conference with the touch of a button. Teams of 10 or 10,000 can meet in one place, no matter how many places they’re in. You can use the group chat feature for private 1-to-1 conversations, specific team chats or for company wide conversations. There are increased collaboration opportunities, you can access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real time. Planner is an excellent tool as well to assign & track tasks and stay organised.
You can also add in other apps to increase productivity such as Trello. I personally like that my calendar is interlinked into the app so I can quickly check my schedule during a conversation with a colleague.
Learn more about Microsoft Teams here.
There are many other communication platforms which are great for remote working such as Slack. Slack also helps team communication and collaborate in one place, it’s good for both a large enterprise and a small business. You can create to-do list and continue working on projects by bringing the right people, conversations, tools and information you need together. Slack is available on any device as well; you can message or call any person or group within your team. You can video call groups of up to 15 people.
• Share and edit documents a in Slack
• Integrate the tools and services you already use into your workflow, including Google Drive, Salesforce, Dropbox, Asana, Twitter, Zendesk and more
• Easily search a central knowledge base that automatically indexes and archives your team’s past conversations and files
• Customise your notifications so you stay focused on what matters
Learn more about Slack here
Overall, communication, structure, trust and collaboration are essential for a successful on-boarding process. Working from home means adapting to the situation and using online tools to do things we would usually do in person. If you have any questions about remotely recruiting, please get in touch on 028 9091 8529 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to find out how to avoid getting cabin fever
Click here to find out how to stay connected to your team when working remotely