Many businesses want to appeal to a younger and more flexible generation of workers, so they are offering remote opportunities. Onboarding remote employees is different from onboarding in-person team members. Employers must embrace technology, such as using a virtual office background and project management software.
Also, employers should reconsider traditional onboarding strategies. While the basics of an onboarding program may remain similar to traditional plans, greater focus should be applied to communication and transparency. Team leaders should focus on five areas when onboarding remote employees.
1. Setting Clear Expectations
Remote workers do not have the luxury of an office setting or the presence of a manager on location. From day one, they must understand their role in the company and on the team.
As a manager or team leader, you define each team member’s role. You must explain critical expectations and ensure team members understand. Handing out a packet and leaving employees to their own devices is not enough. Leaders must communicate expectations directly and allow employees to reach out with questions.
2. Communicating Regularly
In an office setting, it is often enough for a team leader or manager to be in the room with their team. Their presence is a form of reassurance to the team. Unfortunately, remote workers do not have as much accessibility to team leads.
Leaders must make themselves available and specify communication channels. All team members should have your email and phone number. They should also know when your hours are.
You can also schedule weekly meetings and regular check-ins. The more you can communicate with your team, the more members feel connected.
3. Provide Tech and Training
How does your team connect? Do they use Zoom with office backgrounds or Microsoft Teams for weekly meetings?
New remote employees must understand and have access to the same tech the entire team uses. As the manager, you supply download and access instructions to each new team member. Also, if the new employee is not familiar with the tech or software used by the team, you must help them receive the training they need.
4. Provide a Mentor
Managers and team leaders do not always have enough time to focus on and work with each individual team member, especially on a daily basis. When a position requires a lot of training and communication, it is often best to use a mentor for onboarding.
A mentor is a longstanding and exemplary team member. They can help the new remote worker through basic training and be the member’s contact during the initial onboarding phase.
5. Encourage Connection
Teams require cohesion. To build a cohesive and respectful team, a leader must focus on developing connections within the unit. Common virtual office backgrounds for weekly meetings can help members feel a part of a unit. Ensuring the team has time to connect beyond projects and professionalism helps develop genuine feelings of trust and friendship.
Onboarding remote workers is similar to onboarding in-person workers, but the primary focus must be transparency and communication. If you want more advice about working and managing a remote team, contact a business management professional.