One of the primary goals of traditional onboarding for new employees is to help these new hires acclimate to the professional expectations of their new work environment and quickly become part of – and add to – company culture. If this is done successfully, these newcomers feel comfortable and supported enough to perform to the best of their ability during their time as an employee.
The goals of remote onboarding for employees do not necessarily differ from those of traditional onboarding; it’s rather the approach that’s different, as digital plays a larger role than those in-person interactions.
Considering recent events, more companies are choosing to hire remote workers, whether they’ll be working remote fully or part-time. However, many HR professionals are challenged to develop an onboarding process for their virtual employees that is equivalent to their standard onboarding procedure.
Remember, remote hires who live in different locations or even time zones haven’t had the advantage of in-person meetings, which presents some disadvantages, like the warmth and approachability we lose out on when we can’t shake hands, or make real eye contact, or pick up on tone, context and nuance from expressions or voices. Also, it can be difficult for remote workers to adjust to the company’s culture and gain both the official and non-official knowledge about how things get done at the company – things you just “pick up” when you’re in the kitchen with colleagues, casually making coffee and interacting naturally. These easy, thoughtless transfers of information are especially difficult if your new remote workers aren’t used to a remote environment.
Each employee should be given the same opportunity to learn and grow from his or her onboarding experience, so how can you standardize the onboarding process for all employees for your virtual employees to be onboarded swiftly and smoothly, despite everything being virtual?
Before we jump into some examples, let’s review the business impact of an employee onboarding program.