Remote working is great for companies and employees alike, including a host of benefits for each party. However, when remote employees are just starting out at a company, the excitement can fall flat. They got the job – that’s great – but then they look around to only see their cat staring at them through judgemental eyes that they woke her up.
It can go from a major life event (especially if it’s a career change or their first official ‘grown-up’ job) to a ‘ho-hum’ email without much pomp and circumstance.
Usually when starting a new job in an office, they get the big tour, the swag bag, and a week’s worth of scheduled lunches for meeting and greeting those around them.
But when remote, they can feel rather unseen and as ‘just another person’ in the mix.
As a People Operations team member, you definitely don’t want them starting out on such a disappointing foot! Here are some things you can do to Onboard a New Hire Remote Employee.
We all love free stuff & receiving gifts!
That’s why sending a box of swag is one of the first things you should do to help welcome your new remote employee. They want to feel included, and having the same brand to display on a water bottle or t-shirt, or yes, even a mousepad is one step towards making them a part of the team. It helps them feel a little more official and is a great way for starting out with a little excitement to ramp them up through their first few weeks.
Communicate, and then communicate more.
Nothing is worse than wondering ‘what’s next?” when you’re starting a new job.
There should be no doubt in your new hire’s mind as to what the next steps are, from filling out paperwork to logging on for the first time.
Make sure you send over a bulleted list of steps they should take, or even calendar appointments for meetings and due dates coming up in the future. They should understand that when their big first day arrives, you’re not waiting on them to submit anything and that you’re eager for them to start.
Have others chime in.
Since your new hire will more than likely be joining a team, make sure their manager takes steps to reach out and welcome them, as well.
A casual meet-and-greet via video conference is a great way to have them see everyone’s faces, and feel like more than just an email address.
It’s also good to have others share things about themselves, like a quirk, or their hobbies so relationships can begin to take shape. After all, you want them around for a while, so go ahead and nurture those first conversations.
Ensure access to proper working conditions.
You should make sure they have access to an ergonomic workstation and all of the proper requirements they need before they begin working. If you’re shipping hardware, make sure it will arrive by their first day, so they can work on setting things up early and let you know if they are missing parts or have concerns.
Technical setup can be difficult for some people, so make sure they have access to videos from your IT department or Operations team on how to troubleshoot issues they may be having.
It may be worth even scheduling a live call with an associate to walk them through their issues on the spot.
Make sure they’re set up for success.
Do a little work beforehand to make sure the person responsible for setting them up on group chat or conferencing tools has that ready and done by the time they start.
You don’t want their boss emailing during their first big meeting on why they’ve not joined the call – and it’s because they don’t have the proper access. Plus, it makes them feel like you’ve been expecting them and value their time.
Your technical aide should send instructions, as well, on how to access and log into each system so they’re not left fumbling through the internet.
One of the most crucial things you can do is make sure to set expectations as they’re beginning. This should come from you, for what they can expect from the company (i.e. manuals, when they’ll get paid, etc) and also their manager, for communication preferences, expectations around meetings, and more.
Again, they should feel comfortable easing into their first week, and not stumbling through mistake after mistake, worrying if they’ve left a terrible impression on their new team.
Have a way, as well, to double check their manager has done what they’re supposed to do, as it can be easy to forget in the hustle and bustle. If a new person is being hired, it’s more than likely because things have been a little overwhelming, so it’s not uncommon for managers to drop the ball here.
New Hires bring energy to the company and can breathe new life into things that have fallen stagnant, so you want that energy to be positive and strong, especially in the beginning.
Doing what you can to make those first steps smooth is a great way to carry that progress forward.