Bringing new remote employees aboard should be a smooth and inviting endeavor. The way you welcome new members to your team plays a major role in whether the team will be cohesive or disjointed. Here are ideas for onboarding a remote workforce.
1. Offer extensive training to new members
Training new employees is crucial to maintaining a consistent staff, yet so many companies give this short shrift. For example, they’ll give people one or two weeks of training, when four to six would be much more grounding and effective. Often, the reason people quit after being hired is they don’t understand the work because it wasn’t presented to them clearly enough. Successful training includes instructors asking for feedback to make sure each individual understands their role and responsibilities. Moreover, this is a great excuse to have new hires meet various people in your company – the more the merrier. Because establishing enduring connections is often the number one reason employees tend to stay at a company.
2. Set up online meetings with small groups
Online video meetings are helpful to visually bringing a remote team together. Encourage some online meetings that are purely relationship-oriented. For example, pose questions that have people share their personal side (e.g., What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you? What’s the most interesting place you ever traveled to? What’s your worst traveling horror story? Etc.).
3. Encourage dinner/drink get-togethers
If you have multiple people who work remotely but live near each other (or live near to the company office), encourage them to get together outside of working ours for the pure purpose of socializing. For example, you might offer to cover dinner or drinks (to a reasonable maximum) whenever three or more people gather outside of work.
4. Create a visual, fun, online onboarding handbook
Most employee handbooks are so dry and boring, it’s a wonder anyone ever reads them. Why not turn this around by having a creative team (internal or external) find a way to make it graphical and entertaining. You can include fun videos of various team members introducing themselves and discussing the handbook items that are in their purview – but in short bursts. Include links for new hires to provide feedback or ask questions. And structure the whole thing to avoid information overload.
5. Engage new hires in an online games
Some employers use games such as scavenger hunts on their premises as a fun and refreshing onboarding technique. The same thing can be done virtually with the company’s website. Make a contest out of having new members search the site for answers to trivia questions about the company. Give prizes to those who can answer the most questions correctly. It will help accelerate the learning curve about the organization.
6. Offer Total Compensation Reports
Distributing total compensation reports allows employers to share what they are providing for employees beyond their base pay. Employers tend to take for granted that employees will understand the high value of their non-salary compensation, but many employees don’t realize the extent of it. This can help with retention – especially as many employees these days are turning to freelancing. But it’s not until they leave a job and are confronted by things like the high cost of health insurance, the extra cost of FICA, and the fact that they no longer are getting paid on holidays and during vacations, that some begin to appreciate just how good they had it working at your company.