Rodney Laws May 31st, 2021

Is There An Easier Way To Onboard New Staff Remotely?

Growing your team is an exciting time, but if you’re trying to onboard your new staff remotely it can be a challenge.

It can be harder to tell how they’re doing and there’s less opportunity for casual introductions and informal meetings when you’re not in the same place. So it’s important to find ways to bring new staff up to speed, engage them with the work, and make them feel like part of the team.

In this article, we take a look at ways in which you can improve your onboarding process for new remote staff.

Set them up with the right equipment 

The first step towards effectively onboarding your new team members is to set them up for success. Provide all the equipment and resources that they might need so that there’s nothing holding them back from doing their job well. 

You shouldn’t be asking staff to use their own personal computers and phones. Not only are there security issues with employees using their own devices, but they might not be suitable for the work you’re asking them to do. And you want to help your employees create a clear line between work and home life, which is harder if they’re handling client calls on their personal cell at all hours of the day. 

Aside from the essentials, go above and beyond by providing all the extra little bits they might need such as: 

  • A suitable desk chair 
  • Second computer screen 
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Notepads, pens, diaries

All these things are going to make new staff feel valued and like you’re investing in them, which will boost their engagement

Collate essential resources 

When you’re working remotely and most things are online, it’s easy to end up with different documents and files stored in various places or shared via different channels. But to help your new team get up to speed quickly, make sure that you centralize all the key resources and information that they’re going to need. 

If you don’t have one already then using an intranet system could be a good idea. Choose one like Happeo that’s specifically designed for remote businesses — as you can see in these reviews it’s a more versatile platform than other intranets and can be tailored to your exact requirements.

Put together a list of all the essential systems and tools that your business uses. This will include everything from email, instant messaging, and cloud storage to more specific tools like project management and time tracking. Run through this list before they start to ensure they’re set up with accounts. And then put together an outline of what each thing is used for, how to get started, and their login details.

Create comprehensive training courses

It’s important to train your new staff in a coherent and organized way so that they feel like they know what they’re doing. 

When you’re working remotely it can be easy to forget to show new staff everything. You can show them the basics but there are likely to be certain processes or little things that you just do as a habit that you don’t think to share with them.

The best way to overcome this is to create a training course that teaches them all the specifics they will need to know about how your business works and what they have to do. Work with other team members to pin down exactly how each process runs or how you use different software to do the job and provide them with all the details they need for their day-to-day work. 

You can use a platform like Teachable to create a bespoke training course that covers exactly what you need. From reading teachable reviews you can see that it’s more user-friendly than traditional learning management systems, which will help you to put together a course that engages and inspires your new staff.

Set out clear expectations

Remote working is often more flexible than if you’re working in an office, but you need to clearly outline exactly what that means for new staff. If you are offering flexible hours then there are a few things you should clarify:

  • Do you expect them to pick hours that work for them and then stick with the same hours each day?
  • Do you have core hours that you expect your team to be available for?
  • Are there other team members that your new staff needs to coordinate their hours with?
  • How do you accommodate things like appointments or childcare?
  • Are there any expectations to work overtime and how is this handled?

Using a time tracking system is going to be a good idea to track your remote team as it grows. For example, tools like Toggl make it easier to monitor working hours and let you see how long projects and tasks are taking. 

You should outline other expectations such as targets that you expect them to meet, how long certain tasks should take them if you have tight deadlines, and the exact responsibilities of their role.

It’s also important to cover things like how to communicate internally, especially if you’re using multiple channels such as instant messaging, email, video calls, and phone calls. Make it clear which ones you want staff to use, and how to escalate any important or urgent issues.

Setting out expectations and procedures from the beginning will ensure that your staff knows exactly what to do and how to do it.

Introduce them to everyone

It’s especially hard to get to know everyone when you’re starting a job remotely, but at the same time setting up a company-wide video call to introduce them might be overwhelming. Make a plan for your new staff to meet everyone gradually in the first week or two, whether it’s in small team meetings or one-to-one meetings in a smaller business.

Assign one person to look after your new staff for the first month so that they have enough support and know who to go to with questions. Organize regular check-ins with them at the end of each day for the first week, and then once or twice the following weeks so that they aren’t left wondering or worrying about anything.

Overall, to make it easier to onboard new staff remotely, you just need to put together a clear plan so that they know what they’re doing and feel like part of the team. Focus on getting them up to speed as quickly as possible, provide all the resources they’ll need, and get them working as soon as possible.

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

Rodney Laws

Rodney Laws is an ecommerce platform specialist and online business consultant. He’s worked in the ecommerce industry for nearly two decades, helping brands big and small achieve their business goals. You can get his advice for free by visiting EcommercePlatforms.io and reading his detailed reviews. For more tips and advice, reach out to Rodney on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.

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