What was your onboarding process when you started your current job? Was it comprehensive? Did anyone welcome you? Did you get an employee handbook? Or were you thrown into the deep end without a paddle? Considering Gallup reports that only 12 percent of employees feel their organizations do onboarding well, the odds are strong that you either had a poor or no onboarding process at all. Now add the element of remote work into your organizational mix. You’ll soon see whether new folks decide to stick it out or jump ship before their first performance assessment.
An Onboarding Process is Critical to Long-Term Success
Onboarding is a fundamental part of a well-structured employee engagement plan. It helps integrate new employees into the organization by training them on their roles, setting clear expectations for performance, and teaching them the organization’s values, purpose, and mission. Therefore, onboarding is a critical first step for any employee, whether they work on-site or remotely. According to Glassdoor’s research, a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent. Also, when done well, onboarding leads to:
- Better engagement
- A sense of belonging
- A quicker contribution to the organization’s work
On the other hand, when not done well, poor onboarding can lead to:
- A lack of trust
- Poor performance
- Lost productivity
- Overall disengagement
In other words, when the average US employer spends $4000 and 24 days to hire a new worker, not onboarding effectively ultimately costs an organization real dollars in employee turnover.
Remote Employee Onboarding Unmasks Previous Pitfalls
Successfully onboarding a new remote employee is arguably more important than it was onboarding an employee in-person. In a traditional office environment, you can mask pitfalls in the onboarding process by taking new employees out to lunch or engaging them over the watercooler. While in a remote or distributed workforce, every engagement with the new employee needs to be intentional. Subsequently, the lack of an onboarding process becomes startlingly clear. It can lead to the new employee feeling isolated, unsupported, and unclear on tasks and responsibilities.
Steps to Onboarding Success
Efforts to introduce, inform, and integrate a remote employee must be intentional and well planned to achieve the same welcoming environment on-site onboarding provides. For successful remote onboarding, the organization must ensure the employee is:
- Equipped with necessary hardware, software, and login credentials prior to start date
- Introduced to team members and other colleagues via “video intros”
- Trained on necessary systems and tools (identified by the supervisor in advance)
- Familiarized with organizational policies, protocols, and norms, including communication channel norms
- Given a formal review of job responsibilities, expectations, and performance measures
- Acquainted with organizational values and mission
- Matched with a “training partner” and/or scheduled for peer-shadowing opportunities via video
- Connected with a mentor
As with most best practices surrounding the remote workforce, intentionality and planning are the keys to success. No one, especially new employees, should feel like they are alone in a workplace. Likewise, no employer should put a new employee in a position where they need to “sink or swim” due to a lack of support. Offer those employees a life raft in the form of a formalized process. You will all be grateful long term for the investment you make in the beginning.
If you’re unsure where to start or how to develop a successful onboarding program or process for your remote employees, contact us today for help.