COVID-19: Your Guide to Onboarding Remote Workers

  • Recruitment/HR
Guide to Onboarding Remote Workers
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

An onboarding process is crucial to orient new employees to a company and its culture. It creates a sense of belonging and helps new staff feel welcomed and engaged.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most recruiting at present is being done remotely. The same holds true for the onboarding process. Both can be challenging, especially if remote work is new to your company’s work culture.

Working remotely can be isolating for your employees, and even more so for the new employees who are unfamiliar with the organization. If you are currently hiring staff, it is important that you have a remote work policy in place. A plan for onboarding remote workers is just as significant in ensuring your new recruits feel connected and valued.

Here are some best practices you can follow to bring your new staff onboard if they are joining the company remotely:

Jazz up the welcome 

Introduce the new employees to the rest of the company through a welcome email. Send them company swag (T-shirts, mugs, tote bags, flasks, etc). Add their profile to your website staff page and make them feel like a part of your company.

Simplify HR paperwork 

Instead of mailing them the contracts and relevant forms, email your new recruits e-contracts and e-forms. These do not require any scanning or printing and can be signed electronically and instantly using tools such as DocuSign.

Provide training on use of systems, tools and resources 

You’ll have to inform other departments such as payroll and IT about the new employees. It may be helpful to create an onboarding checklist that ropes in the different departments concerned. This will streamline the process of getting new recruits access to the training and tools they need for work.

Conduct virtual introductions 

Introduce the new staff to their co-workers through video conferencing software. A face-to-face interaction even via video helps put a face to a name and promotes employee bonding.

Take them on a virtual tour of your office 

You can create virtual tours of your office using videos or photographs of inside the office. This will reduce feelings of isolation. It will also send the message that the current set up is temporary and give them something to look forward to.

Set clear expectations 

It is important that you let your new staff know what is expected of them. Be clear on deadlines and weekly/monthly goals. It is best to create a shared team tasks calendar so that everyone knows who is doing what. Scheduling weekly/monthly meetings to assess progress is also a good practice.

Educate them about health & safety in the remote workplace  

Inform your staff about your remote work policies. Prepare a working-from-home OHS checklist. Ask your employees to complete and return it to you. Find out if they need ergonomic equipment for their home office. Under the labour laws, it is the employer’s general duty to take all reasonable precautions for the health and safety of employees. This applies to remote workers as well.

Provide them an orientation buddy 

It would be helpful to pair your new staff with remote co-workers who have been around for longer. The orientation buddies can help answer any questions new recruits may have about the work and/or about the organization.

Share documents about the company’s culture  

Provide your new staff digital copies of reading material, such as the employee handbook and the company’s vision and values document. This way they can go through the material on their own time and learn more about the company.

Check in at regular intervals 

Remote work can be overwhelming. Unlike an office where you can just turn to a co-worker to ask a question, it is harder to feel connected over an internal messaging app. Check in with your new employees at regular intervals so that they don’t feel abandoned or disconnected. Encourage them to voice their queries, concerns and opinions.

Get their feedback 

Ask your new employees which onboarding practices were useful to them and which weren’t. Be open to their ideas. Doing so will help you improve the remote onboarding process.

Do you need help setting up a remote work policy?  

For advice on HR and health & safety policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, call our experts today: 1 (833) 247-3652

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