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Many employers have had their eyes opened to the positive aspects of home-based workers over the last two years. A Gartner CFO survey says 74% of companies plan to shift some workers to remote work post-pandemic, because it decreases operating costs, increases profits, and is highly desirable by potential employees. The onboarding process for remote workers, however, can be challenging.
Instead of the warmth of a supervisor striding around the office introducing a new hire to their teammates, filling the new hire in on upcoming social events, and then settling him/her down at a desk with a cup of coffee, the new hire’s first day runs quite differently. It features yet another Teams or Zoom call, and at the end of the introductory session, the new hire is left sitting alone at home at his/her desk. That is a lonely start for the new hire, and it does not give their colleagues much to work with.
Ordinarily, an onboarding process sets up the new employee for success. The new employee receives I.T. assistance, safety talks, links to workplace learning sessions, and instructions on how to book vacation time and receive payment online. The new employee may also learn about what the company expects in terms of productivity. This process is an essential part of employee retention ― a serious concern in today’s employment market.
Glassdoor reports that new hire retention increases by 82% and productivity by more than 70% when the onboarding process is solid. What might happen when it is not? According to a study conducted by the HR software company Bamboo HR, 17% of employees leave their new job in less than three months, and 30% within six. The same report notes that it costs between 90% and 200% of the employee’s salary to replace them.
That is why it is important for a company to create a good impression on that new hire from the start. Here are seven lucky strategies for success.
1. Standardize the Onboarding Process
Do this across the company, no matter the role. Consult with top performers to see what worked best (or flopped) when they arrived, and adjust the process accordingly. Employers may even wish to invest in an onboarding process created by a professional team. Any welcome program should include: a friendly hello; checklists of essential onboarding tasks, including company policies; schedules; employee contact information and projects; and already-booked introductory one-on-ones with teammates.
2. Demonstrate Friendliness
Starting a new job feeling isolated, shy, and uncertain is off-putting for anybody. If there’s any chance of a first in-person meeting to break the ice, that is ideal. There is no equivalent to human warmth. Employers also need to: make sure that the new hires are clear on their tasks, obligations, and the objectives of their roles; provide them with all necessary training; and ensure that they are properly introduced and fully included in regular meetings. At Etsy, for example, new hires are rotated through every team in the company in a four-week “boot camp” that allows them a 360-degree view. Every employee does this annually.
3. Offer Frequent Feedback
Employers need to cultivate personal relationships with new hire and understand their challenges. In addition, employers need to be open to feedback, as well, acknowledging it in written form as well as verbally. Then employees know they have been heard. Other employees should be encouraged to cultivate the same openness with their new colleagues. That is how they share the institutional knowledge they have accrued over time and continue to build their team.
4. Make Sure They Have All the Necessary Tech
The remote worker may not have everything he/she needs in the home office to do his/her work, connect, and communicate easily with colleagues. The remote worker may not own all the necessary equipment and tech, from good headphones to the latest software. Therefore, make sure to provide the needed items in a timely fashion, along with the IT support to install it. The remote worker also needs to know the fastest way to get in touch with each particular co-worker. This prevents his/her emails or phone calls from being ignored by co-workers that prefer communication by texts.
5. Give Them a Buddy
The buddy system worked in grade school, and it is still a great system to utilize. Pair up the new hire with a senior employee who instructs him/her on everything from company protocol to what time to arrive at the annual team-building paintball session. It does not matter if the mentor is in the new hire’s department or a helpful person in a different unit. Regardless, it is great for the new hire to know there is someone in his/her corner.
6. Set the New Hire Up with a Coach
Peer-to-peer coaching is another helpful tool, as an MIT Sloan Management Review discovered. This is because it helps workers “reduce their stress and stay focused and productive.” It is a more personal relationship than a mentorship, based less on practical learning and more on mutual support. However, according to MIT Sloan’s 2019 Workforce Purpose Index, peer coaching also “helps create a better work environment over the long term. People who regularly engage in peer coaching are 65% more likely to feel fulfilled at work and 67% more likely to report being top performers. They’re also 73% more likely to report feeling a sense of belonging at work and 50% more likely to stay in their jobs for more than five years.”
7. Throw a Little Fun into the Mix
There are imaginative people out there who came up with ways to integrate the new remote hire into the company culture, no matter how many thousands of miles away the new remote hire may be. The Scavify app and platform, for example, is an interactive employee engagement tool. It offers ideas like a virtual scavenger hunt, in which people work with other employees and share photos and videos to complete challenges that illuminate company culture, socialization, and learning.
Other Scavify ideas include onboarding several new remote hires in a group with a handful of established employees. Then they connect with a small team from the start. The connection is potentially over a video coffee chat or a virtual desk lunch. Generous employers might even want to get that coffee or lunch delivered to everybody, or provide them with gift cards to be used for that purpose. Online games, trivia contests, photo sharing, and ugly sweater days are additional possibilities for fostering team spirit.
What does the employer hope the new hire takes away after that first day ends? Hopefully the new hire has a sense of being welcome and seen as important to the company. The new hire should also feel that new opportunities have opened up, for engagement, productivity and collegiality. Experiencing all of that goodwill from home is possible with a little thought and effort by the folks at headquarters.
The post Lucky Seven Strategies for Remote New Hire Onboarding appeared first on Home Business Magazine.
Author: Zain Jaffer
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