Three steps for onboarding your new remote employees

Distance is no longer a factor when recruiting qualified resources for your company because you now have access to talent from virtually anywhere.

Distance can become an obstacle, however, when you need to welcome and integrate your new employees. Here are three steps that will help ease their arrival into your teams, even if they work from home.

1. Prepare for their arrival

Between confirming they’ve been hired and their first day on the job, your new recruits should be able to ease in. Don’t leave them hanging :

  • Instead of the paper folder usually handed in person to new employees, send them a digital welcome kit. It should introduce the company and its vision, but also ideally, their agenda for their first day.

Don’t bury them in paperwork!

Limit the amount of information you provide in the kit and by email so that you don't overwhelm them even before their first day on the job!

  • Make sure the material they will need to get started is delivered before their first day, and that they have the proper access they need to work remotely.
  • Ensure someone from the IT team is available on the first day so your new employees can get the help they need if they run into problems.

2. Make a good first impression

  • Start things off on the right foot by personally welcoming your new employees on the first morning. Don’t let someone else do this unless you really don’t have the time.
  • Organize meetings in small groups so the new employees can meet the colleagues they will be working with most often. It’s kind of like a virtual tour of the office, one division at a time. Getting them involved in larger team meetings right away can be intimidating.
  • Be available to answer any of their questions. Provide them with all the documents and tools they will need every day.
  • Designate someone who can guide and perhaps even mentor a new colleague.
  • After a few hours, contact the new employee by telephone or videoconference. Facial expressions and tone of voice will give you a lot more information than a written message about your new colleague’s first impressions.

A few tips from Maude and Sahid, experienced managers

In their businesses – an SME and a company – Maude and Sahid recruit employees who work from home every year. Here are their recommendations :

- Avoid contacting new employees by email, especially on the first day. Speaking to them is more reassuring and motivating.

- Have a coffee with them (online!) to get their first impressions. Or, get in touch with them at the end of the day to make sure everything is OK and provide encouragement, if needed.

- Save some time for small talk. It’s a great way to put your new colleagues at ease, create a positive connection and maybe even discover some things you have in common.

3. Establish a solid base from the get-go

  • Stay in touch : Your remote employees will be happier and more efficient if they can convey their expectations and priorities. Ask them!
  • Establish everyone’s roles and responsibilities. It’s a good way to minimize grey areas. Undefined roles and responsibilities can tank a team’s morale – and not just the newest members’.
  • Expand their horizons : Talk to your new employees about the business, the internal culture, current projects, challenges and success stories.
  • Make a list of key people they should meet. The idea here is to allow them to form an overall view of the company and its challenges. Your collaborators will no doubt give them a better understanding of how their position relates to others.

A winning attitude for a smooth integration

Prepared everything to guarantee a smooth integration? Keep stacking those odds in your favour!

  • Be patient.
    Integrating a team is enough of a challenge, but doing it remotely is more complicated and stressful. Give your new recruits time to adapt to their new functions. Don’t count on getting the same level of production from them as you would from employees in your service for a longer period of time.
  • Get them involved with their colleagues.
    If new employees have more opportunities to collaborate with their colleagues, they will take part in the problem-solving process. Their creativity can flourish – and they’ll form new ties!
  • Be sure to highlight their achievements often.
    Celebrate them, even remotely. Promote humour and a positive environment to create true team spirit. Not only will your new employees integrate better, but they may want to stay on your team for good.

All the best!