Congratulations - you’ve successfully made a hire while remote! Now it’s time to transition this new hire from prospective candidate to productive team member. While traditionally you might prepare a desk space for them, arrange a buddy lunch, and give them a tour of the office, the first day looks a bit different now. It’s important to be thoughtful about how you’ll welcome new employees to your organization while remote, as this will set the tone for their future at your company.
Onboarding starts the day they accept
In this remote working world, people may be more nervous than usual about starting a new role as these are unfamiliar circumstances and they don’t know what to expect. Take this as an opportunity to start building trust early on and give them the extra support they may need. Leverage the weeks leading up to their start date to get new hires feeling welcome and engaged.
First off, prepare a welcome package. Along with their laptop and other work materials, include some company swag and other treats to get them excited! We also recommend including some handy introductory information, either in the package itself or emailed around the same time. Here are some things you can include:
- A personalized welcome note from the team
- An itinerary for their first day or week
- A new hire FAQ sheet
- Contact information for their hiring manager, IT support, and HR
- A company directory and org chart - include photos, employee info, and fun facts!
- A schedule of upcoming internal events
Once their welcome package is shipped off, share tracking information and estimated arrival date so they can be prepared.
If your company uses any other formal onboarding procedures, you can share these ahead of time as well. Doing so can be an opportunity for the hiring manager to stay engaged with their new hire during the time between offer acceptance and start date.
Help them build connections
When working remotely, it can be even harder to make those initial connections with your team. As the hiring manager or someone in HR, it’s important to proactively introduce new employees to their colleagues. Using a buddy program to pair new hires with employees from other teams is a great way to get them integrated cross-functionally. Consider arranging informal meet and greets such as virtual coffee chats or lunches as a way for them to get to know new coworkers during the first few weeks.
To make a new hire feel comfortable engaging early on, let them know what the preferred communication tools are in your organization. This is so important when remote, since the new hire can’t just walk over to someone's desk to ask a question. Every company, and even different teams within a company, use different tools for communicating, so be sure to give them the rundown on what your team prefers. Additionally, don’t forget to include them in team-specific groups or channels.
Keep them busy
Make sure your new hire has a full calendar or to-do list for their first few weeks. They should never be stuck wondering what they should be doing, especially since they’re not in a collaborative office environment.
We all know that communication is key, but working remotely makes communication that much more important (and challenging!). Hiring managers and their new employees should frequently check in on goals, challenges, questions, and wins. Remember, over-communicating is what’s needed right now, and that goes both ways!
Check out the previous posts in our Remote Hiring Series.