5 ways to improve your remote onboarding process

Strata-g's Roxanne Da Mata on how to conduct remote employee onboarding during these times.

In this day and age, as HR practitioners, one has to pose the question, “how will Covid19 affect our employee relations moving forward and how can my organisation adapt as fast and as seamlessly as possible?”

The best place to start would be at the inception of the employment relationship. Once the initial recruitment process has been followed (in other words, advertisement of the vacancy, shortlisting and offers are made to the best candidate for the position), the following immediate need is remote working.  The current situation requires that employees are not only is set up for remote working but also that the organisation has a strategy for how it plans to conduct employee appointments, induction and ongoing engagement moving forward.

What is remote onboarding?

Remote onboarding is the digitisation of the offer management, welcome, and the induction of new employees and contractors. The new employee would typically have to conclude the following; sign the contract of employment, post-offer engagement, pre-employment screening, team welcome, induction and core training, expectations and objective management, and ongoing support.

Looking at ways in which we can completely onboard an employee online and introduce new hires as happy and productive employees from one day to the next. The most effective way would be to provide a platform tied together by a dashboard that would give the employee a holistic view of their employee profile. The dashboard should include the employee’s electronic contract (which could be signed electronically), screening checks and uploaded employee certificates and licences. It should include a “Who We Are” page – for the employee to have a proper understanding of the business and its mission, as well as a payroll set-up and induction courses. The induction courses should include a course on ‘Working Remotely’ and what the rules of engagement are in terms of conduct, scheduling meetings, company event attendance as well as the preferred modus operandi for internal meetings. 

When creating the shared platform, bear in mind that this platform is an extension of your working space and should be representative of same. The following 5 tips should provide further clarity on what to focus on in this environment:

1 Establish your main pain points

This is particularly important in large organisations and environments where employees engage remotely. Post-offer engagement with the new hire should be immediate, frequent, informative, and relevant. With regards to organisations that have stringent compliance and governance requirements – this should be featured as a mandatory field where all the necessary information must be completed. In order to maintain the corporate culture, it is important to have regular communication from top management and preferably the CEO presenting a clear direction of where the organisation is headed, its growth strategy, big wins and any other information that will be pertinent to staff morale. Daily productivity or deliverables achieved should also be included as an important indicator for the organisation to monitor progress.

2 Get the company welcome right

Be sure to assign a mentor or buddy to new appointments to incorporate the human engagement that is often found in the workplace but maybe lost in remote working environments. Be sure to set up coffee meetings with your teams for a catchup session that has a more casual agenda to “touch-base”. In some environments, it could be a good idea to gamify the environment where employees are encouraged to play against each other and build relationships.

3 Create playbooks to replace workplace-based learning 

Create guides that teach best practice, rules and expectations. Communicate with employees on a regular basis by conducting surveys and perhaps include these principles as KPIs to be able to measure, reward and reinforce positive behaviour. 

4 Be creative

Introduce online platforms as not only a place to interact with staff but also between staff. Chat rooms, social event calendars, mixers, employee recognition – or “Get to Know Me” exercises where different team leaders and their teams are introduced with a casual biography, are great ways to keep employees engaged. Some example of software platforms to enable this functionality are listed below.

5 Offer online Perks, benefits and support 

In this current climate, it imperative to provide mental health support programmes, where emergency numbers and contact details are provided for departmental support, such as HR and payroll support, financial education and other training that could be essential to the organisation and the employee. 

This builds a relationship of trust between the employer and its people. It sets the tone that the employer is genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of their people. When a trust relationship is created in this manner – the employee moves from being a “creature of instruction” to an “intrapreneur” who becomes more accountable in their role

Here are some of the potential software programmes that could be utilised to form the functionality mentioned above.