Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, HR teams have begun making the transition to remote onboarding.
With teams across the nation still working remotely, remote onboarding is becoming a new normal. The transition will discourage HR professionalism from continuing to embrace traditional methods of onboarding and pivot to new, virtual techniques.
As companies put more emphasis on remote onboarding, HR professionals must create a reliable, productive remote onboarding process.
How do HR teams make remote onboarding both effective and efficient?
- Virtually onboard several employees together
- Expand the onboarding process
- Encourage a healthy work-life balance during onboarding
Companies that follow these three critical remote onboarding steps will be best positioned to retain new employees and cultivate a strong company culture, even while remote.
Normalize Onboarding Many Employees at Once
There are several benefits to onboarding several new hires together online.
It can be overwhelming and isolating to start a job in a remote environment. Instead of chatting with new coworkers in the office, they’re likely working from their homes in a more isolated space.
New employees benefit from being onboarded in groups for the opportunity to build a sense of camaraderie with each other throughout the training process. Employees are better positioned to learn from each other in a group environment as well.
Additionally, it’s recommended to provide new hires with a mentor and engage them with other teammates through virtual get-to-know meetings. This will add a personal element to the process that’ll make group onboarding more varied and comfortable.
Group remote onboarding is more efficient for HR professionals and those training new teammates on processes as well. Trainers only have to focus on holding one session per topic, rather than devoting time to individually train new hires on the same topics. Setting up trainings and scheduling the onboarding process is further simplified by group meeting tools like Zoom or Google Meet.
A recent survey found 46% of companies have hired at least 10 new employees over the course of the global pandemic. When companies prepare to hire a large group of new employees, they should plan to welcome them to the company in larger groups. The report suggests allowing new employees to choose between a few predetermined start dates to streamline the process.
Group employee onboarding is efficient for companies and provides news employees with a sense of fellowship with other new hires.
Lengthen the Onboarding Process
Getting acclimated to a new job can be a challenge in a remote environment. Experts recommend extending the onboarding process over several months to ensure that new employers are able to master processes and continue to grow throughout their first year with your team.
According to The Manifest, 61% of HR professionals expect workers to remain at the company for at least two years after starting their new role. This indicates that companies can afford to invest in a months-long onboarding process.
Over the course of a long-term onboarding process, experts recommend that employees:
- Master their core role
- Understand and exemplify company values
- Accurately identify resources and understand boundaries
- Build relationships with members of the team
Due to the difficulties of working remotely, new hires may need time to fully grasp concepts like company culture or identifying company values in other teammates’ actions.
Embrace the opportunity to keep new hires learning and growing throughout their first year at your company. This will make new employees more cognisant of their continued progress and keep them feeling productive, even while remote.
Productive and motivated employees are less likely to choose to leave a company. Keep them engaged with their work and motivated to improve their skills with an elongated learning process.
Lengthening the onboarding process may initially seem inefficient and unproductive for companies. However, managers will benefit from the reduced turnover, increased understanding of processes, and boosted productivity that come from an extended training experience.
Promote Healthy Remote Work Habits During Onboarding
Setting strong work-life boundaries as a remote worker is incredibly important in maintaining a positive outlook on work and reducing the risk of burnout.
In an office setting, commutes, meetings, and team lunches may typically break up the workday and create natural boundaries between free time and work. Without physically traveling home at the end of a workday, it can be challenging for some employees to establish barriers surrounding work.
Promoting healthy remote work habits early in the onboarding process will help new employees avoid burnout, which will keep them happier in their roles.
During the onboarding process, consider providing your employees with wellness information in addition to sharing knowledge about internal processes. Experts recommend that you offer up the following:
- Taking time for mental health
- Breaking up the workday with a walk
- Looking into meditation resources or workout programs
Companies should integrate these recommendations to encourage new hires to develop smart work habits early in their tenure. They’ll be less prone to burnout and appreciate your leadership priorizing employee health and happiness.
HR leaders indicate that burnout is the main cause of annual turnover in the workplace. An American Psychological Assoaction study found that 550 million workdays are lost due to employee stress. This issue can easily be compounded by a work-from-home environment.
Encouraging healthy work habits and a consistatnt work-life balance will increase morale in the long-term, preventing turnover issues and cases of burnout down the road.
Account For Remote Work Dynamics During Virtual Onboarding
Remote onboarding practices should account for the challenges and changes of working from home within your company. New hires should be able to acclimate themselves to core expectations and company values in a remote context.
Group remote onboarding is helpful for employees getting used to the company and for business hoping to train workers efficiently.
Expanding the length of the onboarding process gives new hires more time to learn about company culture and context, keeping them feeling productive and secure in their remote growth over time.
Lastly, companies should present employees with healthy work habits and tips during onboarding sessions. Remote jobs complicate work boundries, so avoid employee burnout early by setting a positive, healthy standard for workers.
Sydney Wess is a content writer & editor for Clutch, focusing on workplace challenges during the global pandemic.