It’s so incredibly hard to onboard people that are not with you in person. You can’t physically show them what they need to do and how to handle stuff. Phone calls sure help with that but are still not ideal.
Here are some tips that you could use to onboard your remote new hires..
Create multiple points of contact for your new hire
This is extremely important as your new hire will face issues and you can’t be there first hand. The buddy might be on a call, out of the office, or otherwise hard to reach. If your business is completely distributed, you may want to look into connecting the new hire to people in different time zones.
Get your new hire to the office
Especially when your company is a bit bigger, you might want to get your new hire to your office for a few days. This will strengthen the bond between the new hire and your company, and he or she will be able to meet the other people they will be working with.
Create tasks that involve other team members
Working remotely could potentially lead to a more isolated working environment. Hesitation to reaching out could become an issue. Try to create tasks that both involve the tools you use AND involve other team members. This way your new hire will get to know the other employees and learn how your tools work.
Open up random topics through your messaging board
When you are running a distributed team, it is highly likely that you are communicating though some online messaging board. Be it Slack, HipChat or maybe even old school IRC. Open up a channel dedicated to informal chat and throw in some random questions now and then. If your new employee wants to completely blend in, it is likely that he or she will respond to such questions. Informal talk is always a good team bonding item.
With everything you communicate, be extremely detailed
Misconceptions and misunderstandings are underestimated and yet so important to be aware of during onboarding, especially when your new hire is not local. Some things may seem very logical to you, but aren’t yet understood by the new employee. Therefore, it’s best to be super detailed with the message you want to send. Remember that with online communication, there is no nonverbal communication and emotions are harder to express.
Try to understand their culture before you onboard them
An employee from Europe will react to situations differently then someone from the United States. While this is not a bad thing, you should understand their culture and what they care about. Unintended insults can be made faster than you think. Recovering from those is very hard and sometimes you could lose an employee that way.
Having a decentralized team is awesome. It brings diversity and creativity to your company. Though it does have some challenges, especially when onboarding, Keep the above tips in mind and you should be well on your way.
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