All Aboard: How to get the best out of new remote employees

Onboarding is a key moment of truth in the employee experience, affirming their decision to join a company. New employees typically have lots of questions: Am I a good fit? Do my values align with this business? Who are my colleagues, particularly when we’re remote? How do I know if I’m doing a good job? How do we collaborate? Who are the leaders, and what do they care about?

In a physical office environment, workers start to make sense of their new organization through meeting colleagues for a coffee or leaning over the desk to ask questions. Sure, you also supply an employee handbook, but it’s those water-cooler moments that make all the difference and contribute to a positive experience. How, then, can you leverage your digital workplace to provide the formal onboarding agenda as well as the intangible “feel good” factor that will set new hires up for success.

Here are my top five tips:

1. Help remote workers and office workers feel equally valued. The roll-out of vaccines in 2021 is likely to mean that some employees will go back into an office, while others will continue working remotely. Managers have a key role to play in making sure new employees have similar opportunities, wherever they work. Providing everyone with the online information, tools and connections to perform at their best will help everyone feel included. Creating some fun or interesting questions and conversations can help to break down barriers too.

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2. Communicate your organization’s vision and mission. A clear purpose will immediately provide new workers with a sense of direction. Employees want to know what their company stands for, what it will look like in the future, and the role they can play in achieving success. A digital workplace is an ideal tool to align all employees around a shared vision, connecting people around important strategic topics, no matter where they’re located.

3. Create an interactive online onboarding experience. Digital content, such as onboarding videos of leaders and colleagues, quizzes, and easy access to essential training can be a simple and intuitive way to get people ramped up quickly. Developing an online dashboard that personalizes all tasks to be completed is a good way to track progress.

4. Enroll new hires in a community just for them. Week one in a job is always daunting — more so when you’re working remotely. An informal, collaborative community, with hints and tips from colleagues is a great way to kick-start working relationships and help people find their feet. Encouraging participation by senior leaders can be a great way for new employees to feel valued right away.

5. Connect them with the “movers and shakers.” From the chief executive to the chief product officer, IT support, HR managers and sales executives — new employees want to know what to follow, whom to connect with and how to get things done. Your digital workplace will help people make those vital connections. It can also provide access to a library of recorded town halls or webinars which can be a useful internal window into the priorities and personalities of senior leaders.

With remote working set to become a long-term reality for many employees, the way businesses use technology to welcome a hybrid workforce is especially important. From surviving to thriving, employees’ early weeks of onboarding are likely to have a significant impact on their engagement and productivity and, ultimately, their success in the organization.

Mike Hicks
Mike Hicks is CMO of intelligent digital workplace Beezy.

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