Thursday 23rd Apr 2020
A sound onboarding process is an excellent way of ensuring that a new starter hits the ground running and feels part of the business from the outset. And this is even more important when there’s less direct communication because the individual is going to be working from home. It doesn’t have to be any more difficult than usual, but bearing a few things in mind will ensure the process goes smoothly. Here are some of the things you need to think about.
Basic onboarding and company introduction
Introductions are often one of the first things that happens when someone new starts. They will get a tour of the office, meet their team, and get a feel for the company atmosphere. When they’re working from home, this process doesn’t have to be that different. Set up a team video chat so that everyone can meet face-to-face and give them all the company information that they might need to begin with.
Set out home working policy
Whether working from home is a temporary measure, or a permanent working pattern, it’s important to explain to new starters what the policy is, because this can vary hugely between organisations. Some will allow for the natural flexibility that often occurs from being away from the office, and others will want a stricter setup. Whichever attitude your business takes, make sure this is communicated well to your new starter to let them know what is expected.
Give them the tools they need
Getting the right tools to your new starter is critical when they’re going to be at home, and this is often one of the bigger challenges when a business moves to allow employees to work from home. You need to work with your IT department, or an IT consultant if you’re a smaller enterprise, to determine exactly how you can have your new starters work from home with all of the hardware, software, data and communications tools that they need (and in a secure fashion). It is imperative that this is in place for when the new role begins - missing tools never set a good impression on the first day.
Plan out tasks
When your new starter isn’t in the office, they can’t quickly ask you what they need to do next. If they drop you or their line manager an email, it might not be picked up straight away. This is why it’s really important to plan out as many of their initial tasks as possible, with a detailed brief for each. The more work you can schedule in with them, the more autonomy they will have which is critical for productivity when it comes to remote workers.
Set aside one-to-one time
Starting a new job is almost always a daunting prospect, and it’s easy to feel left out of the day-to-day for a while. This is even truer when nobody is in the office together. In order to combat this, it’s a good idea to have line managers schedule in specific one-to-one time with the new starter, so they can communicate properly and without distractions. Video calls are always ideal for this because they demonstrate that full attention is being given.