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Onboarding remote employees? Here’s 6 things you need to do

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For some employers, remote working has always been a way of life. But for many, it’s a whole new ball game.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic certainly brought working remotely to the forefront, and with it a new set of challenges for employers.

One such challenge you may have embraced (or will in the near future) is onboarding remote employees – welcoming them to your business, getting them up and running, and helping them feel and become part of your team.

So how can you do that when your new employee isn’t sitting in the same office (or even country) as you?

By using good cloud HR software, you can carry out the onboarding process efficiently, effectively and remotely, while building excitement and enthusiasm for your new hire.

You can add all your onboarding materials, job contracts, and employee information into your cloud-based platform, and that becomes the central hub for you, your new employees, and the rest of the business.

That means no more paper folders or spreadsheets to manage.

HR software can streamline all of the touchpoints of the onboarding process and plan them in a way that doesn’t disrupt everyone’s time with face-to-face meetings.

It’s evolved onboarding. Smarter. More informed. Modern.

It’s a more intelligent approach to onboarding that addresses the critical factors of bringing new people into a business.

With that in mind, here are six steps for you to take to successfully onboard your new remote employees.

1. Allow instant access to new employee profiles

The moments after an employee signs their contract are critical to making them feel welcome and part of the team.

HR management software enables you to grant your new employee certain permissions to access and use your HR portal on their first day of employment, so they can begin updating their personal information.

Simply create a new profile with their name, address, date of birth and start date.

Since all of your onboarding documents are online, your new hire will have immediate access to the likes of your annual leave policy, pay schedule and the company organisation chart.

2. Save time chasing correspondence and paperwork

Chasing documents and signatures from your new employee can be an obstacle in the HR process when done manually.

When done using cloud-connected software, you can automate the task of sending your new starter a list of tasks they have to complete as part of the onboarding process.

Your software can interactively guide your new employee through the uploading of any required information, eliminating paperwork and delayed correspondence.

3. Enable quick set up of employer-issued mobile devices

Let’s say you need to set your new employee up with a mobile phone and a laptop. Tracking and retrieving mobile devices could get expensive for your business if you needed to replace them each time they weren’t received, or not returned at the end of someone’s employment.

Good HR software allows you to build this step into your onboarding process.

You new starter will have to prove they’ve received their devices by entering the serial numbers, for example. That creates a log in your system, so when you pull up the new hire’s profile, you’ll see what equipment they’ve received.

You can track that log throughout the employee’s lifecycle with the company and log when they are returned once they leave.

4. Implement asynchronous communication

Email, instant messaging and video conferencing are easy ways to connect with your new employee, but they aren’t always the most productive.

While they may be appropriate when your new starter first begins working for you, eventually they won’t have enough time for communication methods that assume an immediate response, or synchronous communications.

People go through different stages of communication as they mature with the company.

If your team is working remotely, you want to be careful not to overwhelm people with video conferencing every day.

Strive for asynchronous communication – those that don’t require an immediate response.

Optimise your email channel with tools that allow you to send company-wide announcements pushed through HR software to email. Employees can see it’s important because it’s on an HR template and they can come back to it when it’s more convenient for them.

5. Integrate personalisation and empathy

Now more than ever, it’s important for you (and your HR team or HR professional if you have one) to take every opportunity to weave in appreciation and empathy into the workday.

Good cloud HR software will have a workflow builder that allows you to create different scenarios of different multiplications.

For example, you could create a personalised scenario that sends a manager an email reminder on their new employee’s 30th day with the company. This feature is mostly for non-work-specific occurrences that add to the employee experience, such as birthdays and anniversaries.

6. Be proactive with feedback

Your onboarding process should always be evolving. To do that, you need to stay informed on how your new employee receives the process as they go through it and afterwards.

HR software allows you to build in automated feedback requests as your new hire goes through their onboarding tasks.

For example, you can schedule your software to send a survey on day 10 that simply asks: “How has your experience been so far?”

And that’s automatically sent to every new hire.

By doing this, you’re building a foundational starting point over time, and you’ll start to see where your onboarding programme is working well and where it isn’t.

Even with automated tools for collecting feedback, it’s important to remember to be direct with your questions during your regularly scheduled check-ins.

You have to ask the questions, such as:

  • How are you doing?
  • What can I do to make the transition easier for you?
  • Are you having any trouble adjusting?

The coronavirus outbreak has shown us how drastically life events can interfere with work life.

If you don’t proactively ask the questions, someone might not tell you how they feel. The most important thing is to be proactive and keep that space open.

Final thoughts

By using cloud HR software, you’ll easily be able to consider and manage the necessary touchpoints in onboarding remote employees.

And by using your HR portal, you’ll be able to empower new starters (and existing employees) to submit their details and access relevant information as and when is required.

By automating your processes and giving your new employees the HR tools they require as they begin their journey with you, not only will it help them, it’ll also free up time for you to focus on adding value both to your business and your employees.

Remote working: A guide for employers

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