Remotely integrating a new employee into the company culture is a major challenge for many employers and HR teams.
As an HR leader or manager, you want new employees to feel like they understand team dynamics, get a sense of each person’s unique personality, and grasp the elements that make your company culture unique and authentic. Working remotely, this may seem to be an impossible task. However, there are some simple ways for remote-first companies to shape onboarding processes to give new employees a great first impression.
Get creative with video
Normally, when you join a company in person you’ll get an office tour and introductions to key team members. To bridge the remote divide, something we’ve done at TheSoul Publishing is to enlist our creative team to design and execute onboarding videos that we can share with all new hires. Our employees tells us that they really helped them understand the corporate DNA of TheSoul Publishing. Video creation is a part of the onboarding process that feels more natural in a remote work world.
Creating video content allows a company to give new employees a look under the hood and understand what makes the organisation special, and – as a result – remind them why they joined and what they have to look forward to.
Integrate your company culture
Culture is the hardest thing to communicate remotely, but it should not be disregarded. According to this survey by Mission & Culture, conducted by The Harris Poll in 2019, 66% of U.K. millennials cared more about company culture than compensation. It can be easy to tick off boxes by doing the bare minimum, but that won’t leave a positive impression on your newest team members.
Onboarding is an opportunity to engage workers in your culture from the very beginning. For example, at TheSoul Publishing, we set up “meet and greets” with as many employees as possible, even if it’s not someone that the new hire will regularly work with. There’s nothing worse than joining a meeting and not knowing who half the people are because you have never seen them before or even heard their names. Eliminate this awkwardness by coordinating introductory calls so your new hire has other people they can connect with for questions, brainstorms, or even a movie reference.
Have the right tech to back up your process
One problem with onboarding can be easily solved with the right tech: getting the paperwork signed. For most companies in early 2020, on someone’s first day, they’d sit in an office with a representative from the HR team. A bulk of time would be spent filling in tax and payroll documents, but that process has completely changed and can be submitted easily with DocuSign or other similar programs.
Another issue is connectivity. Companies coming to grips with remote first working will be familiar with video conferencing tools, as well as systems for instant messaging. The number of available new systems has risen exponentially in 2020, which means plenty of options. Ask your teams what they need when they’re onboarding. While face to face is often the best way to engage a new employee, it’s not always available. Ask team members who have onboarded remotely how they found the process and get advice on how to tailor your tech for new employees. These small adjustments in technology make a big difference for an effective onboarding process.
Remote onboarding will become a prominent pain point for HR teams through 2021, as companies realise the wider requirements of a permanent remote workforce. Onboarding for an international remote first workforce, like TheSoul Publishing, is all about culture, creativity, and technology. It can be done well, but it requires planning and preparation to implement an onboarding program that welcomes new starters to your company and everything that makes it exceptional.