Remote Work Onboarding: How Not to Fail
Companies looking to increase employee engagement, decrease turnover, and set up new hires for success might want to strengthen their remote work onboarding efforts.
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As these findings released by the online orientation and training platform, Onboardia, demonstrate, experiences during the early stages of employment affect the future:

  • Employees who were “highly satisfied” with their onboarding experience were three times more likely to feel comfortable after their first day and two times more likely to still feel comfortable later in their first year.
  • 75 percent of employees who were satisfied with their organization’s onboarding reported being loyal to their employer.
  • 56 percent of disengaged employees said they received ineffective training or none at all.
  • 76 percent of employees want on-the-job training in the first week and 73 percent want a review of company policies.
  • 18 percent of employees didn’t understand the performance expectations for their position until after 90 days of work.

With 31 percent of people saying they have quit a job after less than six months, employers need to provide information and support from the get-go. This attention applies to remote team members as much as it does to in-house staff—perhaps even more so in order to prevent the frustration of feeling “out of sight and out of mind.”

Improve the onboarding experience for your telecommuters with these strategies:

1. Be ready.

Establish thoughtful, consistent onboarding procedures. Pre-planning ensures that all necessary bases get covered, and new hires will get the message that your company is excited to get them up to speed so that they can begin contributing.

All work-related materials and password logins should be sent, set up, and confirmed to be working prior to the start day. Nothing kills a remote worker’s enthusiasm like waiting around for items to arrive or technical issues to be resolved.

2. Assign a helper.

Onboardia reports that 56 percent of new employees would like a mentor or a buddy during the onboarding process.

Someone to turn to besides the boss can be comforting and may make asking those “dumb” (but usually important) questions easier. This helper could be another remote worker or someone in-house; physical presence need not be a concern.

3. Make the newcomer feel welcome.

Finally, work on helping telecommuters feel connected. Encouraging co-workers to send introductory emails offering support and some personal background provides a new hire with a sense of camaraderie.

And while strong communication remains important for managing any telecommuter, special efforts during the onboarding stage can lead to greater comfort and productivity. A quick phone call, a check-in text, or an email with positive feedback can have a huge effect on a new employee eager to become a valuable member of the company.

What tips would you add for remote work onboarding? Let us know in the comments section below.

By Beth Braccio Hering | October 26, 2016 

Jane Gonzalez
Associate Editor