Overcoming the Difficulties of Remote Onboarding

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According to a survey by Robert Half and Associates, about a quarter of new hires quit in the first three months because of a failed onboarding process. With the technicalities of working from home during a pandemic, it is even harder for HR managers to solve this costly issue. Let’s take a detailed look at some of the unique challenges of remote onboarding and offer some solutions to these problems.

Challenge 1: Unclear place in company

Once a new person has joined a team, they need to know exactly how the workflow functions and where they fit in. When working remotely, it can be harder for a new employee to figure out what task should take priority and to whom they should be reporting. This feeling of disconnect can lead to listlessness, confusion, and dissatisfaction that can be read as a bad omen by both employees and employers. Managers should be prepared right from the beginning with a handbook for new hires that outlines the company structure and mission. They should assign a person who can answer any questions people may have. Individual roles should be made clear right from the get-go and communication should be open and on-going. It is also good to regularly ask new people to offer their ideas for projects so that they can feel a sense of ownership and contribution.

Challenge 2: No connection to team

Of course, the most obvious minus in remote workspaces is the inability for people to socialize with colleagues informally while passing each other in halls and sitting next to each other at their desks and at breaks. A friendly and supportive atmosphere is harder to maintain when communications are enabled purely through technology and require a seemingly rigid or overstuffed meeting schedule. However, one of the first things that managers can do to welcome new members to a team is to take time to introduce them to everyone in the company or team with a virtual “party.” Plan team-building activities and ice-breaker games so that co-workers can get to know each other as people and continue to do so regularly in order to maintain employee morale. This can be a recurring end-of-the-week event and attendance can be optional but encouraged.

Challenge 3: Lacking the right tools to succeed

Make sure that employees have the right technology and support they need to do well. Some of the first things that new hires will need to do is figure out how to use some of the new virtual programs that the company has adopted for remote working. For example, many businesses have leaned heavily on apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet for video calling and Slack, Asana, or Trello for online project management during the pandemic. As employees learn to use different apps, it’s a good idea to have someone check in as they troubleshoot these technologies. Training doesn’t only happen in the first couple weeks of hiring; it also should be a continuous process. Be prepared to invest in training programs to grow new and current employees and make sure there are supportive solutions in place for all possible developments.

Rose Ho | Staff Writer

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