HR Consultant & Visibility Strategist The People's Partner
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10 ways to create a fully inclusive remote onboarding process

Your new hires may be spending some or all of their time remote working for the foreseeable, making it all the more challenging for them to settle in. Here are 10 ways to refresh your onboarding approach to ensure these fresh faces feel included and valued.

11th Sep 2020
HR Consultant & Visibility Strategist The People's Partner
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New employee meeting colleagues on video call
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Onboarding is one of the most critical parts of recruitment in enabling staff to be fully engaged with the organisation – its protocols, its procedures, and of course the culture. But what can companies do now that we are living and embracing a shift from in-person to remote working? How do they ensure that new starters feel totally inclusive in the process when they will be unable to meet their managers, co-workers and other colleagues face to face?

Organisations need to ensure their staff feel valued and included, new starters especially, irrespective of new workplace trends or the ‘new normal’. So here are 10 ways HR can ensure their onboarding processes are more inclusive than ever in this new remote paradigm.

1. Communication

Communication is going to be key. It is absolutely critical in ensuring the employee journey is inclusive from start to finish. Already your employee will be worried, unsure, apprehensive and nervous.

But if you have a concrete communicative onboarding process, which is open and transparent, it will make the process simpler and your employees will feel more included. 

Being able to visually see how everybody fits in and where they all are, especially as they'll have no physical sight of team members, will be a great resource. 

2. Video message

Communicating regularly with all the new starters, even before they join will help them integrate much better within the team. A welcome video sent straight to their inbox will set the tone of the onboarding process. It positions the company as an organisation that cares.

3. Schedule meetings

Schedule group meetings with IT and other relevant training sessions, so that as soon as the new employee comes on board, they are able to get engaged with the different training packages that have been pre-booked in their diary.

4. Onboarding buddy

Every new staff member should be assigned an ‘onboarding buddy’ – an employee who has been at the company longer, who can conduct regular online check-ins and be an informal method of communication for ‘off-the-record’ chats.

In a Remote.co article, digital training company Skillcrush shared insights on how they use virtual resources and a buddy system to orient new employees.

“We put a lot of love into our onboarding because it really sets the stage for what their experience will be like at Skillcrush. Aside from making sure they get a special care package of Skillcrush goodies, and have all of the necessary tools and software in place, we pair them up with a ‘buddy’ who they can go to for advice and just chat with for fun. We also put together a ton of resources to make sure they understand the Skillcrush mission and how we do what we do.”

5. Invitation to meetings

New starters should be invited to all important virtual meetings so they get a great understanding of the company, the different departments and how they all work.

It’s easy to forget that inclusivity also means providing space for someone to share constructive feedback in a safe environment – this is no different for a new starter. 

6. Create a 30, a 60 and a 90-day plan

Create a well thought out plan over a set period of time ensuring that the new staff member knows what's expected of them. They will understand when and where they need to be, and it will give them more focus, providing an opportunity for them to contribute to their own progress.

7. Access to onboarding information

Undoubtedly, your new worker will feel overwhelmed and may not be able to capture all the information being shared. It is important therefore that the virtual meetings are recorded allowing them to revisit at their own leisure.

Boldly, a workforce supplier based in the US, combines an internal portal with synchronous interaction among its staff. In the same Remote.co article mentioned above, a representative of Boldly said:

“We have built an intranet or what we call ‘our Digital Vault’ with onboarding videos, guides, and a knowledge base. It’s also a place where we post company news, video updates, and team insights. The onboarding is of course accompanied with video Skype meetings to go through the materials ‘in person’ but the Digital Vault provides the ability for new team members to learn at their own pace, and to revisit the content, and review procedures whenever they have a question!”

8. Online chats

As part of the move to ensure your new employee feels included in every part of the organisation, ensure that online chat platforms, like Slack or Microsoft Teams, have channels already set up for the new starter.

9. The organisational chart

Often ignored by existing staff members, the organisational chart becomes the best friend for the new starter. Being able to visually see how everybody fits in and where they all are, especially as they'll have no physical sight of team members, will be a great resource. 

10. FAQ virtual sessions

Create an online FAQ session with the new starter, providing them with the opportunity to express how they feel, share their feedback and their perspective. 

This is a critical yet undervalued part of the virtual onboarding process. It’s easy to forget that inclusivity also means providing space for someone to share constructive feedback in a safe environment – this is no different for a new starter that could provide some very valuable feedback for improvement and development.


Bolstering the employee experience from the very start

In uncertain times like this, the feeling of inclusivity encourages both trust and loyalty which is crucial for the employee experience. It has been said many times that when an organisation fosters an environment that cares for their employees from the beginning, their business benefits too.

Interested in finding out more? Read 'Enhancing employee onboarding with automation.'

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