Ever since we were living in caves (probably), it’s a feeling of connection that turns a good bunch of people into a great team. And these teams aren’t formed by accident.
HR departments have long been developing onboarding processes that tick every box: quickly preparing recruits to get to work, removing social barriers in teams, and transmitting the company culture.
But just as they were refining the process, along came the remote revolution. Now with so many people working from home, we’ve had to throw out part of the rule book that relies on one-to-one interaction and rewrite the script.
We’ll cover everything from how to complete an onboarding process without spending too much time on it to creating a friendly team of individuals who have never met each other in person. So if your business needs to revolutionize how to onboard a new employee, read on!
A welcome message is the first step you take when you welcome a new remote employee. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so you have to make it count.
A new employee welcome message sets the tone for your relationship with employees, so don’t be afraid to speak in your company’s tone of voice — even if it’s super informal. This smoothens their integration and dispels any anxiety that comes with starting a new job. In the long run, it can create a stronger bond, which is essential for remote employees, and improve your retention.
But just because it’s important, that doesn’t mean you need to spend days curating a work of art for every new employee. A much more efficient way is to make a generic email template that covers all the key points, then you can add in a few more personal touches for each individual. Your welcome message template should include:
A welcoming introduction, affirming the confidence you have in them.
A brief outline of their role, to show how essential their role is to the company’s overall goals.
A clear roadmap of their first week, including introductions, onboarding sessions, and administrative tasks.
A reiteration of your trust in them, and an assurance that they can reach out to you whenever they need to.
One last tip for your new employee welcome letter — write it well in advance and automate it to be sent on their first morning. With so many other tasks to deal with, the more concise you can make your first day to-do list, the better.
When you welcome a new remote employee, it’s important to remember that they will be sitting at home with absolutely no knowledge of who is who or what is what. This is enough to cause anxiety in even the most confident workers.
Therefore, when considering how to welcome a new employee virtually, start off on their own personal calendar and give them a visual representation of the tasks to be completed. These processes will include a lot of document signing, so save yourselves both heaps of time with an online signature tool.
Our top onboarding scheduling tip is to lay every activity out in your project management tool. Kanban boards are excellent for displaying an onboarding schedule. Each task comes with detailed instructions, a deadline, and any other people who need to be involved.
Sure, you can supervise this process, but it’s also a great opportunity for your new hire to learn how your tools work in a consequence-free environment. This is a precursor to the later section on a technical guide for their new role.
When you onboard a new employee, one of the first activities should be to introduce them to the team with a video call. Nice and easy with nothing to prepare, it’s a stress-free event that sets the foundation for your team.
Try out a few introductory activities to get the conversation flowing. Perhaps your current staff members could introduce themselves and offer one piece of advice. Keep it light and humorous, with suggestions like “join the photography online group — Diane’s pictures are amazing” or “Steve’s cat is called Clive Eloquence and will make an appearance in every video call.”
Similarly, your new recruit can give the team a run down of their past experience, what they can bring to the team, and a quick story or two about something that has helped them learn. If your team is OK with it, you can choose a mentor for your new hire. The mentor will be the first point of contact for any questions that you can’t cover in your onboarding process — a real secret weapon for when you welcome a new remote employee.
Sure, your team will be busy with a lot of things on their plates already but these introductions are far from a waste of time. Learning how to welcome a new employee virtually opens up communication channels and shows that your team, like you, are friendly, open, and fun.
Great, you have ticked the first box to welcome a new remote employee to the team, but unless you’re a tight-knit unit, there may be many more faces to get to know. Clearly, you can’t parade your new hire around every department one by one, but you can streamline the process now and in the future.
Organizational charts are essential to efficient remote teams. Without new faces appearing like they do in a physical office, it’s easy to miss out on new recruits, and that can lead to a feeling of alienation. But if you collect a smiling face, a name, a job description, and a bunch of contact options for all your team members, you can put your entire company structure on the cloud.
Part of your onboarding schedule will be to go through the organizational chart together and point out all the people in other departments who your new employee will interact with frequently. Be sure to describe how they will be connected. This helps to create a clear connection between the tasks and people involved in their role, which ultimately makes them feel more at home in your remote team.
Unlimited Users Free
Zooming in from your organizational chart, you can introduce subgroups within your company.
A great way to welcome a new remote employee, these groups can be either work-related or social (or both!), which helps remote workers find their tribe at your company. For example, scrum teams will need a channel to work at their best, but many of them could crossover with the Tuesday Night Quiz Club where they get to know each other on a personal level.
Seeing social instant messenger chats or groups as a distraction is somewhat short-sighted. Especially when it comes to new remote hires, a social bond between your team is essential to a high-performing team. These connections break down communication barriers and give everyone the confidence to reach out for help when they need it or offer low-key advice before issues build into bigger problems. At the same time, everybody will have each other’s back, so when times get tough, they’ll be happy to lend a hand for the good of their colleagues.
With everybody working from home, you can’t look over your team’s shoulder and make sure they’re using your software in the most efficient way. What’s more, if new hires don’t feel confident, they can be reluctant to reach out for help.
That’s why every time you welcome a new remote employee, you need to go through how your tools work. While the best online business software comes with FAQs, videos, and training centers, we’d recommend extracting the key details and forming them into a fun guide that is fully relevant to your new recruits.
You obviously don’t want to spend hours drafting a new guide for every new hire, so save what you have in a shared folder for the next cohort of incoming employees. Whenever you change strategy or find better practices, update the master document and it will be ready to go next time round.
These master documents aren’t just for onboarding either. As a manager, you can save yourself a lot of tasks by storing your guides in a clearly labeled cloud-based drive for any employees to refer back to when they need it.
When you onboard a new employee, it’s often difficult to properly judge your own approach. Having just started, it’s highly unlikely that a newbie is going to offer suggestions for improvement unless you encourage them.
But this doesn’t mean striking up a video call and surprising them with a question about your performance. Instead, wait until the end of the onboarding experience and send them a pre-prepared form about what they liked and what they think could be improved. You could offer a simple 1 through 10 on how satisfied they were with each aspect, but that runs the risk of getting a poorly thought-out 10/10 on every question.
Therefore, add in some text boxes to offer additional detail to each response and get a clearer idea of your strong and weak areas.
It’s not just the newbies who need to be on top of things when you welcome a new remote employee. As a manager, you need to be fully in control so you cover every element in a timely way and get your new talent to work as quickly as possible.
There are so many moving parts and things to remember when you welcome a new remote employee, and juggling that all alongside your day-to-day tasks is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, we’d recommend doing it the smart way.
Just as you can prepare templates for guides and new employee welcome letters, you can also save a template of the entire onboarding workflow. From start to finish, it contains every task so you can impress your new recruit with how on-the-ball you are and save yourself a load of stress in the process.
What’s more, you can even automate parts of your workflow. When your new employee completes a task, you can get an automatic notification for review, while the algorithms assign the next task without you lifting a finger. This helps to create a rhythm for those first few days, keeping your new employee feeling valued and engaged.
So there you have it! The secret to a seamless onboarding process is to let technology do all the heavy work so you can be there for the personal touches.
And getting a business platform that will do a lot of the work for you is closer than you think.
Bitrix24 is the organizational base for over 10,000,000 users all over the world, and it’s no surprise. With video calls, instant messenger, an organizational chart, automations, workflows, project management and so much more, it’s the perfect platform to welcome a new remote employee.So if you want to make your remote recruits feel part of the family in no time, sign up for Bitrix24 today.
You can welcome a new employee in an email by:
Using a friendly, open tone of voice.
Demonstrating how pleased you are to work with them.
Introducing other members of the team.
Outlining the next steps of their onboarding journey.