Remote working is here to stay.
The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 made companies and workers realize that efficiency was not synonymous with an in-office working environment. In fact, 97% of employees love remote work and recommend it to others, a Buffer study says. Since the growth of remote work has increased, companies have started to innovate their onboarding programs to meet employees’ needs and create collaborative and supportive teams.
Here’s how you can implement remote onboarding plans using onboarding checklists:
What is remote employee onboarding?
Remote employee onboarding is the practice and model of onboarding designed as a remote onboarding process for virtual employees. Instead of conducting the onboarding program in person, remote employee onboarding focuses on introducing the company values and missions, making the employee feel welcomed and appreciated, and providing them with the necessary training to jumpstart their role.
Most of the remote onboarding experience is handled through video calls, online materials such as presentations, guides, webinars, team meetings, and checklists to connect new virtual employees with their teams.
According to CareerBuilder, more than 93% of employers believe that onboarding is critical for an employee’s decision to stay or leave the company.
By 2025, more than 22% of the workforce will be working remotely, Upwork suggests. Therefore, your company and HR managers must invest in an extensive remote onboarding process to ensure job satisfaction for new hires and bond the entire team.
Employee Onboarding vs. User Onboarding - What is the difference?
The ultimate goal of user onboarding and the virtual onboarding process of employees is the same: providing a comprehensive onboarding guide to familiarize the person with the company and its products.
However, how they operate the onboarding plan is different because, with user onboarding, you teach a user how to use a product and get the most value out of it. In contrast, employee onboarding involves different departments of your company and provides the necessary information and tasks to acclimate to new employees’ work life.
Here’s a list of fundamental differences between employee onboarding and user onboarding that you should know:
1) The Pace
The onboarding process for new remote hires is about patience, while user onboarding demands a straightforward and dynamic experience for each user. That is why it takes longer to complete the remote employee onboarding process.
It is vital to make new virtual employees feel welcomed and not put pressure during their onboarding period. Optimizing remote settings and providing suitable onboarding material are necessary to introduce your company’s values and create a productive virtual environment.
An effective onboarding program is not only beneficial for current employees but also will form a healthy basis and path to success for future hires.
On the other hand, user onboarding is based on “making it snappy,” saying that a user must meet the core values of a product or service as soon as possible. The longer the onboarding process takes, the more likely you are to confuse new users with complicated steps and confusing language. Therefore, adopting a faster user onboarding process helps bridge the gap between the user and the product, which increases engagement.
Innovative companies include a self-serve approach, interactive steps, and insightful guides within their user onboarding, which are great ways to handle the most significant challenges new users may encounter.
Such guides and tips make the onboarding experience smoother, highlight the core features of a product and help the users see how this service solves their problems.
2) The Duration
Related to the practice of faster user onboarding sessions, the duration of these onboarding experiences also varies.
Remote employee onboarding experience lasts for a more extended period of time because employees discover new aspects of your company with new onboarding tasks, familiarize themselves with the company’s key goals, and start interacting with their new team members regularly.
The overall employee experience depends on keeping remote workers productive and motivated, so communication tools and establishing boundaries are essential to minimize the ambiguity of a virtual environment.
Onboarding videos can only contribute to a new employee’s learning process of your company culture to a certain extent; that is why building human connections are fundamental in a remote work environment and onboarding plan.
Meanwhile, user onboarding is streamlined to deliver the most value in the shortest period to make the user reach their “aha! moment”.
Aha! moment is when a user reaches a point where they can get the intended value of a product and see how it will add value to their lives. If users take longer to reach this moment, they will switch to another solution where they can get the value faster.
Therefore, it is essential to guide users with an onboarding checklist that will show the core features of your product to new users and highlight the core functions.
A simple checklist with a progress bar is also handy to guide new users and help them explore your product.
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New virtual employees need to meet and collaborate with as many people as possible during their remote employee onboarding process.
There is no shortcut for that.
That is why your hiring manager must be able to understand the needs of new hires, cut the unnecessary or tedious administrative tasks or optimize them for a remote work environment, and include onboarding buddy and buddy programs to create a personalized and engaging hiring process.
With user onboarding, your company’s main focus should be making users discover a product or app independently and cutting back on troubleshooting requests. An exceptional onboarding experience answers users’ questions; therefore, fewer problems or concerns about the product or service are usually resolved.
In that sense, employees (and future hires) expect you to foster communication and create a genuine sense of human connection and belonging with your remote onboarding plan, whereas user onboarding is more individual-oriented.
Why do You need Remote Employee Onboarding?
Virtual onboarding is not a one-size-fits-all experience, and investing in an engaging remote employee onboarding experience has become necessary since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. However, the increasing number of remote teams raised the question of retention.
As innovative companies focus more and more on optimizing their costs and improving personal connections with their employees, prioritizing remote onboarding plans and spending more time on remote employee engagement are essential for overcoming the workforce shortage.
That is why the path to success at your company starts with the virtual onboarding process. And what is better than a seamless onboarding checklist to build a foundation with new remote hires and integrate them into your company culture?
Using Remote Onboarding Checklist to Recruit Virtual Employees
1. Start Early
If there is a perfect time to kick off your remote employee onboarding experience, it is now. The sooner, the better. There are several ways you can use to warm up your new hires before their starting date, such as:
- Adding them to your communication channels like Google Teams, Slack, email lists.
- Arranging virtual meetings with their team members, managers, or onboarding buddies.
- Sending them an informational package about your company’s culture, key goals and core values.
Get the ball rolling as soon as possible to avoid burnout and pressure so your remote employees can feel comfortable and inspired to work with your team.
2. Introduce New Employees to the Company Culture
You should make an effort to foster connections between employees; it is even more important in a virtual environment to boost the confidence of new hires. Without your support, remote employees may feel disconnected from their teams, so it is your job to provide them with content about your company’s values and practices.
You can give them digital employee handbooks and infographics to better understand your company’s structure. Meanwhile, check on your new hires regularly to see if everything is going well with their remote employee onboarding experience and offer extra assistance when needed.
3. Simplify Onboarding Tasks and Personalize Goals
Onboarding can be daunting and overwhelming.
Remote employees can feel isolated in front of their computer screens and struggle through the material they have been assigned as part of their onboarding experience.
Keep in mind that every worker is an individual with different capacities and paces. Acknowledging each worker’s uniqueness and adjusting your onboarding goals are necessary to give a proper and easy transition from an in-office workplace to a remote environment.
You can consider:
- Building a series of small tasks that the employee can track.
- Sharing task calendars and team sprints to increase productivity.
- Defining short-term and long-term goals.
- Scheduling 1:1 meetings to discuss tasks and motivation and resolve potential problems.
4. Create a Sense of Community
Getting company swag is good, but it does not eliminate the loneliness factor your new remote employees might face. You need to be inclusive before day one.
Providing the necessary remote work software and hardware, assigning company email addresses and e-signatures, and creating employee profiles in advance all contribute to the sense of community and belonging.
In addition, you should assign “onboarding buddies” that employees can contact without pressure to ask questions, raise concerns and learn together.
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On a Final Note
In short, the remote employee onboarding trend is predicted to increase over the next few years as more and more employees look for remote positions. To increase employee retention and satisfaction, creating a remote onboarding plan that will cheer your new hires’ accomplishments and provide the necessary support for their tasks is crucial.
Using an onboarding checklist and optimizing your onboarding process can be beneficial for engaging your new remote employees. Offer inclusivity, connection, open communication, and flexibility, and understand that there might be bumps in the road.