Onboarding remote employees can be a daunting task for managers. Establishing an effective onboarding program for new hires is challenging enough, but it becomes even more complex when dealing with remote employees or virtual assistants. If not done correctly, the lack of a structured onboarding process can lead to confusion and decreased productivity.
To build a successful onboarding program for your remote employees, you must strategize and plan each step of their introduction to the company and new roles. Here are 4 tips for building a victorious onboarding program for remote employees.
Set clear expectations from the start
One essential part of onboarding is ensuring your new hires understand the company's expectations for them as quickly as possible. That doesn't mean you should give employees a rundown of every possible metric they should be tracking, and what they need to do each minute of the day. Instead, it means setting clear expectations for communication and collaboration and how the employees can and should contribute to the team.
Most importantly, design your expectations with the realities of remote work in mind. Suppose your team members are distributed around the country, nearshore, or around the globe. In that case, you need to consider that they'll have different schedules and availability than if they all worked in a single office. Nonetheless, different time schedules don’t have to be an issue if you hire a nearshore virtual assistant.
Establish remote-friendly training tools and processes
To set the right expectations and get new hires up to speed quickly, you need to have remote-friendly tools and processes in place.
Remote-friendly training tools include video conferencing, screen-sharing software, and social media tools like Slack. These tools allow you to conduct training and meetings remotely while maintaining relative ease, efficiency, and effectiveness.
As for remote-friendly processes, you must ensure that you set up meetings and onboarding sessions and consider the realities of working remotely.
Screen-sharing tools like Zoom and GoToMeeting make it easy to include remote employees in meetings and training without requiring anyone to hop on a plane. A virtual whiteboard tool like Microsoft OneNote can help you keep track of meeting notes without creating stacks of sticky notes on your desk.
Make introductions to key people and tools
As part of your onboarding program for new hires, you should introduce your remote employees to crucial people and tools in the company. You can do this in person if you have a co-located team or remotely.
To help introduce new hires to critical people and tools, you first need to create a short list of who and what is essential to your company's success. This list should include relevant people and tools for your remote employees' job functions.
To help you create this list, you can use the 3-3-3 method. For each item on your list, you should identify three things essential for your remote employees to know and understand. This list could include the person's role in the company, what they do, how they fit into the team, or how they can help your employees succeed in their roles. It could also be an essential tool or software that your remote employees need to know how to use.
Track productivity with quantifying metrics
As you're tracking and monitoring metrics for your remote team, it's crucial to keep tabs on each person's productivity. Keeping tabs on each person helps you understand where your team members are succeeding and struggling and gives you an idea of where they could use some help or guidance.
To track productivity, you first need to define what productivity means for your business. Are you focused on metrics like revenue or conversion rate? Are you more concerned with productivity in relation to time, with metrics like an average number of hours per project or average length of customer service calls?
As you're tracking your team members' metrics, remember to be flexible and open to the fact that things may not go as planned. Let's say you're monitoring project times and notice one of your team members has been averaging five hours per project. You also see that their metrics are below the rest of the team in general. You could immediately conclude why this is happening, especially if you're new to managing a remote team. But it's probably best to keep an open mind and collect more data before reaching conclusions.
When managing a remote team, the initial onboarding process is even more critical to their productivity and your company's success. Remote employees don't have the option of popping into the break room to talk to their peers or stopping by their manager's office to ask questions.
You have to be even more deliberate about ensuring they know how to succeed at their jobs. To do this, you need to start your remote employees' onboarding with a clear understanding of the company's goals, culture, and expectations.
You also must ensure to equip your employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed. To maintain this successful onboarding program, you also need to track productivity and use that data to help your employees improve and grow.
If you're ready to onboard remote workers to your company, consider insourcing nearshore employees that can aid in your company’s digital operations. At Cápita Works, we offer nearshore virtual assistants from Mexico that work as full-time employees for your company. For more information, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.