What Is Employee Onboarding?
It's not just about saying, "Welcome to our company!" In fact, employee onboarding is what sets either a solid or faulty foundation for new hires. An effective team member onboarding process makes a big difference, including increased job satisfaction and productivity, lowered stress levels, and reduced turnover.
How Has Remote Work Impacted Employee Onboarding?
The pandemic has ushered in a "new normal" of social distancing, remote work, and meetings powered by video conferencing platforms. As the nature of management, recruitment, and onboarding has changed, companies have been forced to adapt by developing new onboarding programs for incoming talent. Some new hires have only experienced minimal in-person interaction with managers or colleagues in the office; others have only ever met their coworkers over Zoom or Skype.
While necessary, such changes in the employee onboarding process have come with their share of challenges. The onboarding process is key to employee retention and is thus a critical part of an organization's overall recruitment and talent management strategy. What can you do to ensure your remote team member onboarding program is successful?
Employee Onboarding Best Practices
The following information discusses the best practices for employee onboarding, including how to do it remotely due to the pandemic. These suggestions will help make your new hires feel comfortable, equip them for their work duties, and ultimately enable them to thrive in their new position.
Make Sure Employees Have All Necessary Equipment
If your employees require specialized equipment to perform their work, ensure they have that equipment on hand before their first day. This may require that you deliver the needed equipment several weeks in advance; that way, they'll be able to get acclimated and won't have such a steep learning curve on the job.
Of course, you'll also need to ensure that your new hires have all their required credentials. Their company accounts need to be set up, and they need to verify that they can log into those accounts. Make sure they know which apps they'll be expected to use and have those downloaded onto the appropriate device. On the back end, you'll also need to add them to any mailing list or other communication channel for their department and team.
Consider leveraging a solution like Lenet to make the IT aspects of the remote onboarding process a breeze. In our team member onboarding platform, submitting an onboarding request takes minutes. Once your request is submitted, our team will handle the rest. This includes: 1) device provisioning & procurement; 2) application, software, & file access; and 3) credential management.
Ensure that All Resources are Accessible
You may also need to double-check that each new team member understands how to use essential resources and access key information related to the onboarding and training process. For example, almost one-quarter of American workers are using online collaboration tools for the first time. It may take some time for these workers to master even the basics of Zoom or other video conferencing platforms.
Have a Clear Training Plan in Place
Unsurprisingly, many new hires may have trouble staying focused during virtual training sessions. After all, there is almost always some distraction that arises around the home — and when small children are involved, all bets are off!
So as an onboarding best practice, have a solid training plan ready to go; then, you can help your new hires to stay on target and learn what they need to know to perform essential job activities. That being the case, your training program must be job-specific. For example, a new hire in-store support may need to understand policies around order fulfillment, product returns, and so forth. At the same time, a team member in sales will likely benefit from a deep dive into a featured product or service.
Additionally, it's essential to set clear expectations for progress at the start of the training process. If you provide new employees with a "roadmap" for the next few weeks, they'll be in a better position to gauge their progress and make adjustments as needed.
Schedule Regular Feedback Sessions
When dealing with a 100% virtual work environment, it's usually better to over-communicate rather than under-communicate, at least at the start. Driving this point home, one survey found that 72% of employees view one-on-one time with their direct manager as the most critical aspect of any pre-boarding or onboarding process.
Don't be afraid to frequently "check in" with new hires—schedule sessions between them and their teams, direct managers, and other key players in their development. In addition, please encourage them to ask questions and give feedback during these sessions. You can always pull back if you find that they are doing well and don't require much-personalized management.
Why IT Makes a Difference in Employee Onboarding
So what does a seamless team member onboarding process actually look like? Sure, introducing new hires to everyone in the company and creating a memorable first day for them is essential, but that's not what will help them do their job. Adequate IT support will help give them all the tools they need to get up and run.
That means setting new employees with a company email, making sure they have access to the necessary apps and accounts, and assigning them any appropriate devices. It also means ensuring they understand company policies on passwords, cybersecurity, and, if applicable, bringing their own devices. Remember that this should be done before they even set foot in the office.
Much of this may seem obvious, but even overlooking just one of these tasks will cause your new hire to struggle on the job; if they don't know that they're supposed to use a particular program, they won't be able to ask, "What's my account info?" in case you forget to give it to them.
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