How to Onboard New Hires Remotely

We’re in the midst of a technological shift. With a majority of the country self-quarantined, large aspects of our working lives have gone remote. From interviewing candidates to welcoming them on board, we’re having to adjust and adapt to keep things moving in the current economic climate. And no one ever said that would ever be easy.

But it’s far from impossible. You can still arm your employees with everything they need to do their jobs successfully, just in a slightly more digital way.

remote recruiting tactics

Charities that are ahead of the curve

Plenty of charities are paving the way for what some might call the ‘remote revolution’, utilising tools like Zoom and Skype to carry out their daily tasks.

Take, for example, the mental health organisation, Talk for Health. They’ve gone completely remote, providing the following information on their website for beneficiaries and employees:

“ You and others can join all current and future Talk for Health Cafés, Chair & Share groups, Tasters and Talk for Health programmes using a computer, laptop, smartphone, ordinary mobile phone or landline. Technophobes, don’t be scared – it’s not as hard as it seems – and we aim to give everyone the help they need to get on board. ”

Talk for Health

Of course, not all charities can go 100% remote. Some still have to be hands-on in the work they’re doing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t start to apply a few social distancing tactics amongst employees and new hires.

If you can induct an employee virtually, then, by all means, do it. It’s just a small part of a larger effort to curb the effects of the virus.

How to create a remote onboarding process

Now, you may be asking yourself, how do I even go about inducting someone virtually? Of course, there are legal requirements to consider—things like identity verification and processing and signing documents. And all of these can be done but in a slightly more roundabout way.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything from training to document collection. Here are a few of our top tips for onboarding new employees in a remote landscape.

remote onboarding for a charity

1. Before the first day

The first day at any job can be nerve-racking, but factor in the remote aspect and you’ll need to pay extra attention to ensure your new employee is completely prepared. So send over anything they need ahead of time.

This could include things like the employee handbook, information about working hours and any equipment they might require (laptop, notebooks, etc). Of course, you may want to ask them to use their own equipment until the social distancing restrictions are lifted, but in that case, you just need to make sure they’re doing so in a GDPR compliant way.

2. Create a clear schedule for the first week

It’s important to be absolutely clear about what you expect from your new hire in the first week. Providing a schedule is a great way to do this.

Here’s just one example of what you could put together:

  • 9.30-10.30: Welcome call with manager
  • 10.30-11.30: Team introductions
  • 11.30-12.00: Review website and charity missions
  • 12.00-13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00-14.00: HR induction
  • 14.00-16.00: Task set by manager
  • 16.00-17.00: Debrief call with manager

Of course, this will vary depending on the role and the organisation, but the first week should essentially be easing them into things.

set a schedule for remote onboarding

3. Virtual meet-and-greets with the team

Getting to know the team is a bit part of making a new employee feel comfortable—have you considered hosting a virtual meet-and-greet? Many organisations do company-wide inductions for new hires, so it’s a good idea to keep these going

These can be spread out over the first week or even be done before the new hire starts, allowing them to get to know a few people so they don’t feel out of place when they log on that first day. It doesn’t have to be all about work, but these are a good way to connect names and faces with job titles, so encourage your employees to share a bit about what they do and a few fun facts about themselves (hobbies, interests, Netflix obsessions…).

You might even consider booking in a few digital coffee breaks over the first few weeks to ensure your new hire feels like part of the team.

4. Consider assigning them a buddy

Mentors are a great way to show someone the ropes and make them feel more comfortable. By providing each new hire a buddy or mentor, they have someone they can go to with any questions (without fear of embarrassment).

It also means they have someone to talk to periodically throughout the day, avoiding hours of isolation. We’d recommend making this person someone who isn’t at management level. That way, if your new hire is a bit shy, they don’t have that added fear of looking like they’re not capable of doing something.

remote onboarding video mentor

5. Set up a screen share to go through necessary tools

Now onto the nitty-gritty things…human resources. Do you use a company intranet or CRM? Do you need to show them how a certain program works? Screensharing is a great way to do this.

You can walk new employees through things like keeping track of donor calls, email databases and the like by sharing your screen and giving them a step-by-step tutorial in real-time. You can’t expect them to memorise everything straight away, but it at least gives them a starting point to build from.

6. Training and goal setting

There are certain things all employees must do when they first get started, and training is a big part of this. Create a plan and send through any training materials they’ll need to go through in the first few weeks—self-study materials, online training videos, etc. You want to make sure you can get them up to speed as quickly as possible.

This is also the perfect time to touch on goals. Goal setting is a great way to keep a new employee from feeling lost—so why not provide a road map of what you expect within the first few months? This will help your new hire feel engaged and have a clear sense of what’s expected of them.

remote onboarding video training

7. Document signing and verification

Of course, the legal side of inducting a new hire needs to be considered. Things like document verification, signing contracts and sending over a P45 is still very much part of onboarding, and you can’t simply hold off on that until a later date. You want to be legally compliant.

But many charities are getting creative with this. They’re using apps like DocuSign and Adobe Acrobat to allow users to provide an electronic signature. And some charities are even asking their new hires to send a photo of themselves holding their passport or photo ID to verify identity.

In most instances, new hires can still scan the necessary documents and email them over.

It’s an adjustment, but not an impossible task

Though it may take a bit of getting used to, adapting to a remote working style isn’t a tall task. In fact, many charities have an advantage because they’re already set up for remote working and onboarding. But for those that aren’t, it’s all about communication, trust and flexibility.

And if anything good comes out of this, it’s the idea that people can (and do) work effectively even when they’re working from home. If this doesn’t change attitudes and misconceptions, then nothing else can.

Got any other questions about remote recruitment or onboarding? Get in touch with us today.

Tags: Covid-19 resources, digital landscape, employee onboarding, remote working

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About the author

Stephanie Dotto

Content & SEO Lead at CharityJob. Lover of fiction, films and food. In a previous life, she was a music and tourism journalist. When she’s not writing and editing blog content, she is working on her novel.