The Key to Successful Remote Onboarding

It doesn’t matter how big or small your charity, or how junior the role—good onboarding is essential if you want to retain the best talent. The first 90 days in a new job – otherwise known as the golden period – is a vital time for employers, allowing them to reap unparalleled rewards in terms of employee retention, engagement, satisfaction and productivity. According to Digigate’s 2020 Report, employees who had a negative onboarding experience are twice as likely to look for other career opportunities in the future. 

The pandemic has meant that many organisations now conduct their onboarding processes remotely, which means that slight adjustments will have to be made.  

In this blog post, we’ll go through our tips for creating a smooth onboarding process—from training to document collection. We’ve included sections specifically targeted at remote onboarding, which might be helpful if you’re looking to go down this route.  

1. Before the first Day

The first day at any job can be nerve-racking, so ensure your new employee is completely prepared. 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.  

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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 meeting 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 meeting 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.  

In a remote setup: All of the above meetings will be done online, so make doubly sure that you have everything you need set up well in advance – add videoconferencing links to your meeting invitations and ensure that your new employee is set up on your software and knows how to use it.  

3. Meet-and-greets with the team 

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 start work. 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…).  

In a remote setup: 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.  

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. 

5. 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?   

You can walk new employees through things like keeping track of donor calls, email databases and the like 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.  

In a remote setup: All of the above still applies. You can do it effectively via screen sharing. 

technology avoiding bias in recruitment

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.  

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

communicate with candidates remotely

8. Diversity 

Don’t forget about promoting diversity in your organisation. Let your new hires know that inclusion is important to you. If it’s included in your charity’s values, make sure you stress this. Empower your managers to be diversity and inclusion leaders, by introducing this subject from the very beginning of an employee’s journey with you.   

It might be tempting to just go with the flow and teach your new employee everything on the job. But many studies such as prove that a well-planned onboarding process will bring both you and your new employee rewards in the long run. Remote onboarding may take a bit of getting used to, but adapting to a remote working styleisn’t a tall task. It’s all about communication, flexibility and building trust. Strike a balance between all three and your new starter will feel well-supported and increasingly comfortable in the team.  

Tags: charity sector, charity sector recruitment, employee onboarding

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About the author

Ewa Jozefkowicz

CharityJob’s Content Manager Ewa Jozefkowicz has a passion for all things digital, particularly when it comes to UX and writing engaging copy. In her spare time she likes to travel and devour huge quantities of books.