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Who Should Be Responsible for Remote Onboarding? (It’s Not Who You Think.)

It seems the days of herding every new employee to the same location for onboarding is a relic of the past. Remote onboarding has become the new Welcome Wagon.

That isn’t because remote onboarding is easier—in fact, it’s just the opposite.

Keeping your new hires engaged throughout the process and beyond is no cakewalk. And it’s not a job that should be tasked solely to HR.

Even with the best HR minds in your company, you’re still going to need all hands on deck from all levels of management, a lineup of resources, clear communication, and program support to make your remote onboarding process successful.

Challenging? Yes, but far from impossible. It all starts with lining up the right resources.

Even with the best HR minds in your company, you’re still going to need all hands on deck from all levels of management, a lineup of resources, clear communication, and program support to make your remote onboarding process successful.

Remote Onboarding Requires More Resources

You may be happy not having to spring for boxed lunches anymore, but you will have to allocate more time, resources, and (potentially) money to make your remote onboarding process work.

Technology and Troubleshooting

A new remote employee must be connected to the company and empowered to use technology right away. That means setting up their laptops, shared drives, user profiles, and systems security before their start date.

Plus, they’ll undoubtedly have a multitude of questions about passwords, accessing additional apps, files—you name it. Those requests could keep an IT resource busy full time … and most IT departments don’t have a resource to spare. You may need to budget for an additional IT help desk hire or augment the team with some outsourcing.

Allocating Managers’ Time

IT isn’t the only department that has to budget for more time or reallocate resources to accommodate remote onboarding: Other specialists need to make more room in their calendars as well.

Before remote work was commonplace, companies would often wait to do employee onboarding until there were a minimum number of new hires. Why? Because the traditional onboarding process involved bringing in new hires into a room together where key representatives from each department would talk about their area of the business.

A remote environment makes it much easier to onboard whenever you want, whether it’s for 10 new hires or just one at a time. As such, many companies may choose to onboard on demand … and department representatives may sometimes have to participate in onboarding multiple times in a month.

As such, all management—right up to the top—must be understanding when onboarding duties create a need for flexibility on other tasks or deliverables.

Shipping and Other Costs

Keep in mind that you’ll be doing more shipping to remote employees for equipment, new employee swag packages, and anything else you need to send to help them do their jobs and feel welcome.

Clear Communication Is Critical

Once new hires start working, it’s important that they feel connected and up to date on what’s happening in the company.

Remote employees don’t have the benefit of in-office chatter to learn what’s happening, which makes clear communication essential.

Company Goals Should Come Directly From the Top

Every time your senior leadership presents company news, company goals or KPIs, and progress updates, make sure every employee can experience the presentation—either live or by watching a recording.

Don’t rely on managers to carry the content and weight of those updates with their team in a remote environment. There are too many other things they need to cover in team meetings, and key information will likely be summarized into briefer, less inspiring messages than if heard firsthand.

Of course, there are confidential presentations that can’t be shared right away, but it’s critical that all employees hear important updates from senior leaders. Ensuring all employees hear the same message sets managers up for success.

Managers Must Translate Goals Into Actions

When a new employee joins the team, managers can share key communications and recorded presentations to help new hires understand what the company’s goals are and how their work fits into the bigger picture.

But to take it a step further, managers should build on that understanding by sharing the actionable team plans that roll up to each company goal. From there, they can narrow the discussion to individual expectations.

After Onboarding Comes Expectations

A new hire should have a clear picture of what success looks like for the first 100 days and beyond.

Employees Need to Know What’s Expected of Them to Succeed

Having a clear set of responsibilities and expected outcomes makes prioritizing and scheduling work a million times easier. That predictability and clarity set up employees for quick wins that build confidence and momentum for future success.

It’s not uncommon for company structure or reporting relationships to change after an employee starts, so clear expectations are even more important for helping new employees adapt and continue to succeed.

Managers Need to Connect With New Employees

Remote teams depend on communication and connection with managers and team members. For new employees, establishing that connection immediately is essential.

At WellRight, we believe the responsibility for an employee’s success in their first year falls on the manager more than the employee. That’s why we encourage managers to start establishing a relationship with new employees right away.

Use positive reinforcement and constructive feedback so employees are clear on when they’ve succeeded and what steps they can take to improve. Managers can avoid confusion and misunderstanding by using tangible examples when assigning deliverable tasks.

One of the best ways to help new employees connect is through your wellness platform.

Your Wellness Platform Plays a Crucial Role

If you have a robust wellness platform like WellRight’s, we recommend leveraging it to connect new employees regardless of where they work. Our platform has almost limitless flexibility to create engagement whether your employees are remote or in the office.

Information Hub

An online library is a great place to store senior leadership messages and important recordings that can help new employees get up to speed quickly.

Messaging and Groups

Groups for employee teams, new hires, employees in the same geographical areas, and more encourage connection and simulate the “water cooler” experience.

Wellness Challenges

This is where things get really fun.

Create custom wellness challenges that promote team building and help new employees learn about your company in a fun way. Consider a trivia challenge based on elements of your company’s culture or puzzles that reveal your company’s biggest goals or mission.

You can also encourage new employees to create their own goals and find challenges designed to help achieve them.

A little healthy competition is always good, too. Peer-to-peer, team-against-team, and company wide challenges are great avenues for making a new employee feel part of the culture, their team, and the family that is your company’s employee base.

Remote onboarding depends on more than just HR. Your whole company plays a role in making new employees feel welcome and set up for success. If you’d like assistance with any part of your remote onboarding process, contact one of our consultants—they can provide guidance and tools to make it easier. At WellRight, we’re here to help.


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