5 Phases for Successful Remote Onboarding of New Employees

Great onboarding experience is the crucial first step in getting a successful new hire.

Studies shows, successful onboarding will improve employee retention by up to 82%. Furthermore, employees are found to be 50% more engaged and satisfied at their new job if their onboarding experience is positive.

With many organizations progressing to onboard their employees remotely.

The importance of successful remote onboarding has become critical.

Studies shows, a new hire will have to experience 54 different activities during their onboarding process, which can be quite overwhelming.

What is remote onboarding?

Remote employee onboarding is the process of preparing the new hire to work remotely rather than from the office. Onboarding is performed virtually, which includes a series of workshops, training sessions, video calls, and exercises.

A great remote onboarding experience for your new employees will need to achieve the following:

  • Reduce time required training and preparing a new hire to become an employee which delivers.
  • Motivates and increases new hire’s engagement and job satisfaction.
  • Build great rapport and trust with the remote team and cross-functionally.

Here we will discover the most important phases to a successful remote onboarding experience.

PS. Check out our Ultimate Virtual Onboarding Checklist!

5 Phase onboarding process for remote employees

Phase 1: Pre-boarding

Pre-boarding is the process your company has when the candidate accepts their job offer, till the time when the new hire starts their first day of work in the company. The goal is to prepare the new hire both administratively and mentally for their first day.

Pre-boarding is a great way to mentally prepare your new hire on:

  • Understanding of company’s mission, vision, and culture.
  • Administrative issues such as; company accounts, emails, and documentation to be submitted to the government.
  • Technological issues such as laptops, company handphone and other hardware necessary to do the job.

As most new hire can feel anxious or even doubtful of their choice in joining a new company, preparing them for the onboarding process can help to ease these tensions and make their first day enjoyable.

Here are some ways you can help your new employee to transition from getting their job offer, to starting their first day at work: 

  • Send your new hire a welcome message by phone or by email. This will help them feel they are part of the team and will be more comfortable to reach out if required.
  • Provide your new hire videos or information to read about the company to allow them to understand the values and mission of the company.
  • Give your new hire a snippet of information on the company’s culture and policy.
  • Get your HR counterparts to perform all the administrative works required for their first day at work.
  • Get your IT counterparts to prepare and sent the hardware required for them to work remotely effectively.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Pre-boarding process is a great time to help set the tone for your team to prepare for future challenges.

Phase 2: Social Onboarding

Social Onboarding is the process where new hires build social capital by connecting people to become a valuable member of the organization or company. This is an essential process to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors that increase the return on a new hire.

Social onboarding generally occurs during the first 30 to 90 days of onboarding. 

This is especially important in a virtual environment. Good social onboarding can help to “humanized” the onboarding experience.

Here are some of the events that may occur during social onboarding:

  • Connecting new hires with the members of the company. New hires may be asked to make an introduction video with a list of guided questions. Matching a name to a face can help the new hire to integrate into the company or organization better.
  • Connecting new hires with others who are new. Getting the employees to get to know each other, whom they can relate and support. Building a unique bond with those whom are of the same ‘cohort’ or ‘class’ helps to develop a community that will last for a long time.
  • Connect new hires with a buddy. Getting a buddy to be the person whom you can easily approach and seek advice will probably be the best way to help integrate the new employee into the team. Studies shows, this boosts 87% hiring proficiency.
  • Connecting new hires with their leaders. Getting the employee to understand the expectations and visions of their leaders will help to understand priorities and the team’s objectives. Leaders may establish periodical one-to-one communications with the employees to answer questions and align expectations.
  • Connecting new hires with their mentors. Mentors are seniors that have been in the organizations or company for a long period of time. These are people who are generally at least two-level hierarchy above the employee that can offer networking and career advice. A great mentor can help guide and nurture new hires in their career journey with their wealth of experience.

“We focus first on the people and how we incorporate them into our company, and then we focus on how to drive the business.”

― John Chambers, Executive Chairman, and former CEO of Cisco Systems

Phase 3: Training

Even with experience, when your new hire steps into a new company, they will require some training to be productive in the role.

  • Get trained in the new process.
  • Get trained in the new procedures.
  • Get trained in the new system.
  • Get assessed for their competence after the training is performed.
  • Get qualified for the task prior to starting their role.

At the end of the first month of onboarding, your new hire will typically be trained in all the necessary skills and knowledge to start providing value to the team or company.

Time required to train a new employee depends on the job role and the company’s regulations. Generally, it takes 2 weeks to train a new employee.

Job roles which have complex process and requirements may require on-the-job training. These trainings can last from 1 month to 6 months.

Phase 4: Starting The First Assignment

At this phase of the onboarding process, your new hire is already equipped with all the necessary skills, knowledge, and connections to get the job done.

Typically, your new hire will reach this phase at the first three months of work.

You can assign goals and assignments to your new hire. This will give them a sense of progression and gain a deeper understanding of what they are expected to do.

Here’s what you as the hiring manager can do:

  • Set key performance indicators according to the team’s priories.
  • Set goals with your new hire using the S.M.A.R.T. or F.A.S.T. Goals methodology to give them a sense of ownership.
  • Set routine tier meetings with your employees and your new hire so that it may foster a team’s sense of belonging.
  • Create a list of items to be accomplished for the first few months; a checklist or task board will be a good suggestion to keep new hires engaged.
  • Create an open communication culture for your remote employee, so that they can reach out and ask questions if necessary. This is especially important for new hires.

5. Ongoing Support

The toughest part of the remote onboarding process is the first 3 months. These 3 months are the important period where your new hire will need to integrate into the team and learn to complete all task remotely.

Essentially by the end of the third month, your new hire has already become a part of the family.

They are starting to understand their responsibility in the new role and have started delivering their deliverables according to their goals and the company’s objective.

Nonetheless, the journey of onboarding doesn’t end there.

“Onboarding will evolve into employee engagement and retention.”

Ongoing support for employees in the workplace can help sustain, or boost employee’s competence, and thus their level of interest in their work. Employees who feel valued and supported will perform better at work, and go the extra mile in performing their duties.

In other words, ongoing support is essential for improving employee’s retention and boosting employee’s job satisfaction at work.

  • 82% increase in employee retention if the new hire experience a good employee onboarding experience.
  • 88% of all organizations and companies have bad or no onboarding process.
  • 2 times more likely to look for new job opportunities if new hire faces bad onboarding experience.

Ready to Setup Your Own Remote Onboarding Process?

Starting a new job is mostly stressful; a new environment, a new way of work style, the meeting of new people and meeting their new boss.

You can help your new hire to help integrate into your team by creating a smooth onboarding process.

With these 5 phases incorporated into your onboarding plans, you’ll boost engagement, loyalty, productivity, and even help retain your employees to grow with the company.

5 Phases of Remote Onboarding:

  1. Pre-Boarding
  2. Social Onboarding
  3. Training
  4. Starting The First Assignment
  5. Ongoing Support

What are Some Companies with Great Onboarding Experience?

Netflix

Netflix transforms the whole entertainment industry in just a few short years. Not only it overtakes Blockbuster as the greatest movies provider, this company also has over 200 million memberships in more than 190 countries.

Getting its people prepared is what makes Netflix successful. Highly focus on the pre-boarding process, they set their new employees ready for the new challenges before day 1 of work.

On your first day of work, Netflix will engage new hires and let them make an impact.

Setting ambitious goals for achieving the company’s mission, onboarding process in Netflix can be exciting.

Stack Overflow

Stack overflow is a public platform for all coders with various backgrounds and technical skills to gather. It is a community-based space that helps its users to find and contribute answers to technical challenges that will change the online world.

Every new hire will be invited to an orientation calls with members of the executive team to learn about the company’s history, values, and overall goals.

Removing the communication barriers between employees and the decision-makers, Stack Overflow has one of the most unique onboarding experience for the new hire.

Disney

Not that much on remote onboarding but love to put this on this list. Disney is not only a company that creates dreamlike fantasy for children with characters such as, Mickey and Minnie, the onboarding process of Disney is just as amazing.

New hires are not treated simply as employees, but rather as characters who will journey into the fantasy world of Disney;

  • Learning the history of Disney
  • Trivia games with prizes to be won.
  • Group activities with their favorite characters

Fostering the bonds between employees and the company, Disney is probably one of the best in giving the most amazing onboarding experience, we’ve ever encountered.

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