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Onboarding checklist - Ultimate guide to onboard new hires remotely
Onboarding a new hire in a remote work environment can be tough. Tackle this by using an onboarding checklist while remotely onboarding new hires.
Ben Breckler passionately remembers his onboarding at Doist and talks about how he was even sponsored for a trip so that he could meet up with his mentor. Doist, being a fully remote firm, has got in place some amazing guidelines for remote work. These include multiple sets rules telling of what the process should be like when a new hire is getting onboarded. We had a pretty interesting discussion going on around this topic on Remote Clan, too. Some of our members shared inputs on how remote employee onboarding takes place in their firms. Having an onboarding checklist and best practices is a very vital thing in this process.
If you are new to remote working, there are a few things you should always have in place while getting a new hire onboard. To make this process easier for you, we have put together the ultimate guide for onboarding new hires remotely. Without further ado, let's dive right into these points:
New Hire Onboarding Checklist:
We will divide this checklist into three parts. The first will be a set of things to get into place internally before the first day. The second will be the first day/ week for a new hire depending on how many things there are that need to be introduced. And the last stage will be a continuous stage which will come into play after the first day/ week. We explain the three parts and the sub-parts in detail below:
1) Before the start date
Your remote team needs to have a few things in place when a new hire is expected to join. As a first step in our ultimate new hire onboarding checklist:
Offer letter and documents: Mail a copy of the offer letter to the new hire. Have them sign it and send it over to you. Do this a few days before the new hire starts work with your firm. Make sure that they ask you in case there is any doubt in the contract.
Background check and info: Know the background of the new hire. Their educational details, the firms they've worked with earlier, and any concerns that might be there in their profile. Understand if they will be a good fit into the culture of your company.
Google Suite and other links: It is most likely that your firm uses Google suite for email, storage and a multitude of other things. Keep the new hire's account ready for them to use. Give this to them in advance so that they can just sign in and start. Invites to Slack groups, etc. should be a part of this.
Workstation: In a remote setting, it is vital to have a good workstation. Tell them the essentials they will need such as a good WiFi connection and a speedy laptop. If your company provides assistance to the members for these things, then have it done a few days in advance. Test these to avoid any hassle.
Plan: Have a schedule ready for the new hire in your onboarding checklist. The first day could be a similar one for all new hires, since it will only comprise of introductions to the branches. It should ideally be a brief overview of the things that are done in the company such that it doesn't overwhelm the new member. Have also a longer plan of when you want them to start picking up other things.
Assign a mentor: If the new hire is going to a certain team, have them paired up with a mentor in that team. If your company is a smaller one, have a senior employee in charge of the junior. Tell this mentor that their schedule for the next few days would revolve around the new person's onboarding.
Keep the team in the know: The rest of the team should be prepared to welcome the new person. They should also know that they will have to pitch in from time to time to get the new person started.
2.a) On the first day
The first day is the most overwhelming for a new hire, remote or otherwise. It is key to set a good and lasting impression while making it easier for the employee. Ticking these things off the list on the very first day will also save you from any hassle in the future.
Document collection: When the new employee gets started, they might have to submit some documents. These will include the stuff such as bank details, any certificates, etc. as required by your rule-book.
Introductions: Have a session where the new hire gets to know the other members of the team. Make this fun and interactive so that it acts like an ice breaker. Also encourage your team to consciously take steps to make the new hire feel included.
Reading the documentation: Have the new member read the handbook and understand the processes. This need not be an in-depth understanding, but they should not be completely aloof to the things that are going to be explained to them. This could be done before the joining as well as a continuous process.
Overview: Various members of the team should give a brief on the various things that happen in the firm, the company's goals and such data can be shared on the first day. All of this may happen over video calls. This will also breed familiarity among the team.
First day review: Have a review session at the end of the day where the new hire explains briefly the things he/ she learnt that day. Understand how their experience has been and try to gauge how it is likely to be in the coming days.
2.b) In the first week
Understanding of the working: This could be an extension of the overview point mentioned in the above section. Here the employee will have more elaborate sessions with the other team members that directly work with him and try to get get an idea of it.
Ease in to the role: The new hire has a defined function that you want them to take up. You can start by giving them a bit of it each day of the first week and getting them to finish a certain amount. Increase the work daily or after every 2-3 days.
Sessions with the mentor: Have the mentor talk to the new hire, if not over video calls, then over any text communication channel that your team uses. Since this is the primary POC for the new hire, they will need to extensively train the new person for a lot of things. And it's best if time is dedicated for this every day.
Review: At the end of the initial week, when your new hire will start working on the thing they are going to be responsible for, have a review of their work so far. This way, they already know what to work on and where to improve so that they can start implementing this the next week itself.
3) After the first week
Check-ins with the mentor: It is good that for the first few days, other members convey the things they want to tell the new hire through the mentor. This is so that the mentor can guide them on how to go about it. It can also be intimidating to know new stuff directly from a third person and some things may be left out. Weekly meetings can be planned in the long run.
Daily goals: Have a daily target of the amount of work to be accomplished. This way the new hire will consciously work on meeting it and will plan their day in such a way, too. Alternately, you could also try making a schedule for their day.
Regular reviews: Not as often, but at regular intervals you can suggest places where there is a scope for improvement and have them work on this. This is to be a set thing for all employees in the firm.
Feedback session: Ask the hire for their feedback on the onboarding process and their experience. You could use these with new people in the future, too. It will also make them feel that their voice matters and is a good addition to the onboarding checklist.
Suggestions for process improvements: A new hire will be curious about the process and also in a better place to find loopholes. Keep an open mindset and ask them to tell you where they think there can be improvements.
Informal events: In a remote setting, it is easier to feel isolated. Hence, have informal meetings and make your team have fun. These could be simple games, too. We have written more about such relationship building activities here.
Next steps in the onboarding checklist
One amazing way of ensuring that a recent hire is comfortable with the process is to make them explain a part of the process to a new hire. Eventually, they can act as mentors, too. But it's best to just start with a session for a new hire. As they gain perfection in their fields, then is a good time to give them more responsibilities. By this time, the hire should also have a good idea of how the company works. They should be able to internalize this and make it a part of their routine and take ownership of their part. This will also encourage them to constantly make it better and work towards a positive growth for your company.
Does the above onboarding checklist cover all the points which you feel are required? Are we missing anything? Write to us and let us know. Along the same lines, to make the onboarding even better and as a compliment to the onboarding checklist, we have written on the best practices to follow while onboarding remote employees. Do check it out!
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