Remote Hiring: How to Effectively Onboard New Staff Without a Face-to-Face Meeting

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In recent times, our working world has been forced to fully embrace the virtual.

As Tony Soprano once said, “The hustle never ends”. Teams all over the world still have to hire, whatever the weather. But when face-to-face contact goes out the window, how can managers make sure they’re optimizing the onboarding process?

Remote working is not a new concept, but it has gained a lot of traction in recent years. Remote hiring, too, may well become the norm in the future. Here are some top tips to make sure you’re effectively onboarding when it comes time to hire some new talent.

via Giphy: When people say remote hiring isn’t as effective as face-to-face hiring.

How to Effectively Onboard New Staff

Hiring people digitally undoubtedly comes with challenges. As the internet has evolved into a clear-cut communication channel, it’s obvious that clarity isn’t the issue. You’ll be able to talk back-and-forth with your prospective hires no problem. The main problem is not a practical one – it’s more of a personal one.

1. Design a Detailed Digital Onboarding Orientation

You can’t learn how to fly a plane by reading a book. You also can’t learn the ins and outs of an agency’s ecosystem without experiencing it firsthand. Every workplace has a different rhythm, and it’s not something you can really explain over a Zoom call. Sure, you can try, but you’ll definitely leave stuff out, leading to confusion and repeated questions down the line. Time zones are also a factor to consider; depending on where your staff is, they might be working staggered hours.

To remedy this, design a detailed orientation that caters to an employee who has been hired remotely. It doesn’t matter if an element isn’t relevant to their job right now. It’s important to give them a feel of the whole agency at once.

You’re looking to avoid that “black box” situation where an employee feels like they’ve been kidnapped and imprisoned in the desert by the CIA. With a proper orientation, they’ll feel more comfortable as they land in their new virtual surroundings. They’ll also know who to turn to for what.

via Giphy: How do you virtually onboard new employees? Make sure they know they can come to you with any question.

2. Introduce Them to the Team

As soon as a new employee starts, make a point of introducing them to their team and, of course, the wider agency in general. Make them feel like they’re being welcomed in. This is going to be the first social introduction to the job that they have, so make it count!

A good move is pairing them with a “big brother/sister” for the first month if you can spare the resources. This way they can learn the ropes, learn the family, and get to know their coworkers outside of their boss.

3. Get Connected on a More Personal Level

You get the best out of your employees when they feel valued and part of a team. When you’re talking to them through a computer, you won’t get that same chance to bond on a personal level. The result is that new employees might feel a little like outsiders, and not the committed members of a team you need them to be. So how can you counter this?

Take the time to connect with them on a personal level. Yes, a Zoom meeting gives the whole thing a professional, formal air, but don’t be afraid to get a little informal. Before they start working for you, find out more about them. Ask about anything that can give you a better insight into who they are as a person, such as their:







Favorite TV show

Once you create that connection, take the time to check in on them. Don’t just chat about work; also ask about their life in general.

How Do You Keep Employees Engaged Virtually?

One aspect of remote working that some employers don’t like is that they can’t keep a watchful eye on their staff. Trust in a working relationship is something that’s built. You have to have a little there at the beginning to bring that person into your operation, but by and large, trust is earned through actions.

This effect is compounded by remote working. It can be hard to feel comfortable that your new hire is doing everything you ask of them when they’re on the other side of a screen….

Are they working the right hours?

Are they stuck on something and not asking for help?

Are they taking a double-length lunch break?

Are they even wearing pants?!

Stay Hands-On, But Know There’s a Line

Checking in with your new employees regularly can give you the chance to make sure everything is running smoothly, as well as giving them the chance to ask you any questions that they didn’t want to bother you with. Everyone’s a winner.

At the same time, you don’t want to come across as overbearing and micro-manage people. That can have the opposite effect, totally dispiriting your team. You can use Productive as a helping hand; the app will generate progress reports for all your employees, as well as helping you keep track of that all-important resource (time) with its time-management tool.

All in all, face-to-face contact is highly valuable, but you need to roll with the times. The trend these days is towards remote working. It’s on you to make sure you keep the hustle going, hiring the best candidates and implementing a system that makes them feel comfortable.

Marija Kata Vlašić

Content Marketing Specialist

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