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5 methods for distant onboarding (in or out of lockdown)

October
7, 2020

5 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

The COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates tossed a few curveballs to small business owners.

Businesses were asked not only to be nimble and innovative enough to keep the lights on during the crisis, but also to prepare for the economy to reopen. Smart entrepreneurs used this opportunity wisely to reach and hire the candidates they wanted.

Now that the world is starting to recover, many of these employers are tasked with bringing in their new team members. But how can this be achieved when bans are still in place in certain parts of the country? What's more, when employees are increasingly allowed to work full-time from home as part of the new normal, how will companies make future remote settings?

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RETS Associates is a highly experienced recruiting company with years of experience in customer loyalty and knows what employers and employees need to achieve effective onboarding in all circumstances. Given the changes in the business world in recent months, RETS recommends the following strategies to successfully integrate remote settings now and in the future.

1. Use video conferencing tools.

With so many business professionals getting used to using tools like Zoom for video conferencing during lockdown, onboarding is a great time to start using this tool.

Video conferencing can be an important link between employers and their new remote team members, especially during the onboarding process. Seeing employees' faces promotes camaraderie and warmth.

Schedule a welcome meeting with the entire team via Zoom or other preferred video platform, and hold weekly video meetings to keep the new hire and team members busy.

2. Make the expectations clear

It's important to take the time to show new employees the ropes and set expectations.

After those initial calls from the welcome team, use video and screen sharing to guide new hires through inside information or tips that will help them do their job well. Discuss working hours and availability, response time and productivity expectations.

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Now is the time to answer any practical questions you may have: "How should I check in?", "How should I get in touch with people?" And "Who will I work with to get my specific results?"

Be as clear as possible about their responsibilities to prepare them for success.

3. Clarify the assessment process

The first 30 working days are crucial for an effective onboarding process. It is important to let employees know how their success will be measured and how it will be assessed at this early stage.

Include the performance review process and clarify the deadlines for the next month. This helps new remote workers have a clear goal and know what to work towards.

Managers should also be aware of their availability so they can get new employees off to a good start.

4. Communicate early and often

There is no overcommunication with remote workers. Since many things can go astray without being able to go to a coworker's desk or a manager's office to ask a quick question, you should be on the side of more interaction rather than less.

Our most important feedback from candidates is that they wish their managers were more accessible for the first 30 days to answer questions.

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It is also important to clarify what to communicate and through which channels for new hires. Understanding this corporate culture can streamline a wide variety of problems that arise in the course of doing business.

5. Promote a sense of belonging

A great danger of remote work is the loneliness that can result from isolation.

It's important for new team members to know that their employers are always available when they need to reconnect and get their spirits up. One of the biggest challenges a remote workforce manager faces is ensuring that those employees stay productive and happy while feeling like they are “clicking” with the corporate culture.

Since most of the people in the world have adopted social distancing to do their part in flattening the COVID-19 curve, many experience increasing feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness. RETS recruiter Brandi Popovich personally witnessed the impact of these negative emotions on one of their recently placed candidates who moved to a new city across the country ahead of the home stay assignments going into effect.

New hires who work long days abroad and are isolated from loved ones do not always know how to seek help from their new employers. RETS recommends contacting new remote workers frequently as they get used to the company. This is an easy way to feel as welcome and supported as possible.

Onboarding can be tricky at the best of times. When remote workers are involved, this critical period requires even more patience, sensitivity and flexibility on the part of employers. By using videoconferencing tools, clarifying expectations and the assessment process, communicating generously, and promoting a sense of belonging, business owners can bypass onboarding issues from home and set up remote settings for the continued success of the business.

Jana Turner is a Principal at RETS Associates, one of the leading real estate advisory firms in the country, specializing in connecting today's businesses with valuable talent for long-term profitability. With a proprietary database of more than 50,000 experienced candidates, RETS helps industry leaders find high-performing executive positions and helps global, national and regional real estate companies strategically recruit and hire both permanent and temporary staff. Contact jana@retsusa.com for more information.

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