Here are the types of challenges that you’re likely to face with remote onboarding:
⮞ Troubleshooting Technology: Be prepared to have a ‘frenemy’ relationship with technology. It’s only thanks to the technology that remote onboarding is even possible, but it comes with its baggage. Where in a face-to-face onboarding session you could have just pointed out and shown how to fix a technical issue, in a remote setting, you’re resigned to screen shares which may take up to 10x as long. Also, although work communication and project management tools like Slack and Asana are great, sometimes, messages can be missed in the noise.
⮞ Communicating Company Culture: As a new team member, it’s incredibly hard to get a sense of the non-work culture at a company when fully remote. Our new SEO strategist, Laura, rightly shares how in an office environment she would chat with the team about non-work topics and get to know them better. The casual banter about the company and the team when you bump into your co-worker in the office kitchen plays an important role. While doing this remote is possible with video calls, it feels forced and rigid vs what you can get in the office.
⮞ Motivating the New Hires: When onboarding a new employee remotely it can be tricky to make them feel welcome and part of the team. This can then potentially affect their motivational levels. Where in an office, they’re surrounded by the rest of the team which makes it far easier to get to know everyone, understand the work and feel more motivated, now they are solely dependent on instant messengers and video calls.
⮞ Comfortable Work Environment: When a person joins the team remotely, it’s difficult to judge whether that person has everything they need to work comfortably. Things such as a desk, comfortable chair, working laptop, easy access to the internet and all the tools and resources your company uses to work efficiently are all important things that you’ll need to consider, discuss and resolve when onboarding a remote worker.
Before we dive deeper into what employers can do to make remote onboarding effective, my number 1 piece of advice to a new employee joining the team remotely would be to throw yourself into it and just be yourself.