The key to successfully integrating new team members who are working remotely is to offer a structured onboarding process. They may feel strange joining a company while working from home during the current phase of lockdown, so making them feel welcome is important.
Send a welcome package
Help new recruits feel part of a team by sending them a welcome package.
This might include a welcome letter from the CEO, IT equipment such as a laptop, mouse, keyboard, etc. In addition, try to include some branded goodies such as a coffee mug, headphones, or a t-shirt.
Introduce the team
Set up calls or virtual meetings with other team members during their first few days on the job to help them to get to know their new colleagues. It can also be helpful to assign a buddy to each new joiner. Their buddy can act as a key point of contact during their first few weeks in the role, helping them find out how to contact IT, find policy documents, or act as a sounding board as they learn the day-to-day aspects of their new role.
Ensure that your new recruits understand how to use all key communication tools. This might include company email, group messaging, video conferencing tools such as Skype, Zoom, etc.
Goals and expectations
In advance of their first day, new joiners should be provided with a schedule of training and onboarding sessions. Their manager should also set up a call on their first morning in the role, to set out goals and expectations. Regular one to one meetings should be set up to discuss progress, resolve potential issues and help the new joiner to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Doing these meetings over video conference can be more effective as it can be helpful to read the body language of a new starter so that you can identify whether or not they feel comfortable with the tasks that are being assigned – most communication is visual, after all.