Human Resources and Technology

Don't forget about remote workers when onboarding

October 19, 2016
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There are many benefits to employing a remote workforce.

You can hire the best talent without geographical boundaries. You can give professionals the time and space they need to be efficient, productive and balanced. And, when your remote workers are active in their local meet-up groups and communities, you benefit from grassroots marketing in cities and towns well beyond your current physical footprint.

Sounds like a no-brainer.

So why aren’t more companies taking advantage of these benefits? Because it takes a good deal of intentionality, you need to adapt your standard practices. And it starts with onboarding. Here are some best practices I’ve seen when bringing on remote employees:

Don’t underestimate face-to-face time

Bring your new hire into the office as often as possible, especially in the first 30 days. Relationship and trust building are key elements in the success of your remote worker, so be sure to extend enough in-person time to connect.

Offer multiple channels of communication

Slack, Skype, Teamwork … any of these tools used internally should be made available to those working remotely. It’s important to stay connected.

Set clear expectations

If your new remote employee is left to fend for herself, guess what? She will. And most likely she will not meet your expectations if she doesn’t know what they are. Set daily or weekly goals. Check on progress frequently. Be transparent with feedback and offer support.

Be inclusive

This one can be tricky, but you can get creative. Support friendly office competitions that people can participate in regardless of physical location. Encourage employees to co-author blogs and ensure your remote employees are included in the rotation. Look for connection opportunities that don’t always include ice cream socials.

Evaluate and refine the process

Keep learning and tweaking as you go. Don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t be afraid to fail. Even if you aren’t successful in retaining your first remote employee, if you’ve incorporated the steps above, you’ll have an advocate for your company wherever she lands next.

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