How to virtually onboard when managing your business remotely

onboarding, onboarding process

Many Australian businesses are struggling due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. However, some industries were not affected by the COVID-19 health scare and even grew during the last six months, such as companies in technology and health care.

If you are lucky enough to be working for a company that is thriving post-pandemic, how do you handle the change in work culture? More importantly, if you work in management or in HR, how do you onboard new recruits remotely and make them feel welcome in your workplace? Is remote work a great opportunity for recent hires or a potential train wreck?

Here are some tips on how to make new employees feel welcome and boost their productivity, even when starting their first day at home.

Introduce new employees, and encourage them to share

In the pre-COVID-19 world, an HR representative would normally greet any new hires on their first day and help them power through all their paperwork. They may walk them around the office to introduce them to all their fellow team members.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the importance of introductions for your new recruit, even if he or she is starting their first day remotely! Feeling socially accepted and appreciated is an important first step in employee training. Studies have shown that 79 per cent of people who leave their role do so because of a “lack of appreciation”.

Facilitating social interactions remotely is going to be a key part of the new normal of post-pandemic life. Although it may seem awkward at first, it’s important not to ignore the importance of personal introductions to help boost team spirit and enhance productivity.

Focus on recognising achievements to make every employee feel noticed

If your workplace culture already has a high focus on publicly congratulating team members when they succeed, that’s great. In the world of remote work, it’s more important now than ever to showcase when employees are working hard. It’s a great move to help career growth as employees have a written track record of all their accomplishments, big and small.

Not only does this make your employees feel valued and noticed, but it also enhances productivity. Workers become more motivated to succeed when they know that management is paying close attention to what they do on a daily basis.

Sending praise emails to a dedicated worker while CCing the entire team is an example of a positive cultural shift that deals with the challenges of a post-COVID-19 world. It might even become a valued office tradition even after your employees return to their physical offices.

Make a habit of holding consistent morning virtual meetings

This will boost accountability and enhance the focus on teamwork. Although it may be difficult to train certain employees on how to log on to a virtual meeting, teaching digital skills to your workforce is vital to make sure your company stays competitive. It’s also an excellent way to check in on your employees to see how they are feeling on any given day.

If your company plans on having virtual chats, calls, or video conferences, it’s important to have an emphasis on cybersecurity. It’s no secret that all remote workers should be using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when logging on to your company’s virtual workplaces. The good news is that there are many great, cheap VPN options out there that will give your login information an extra layer of security without spending a crazy amount of money.

Create a “breakroom” thread

Most remote workplaces use a platform such as Slack or other chat/call software for meetings and discussions. Consider opening up a thread or group chat just for casual banter. Although you may not realise it, lunchroom chit chat can help create powerful bonds between employees. When your employees feel connected, the sense of teamwork and pride in group accomplishments grows.

Nahla Davies, software engineer and technical copywriter