How to Seamlessly Onboard Physically Distanced Employees

How to Seamlessly Onboard Physically Distanced Employees 1

So you’re new to remote onboarding…

Despite the number of remote work assignments being on the rise prior to the outbreak, remote work was still the exception, not the rule. Now that you have no choice but to physically distance yourself from staff, your well-established, on-site onboarding procedures have all been thrown out the window. No doubt, you have a few questions running through your mind: “Do I have to set up a new onboarding process from scratch? Are there existing tools in place that can be leveraged for onboarding, or do I have to purchase new ones? Which ones??”

Worry not! To save you time and stress, Summit Human Capital has summarized information on tools, external resources and best practices.


Easily adopted or adapted tools

The first step when responding to this new way of working is to ask yourself, “What’s really new about it?” Look at your existing processes and see what can be modified vs replaced. For example, if you normally give new hires a welcome basket and a physical copy of the company org chart and employee handbook on their first day, you can still do this. Use your company’s existing FedEx or Amazon account to send your socially distanced new hires those awesome freebies, and snail mail or email the day one resources to them.

To up your remote onboarding game, you may need to use new tools such as an e-signature tool or a document and task management tool. You may already be paying for this functionality with your existing HR Information System (HRIS), or you may need to upgrade to unlock these features. BambooHR, for example, allows you to fully customize your online onboarding checklists, documents, new hire training and signature templates. Similarly, your time and attendance system for hourly employees might also work for your remote hourly team, or you may need a system like TSheets that allows you to see who is clocked in at a glance and flag clock-ins that are outside of the geographic range of their home office.


Best practices from companies with 100% remote workforces

Who better to help you navigate onboarding physically distanced employees than business owners and executives who have successfully onboarded remote workers for years?

Terrance Pitre, Principal & Development Director at Southleft, shared his best practices for onboarding his highly skilled web developers remotely:

“The new hire experience is very important to us. As a boutique front-end web design & development agency, we hire developers with niche skill sets. In order to cultivate those skill sets, during their first few months with us, we set up a curriculum consisting of topics the development team could use to expand their knowledge base. We then follow up with them regularly via our recruiting and HR system, BambooHR, as well as by phone and Zoom to measure their performance.

Before day one, we make sure that they have logins to all job and employment-related systems that they’ll need to access right away. We have an onboarding checklist in BambooHR that we use to ensure new hires complete and sign all digital paperwork and have access to review our org chart, employee handbook and training resources. We also start assigning and reviewing tasks with new hires in our project management app, ZenHub on their first day. A Team Lead is assigned to train the new hire on all the tools and resources they need to be successful.

Day one also includes an HR/Payroll/Benefits overview and a virtual “office tour” where we hold a meeting for new hires to meet the whole team. Managers have daily check-ins with their direct reports on an on-going basis, and feedback is continuously solicited, so that we may keep improving our process.”


Janelle Henderson, COO at InvisiblePPC, also offered us valuable insight on how keep a remote workforce engaged throughout the onboarding process and beyond:

“Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay connected with team members. Here at InvisiblePPC, we utilize empathetic communication with the delivery of every message to maximize the retention/application of that message – that’s the secret to staying connected!

In order to effectively utilize empathetic communication, you must constantly practice awareness. As your awareness grows, you empower the opportunity to establish connections more quickly. Empathetic communication considers three factors:

  • What we do
  • How we do it
  • The effect it has on others

Applying this ideology into your onboarding process fosters the perfect environment for nurturing and growing connections, while also setting the scene for clear expectations with achievable time frames. This is how we keep the needle moving (no matter where we are physically located).”


Human capital support to bring it all together

A well-coordinated relationship with an excellent technology human capital solutions company makes all the difference in the hiring process. With a dedicated team responsible for effectively communicating with both you and your new hires, a technology human capital solutions provider can improve your new hire satisfaction scores and help reduce turnover. As explained by CIO Magazine, employee retention begins with the recruiting process. Companies must identify those candidates who are truly motivated to stay with them long enough to see a return on their investment. Who better to vet ideal candidates than seasoned recruiters with honed experience in your industry?


Click here to connect with a Summit Human Capital recruiting partner and start hiring and onboarding your physically distanced candidates with ease and expertise today.


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