New employees rely heavily on face-to-face interactions and spontaneous encounters to learn the culture and workings of a company. But for new team members working remotely, the natural occurrence of that support is lacking.
New remote workers can find it difficult to access managerial support and a larger network, to find out where information is stored and know who to talk to, or to have conversations that inspire enthusiasm, creative ideas and innovation.
Without an effective onboarding process, new employees in a remote working environment risk social isolation, loss of confidence and ultimately may leave the company.
How can you onboard effectively in a remote setting?
Frouke Horstmann, Managing Partner at TPC Leadership Netherlands, recalls a friend who struggled when she started working remotely in a new post at a university. Nobody explained how things worked, and nobody checked in with her or introduced her to colleagues.
“You need to be systematic,” says Charles Brook, Founder and Managing Partner at TPC Leadership UK. “Start with the big picture and explain the positives and challenges of the company’s culture.”
Introduce them to the people they need to know and help them start building those relationships. Create a network map that shows who the key stakeholders are. Pair new people with a buddy or mentor so they have access to a different perspective and an outlet to ask questions.
“It’s important for new team members to have touch points with me, as a leader, too,” says Charles. “Not just to ask about their performance, but also about what they’re enjoying or what they find stressful.”
People are more resilient and effective if they connect with meaning and purpose. “Let them know how their input links with the rest of the company,” says Charles, “and that they’re an important cog in the machine.”
The Components of Sustained High Performance
Frouke refers to a concept that can be used as a foundation for building your onboarding plan, known as the ‘Components of Sustained High Performance’.
The four components are crucial for sustained high performance and should be embedded in the onboarding process for new employees.
Achievement — consider what you hope to achieve in the short-term, such as getting to know colleagues, and what priorities are crucial to the organisation.
Learning — clarify your preferred and most efficient way of learning. This may be through reading or regular check-ins with colleagues and leaders.
Meaning — ensure you understand how your job relates to the wider objectives of the organisation. Consider how you can best add value and what is meaningful for you.
Enjoyment — think about what makes your job enjoyable. This may include coffee calls, regular one-to-ones, or a team pub quiz.
What is the ROI on effective management of new team members?
Taking time to connect new people to one another, their team, information, key people and the purpose of the organisation reduces silo working — something TPC Leadership clients often report to be a huge challenge.
“More cross virtualisation between people and teams fuels creativity, innovation and holistic solutions,” says Frouke. “In the end there is a greater sense of belonging and increased engagement.”
“From a leader’s perspective,” says Charles, “the quicker a new employee is able to take ownership, responsibility and prove themselves productive, the better it is for the project and the wider organisation.”
Effective onboarding takes time, but ultimately it adds value for the individual, the team and the organisation. “The slower you go in the beginning,” says Frouke, “the faster you will have results.”
Looking to get the best out of your new team members? Get in touch with us to find out how we can help.
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