As we continue to maneuver through the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our new employees are being onboarded remotely. Welcoming a new hire in person is much more straightforward than bringing them in remotely. However, it can be successfully done. Here are some tips:
1. Have them fill out new hire paperwork before their start date-
In an in-person setting you may often have the employee start their workday in the HR office filling out paperwork. We highly recommend that you do this beforehand. No one likes filling out paperwork on their first day anyway! DocuSign is a great way to have all new hire paperwork sent and signed electronically. You want to make sure that you have a preliminary phone call with the employee beforehand to briefly talk about the documents that you will be sending over and to give them your contact information if they have any questions.
2. Fill up their calendar-
You want to think in advance about what the employee's first 2 weeks will look like. Be sure to schedule a time for them to meet with key players on the team. Encourage the team to share information with the new hire regarding what their role is and how they might be working together. If you have team meetings or one on one meetings with the hiring manager be sure to place that on the calendar as well. If they need to speak to the IT department or receive any training be sure to also include that on their calendar! A full calendar takes a lot of pressure off of the new employee as they feel more guided in their orientation period.
3. Send a welcome gift-
A great way to welcome your new remote team member is to mail them a small welcome gift. It can be anything that has your company logo on it to include swag such as pens, a notebook, a water bottle or coffee mug, hat, or sticky notes. A thoughtful gift goes a long way!
4. Mail hardware in advance-
Mail any electronic hardware to the employee in advance of their start date to make sure that they have enough time to be ready for their first day. This may include a company laptop, mouse, keyboard, phone, etc. Be sure that they have the contact information to your IT department for further instructions.
5. Share information on your communication networks-
Be sure to instruct your new remote employee on what communication tools your team/company utilizes. This includes your email platform, instant messaging, web-based phone applications, and video conferencing software. Make sure that they obtain instructions on how to log in to all networks.
6. Send a welcome email-
Nothing says welcome like a welcome email! Send out a welcome email from the Hiring Manager or HR office that includes the name, email address, job title, and a brief write-up on the new employee. This introduction helps the employee warm up to other employees who may also send them welcome email responses. Also, it helps them to not be a stranger when they do come into the office. You do not want a remote employee who has been with you for a year getting questions from fellow employees when they come into the office on whether they are new. Be sure to welcome them in an email that includes their photo!
7. Plan in-person meeting-
Nothing beats in-person connections, especially when you are establishing new work relationships. Be sure to think about a time when you can meet with your new hire in person and schedule it on their calendar. If you plan on continuing remote work environments after the pandemic is over, we recommend scheduling in-person team meetings and training at least once per quarter. It truly boosts morale and helps to establish a good company culture.