How to Hire, Onboard, and Train Employees RemotelyGreg Garner
2020 was a year marked by surges in remote work, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the initial round of quarantines ended, many offices attempted to reopen and workplaces looked for ways to control potential outbreaks.
Throughout this process, the question remained: is it better to simply keep an office remote? While the answer tends to vary depending on each situation, many companies have decided that going 100% remote is the long-term solution.
If your organization is among the ranks of those setting up permanent virtual offices, you’re going to need to hire, onboard, and train employees sooner or later. While the process isn’t too different in a remote-work setting, there are several aspects that should be kept in mind for the virtual environment.
Recruitment and Hiring
The first contact with future employees is in the hiring stage. Hiring can be difficult to conduct online, but if you take the time to prepare beforehand, it can be effective.
Assess Your Organization
Consider whether your company is ready to bring on new staff remotely in the first place. Make an assessment of your company and ask the following questions:
- Do you have remote hiring technology set up yet?
- Has your company culture adjusted to remote-first expectations from employees?
- Is your staff prepared to interact with employees that they’ve never met in person?
- Do you have proper marketing material in place to attract the right kind of candidates?
Assessing your organization’s readiness for remote hiring and training is a crucial initial step.
Know What You’re Looking For
Have you considered what remote-specific attributes you’re looking for in a candidate? Typically, remote workers have a skill set that emphasizes traits like self-motivation, responsibility, and communication. What hard and soft skills do you need from a fully-remote employee?
Get to Know Them
Even though a candidate is remote, there is still a need for an interpersonal relationship. Spend time getting to know each candidate via phone calls and video interviews to ensure that they’re a good fit beyond a well-written email or cover letter.
Ask for Real Examples of Work
It’s best practice not to simply trust everything you see on a resume. Request specific, tangible past-work examples from a potential employee. Ask a writer to send a previously published manuscript in an email or request a link to a live website designed by a web designer.
Trust Your Intuition
As is the case in the traditional hiring process, no matter how careful you are, portfolios can still be forged, interviews can be gaffed, and resumes can contain false information. Don’t be afraid to lean on intuition as you sift through resumes and officially pick a candidate that you think will be the best fit.
Once you’ve made a hire, the next step is to bring the individual into your virtual workspace and show them the ropes. Here are a few tips to help you do so effectively and efficiently.
Prepare in Advance
It’s important to prepare before you are actively showing your new employee how your workplace functions. This includes multiple aspects of the onboarding process. For instance, any necessary hardware and software should be organized and easily accessible. In addition, if the new employee will need to input personal data into your system, it should be carefully protected to ensure their utmost privacy. Make sure to prepare anywhere and everywhere that you can.
Once your new employee has been shown the basics, it’s important to schedule regular check-ins. These can be done by HR, a manager, or even a mentor. These virtual meetings are the perfect place to ensure that the employee understands everything and is set up to be as productive as possible.
Balance Work and Culture
During the onboarding process, it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of how your remote workspace functions. However, it’s essential that you take time to discuss your company culture, too. This should be both verbally expressed and naturally demonstrated throughout each interaction.
Set Clear Expectations
It’s wise to set very clear expectations for a new hire. Explain what they are to do, how they are to do it, and what the results should be. This can help avoid uncertainty or an unintentional lack of productivity.
You can never overemphasize the importance of communication in a remote work environment. Make it abundantly clear to your new employee that communication is one of the pillars of your company’s virtual success and that they must engage regularly with you if they are to be a part of your team.
Training and Talent Development
Training and development come after a candidate has been hired and shown the basic aspects of their job. It’s crucial that a company shows an investment in continuing to cultivate the talents of its employees — especially in industries like healthcare and dentistry, where providers and other staff must complete continuing education credits and remain compliant with prescribed standards.
Offer Training Opportunities
Offering training opportunities can help you position yourself competitively in the remote workspace. This doesn’t have to be required training, either. It can simply include the option to access further online training for employees who need continuing education or certification for their roles. This could look different across a variety of niches; it can consist of SEO certifications for a marketing team or bloodborne pathogens training for a telemedicine staff.
Online classes, video training, and virtual exams can all be utilized to conduct training. Take the time to consider your options before committing to a particular training course.
Do Individual and Group Training
Training can be done in an individual as well as a group setting. For example, you might want to train your staff to use a new application altogether. You can even use a tool like Zoom or Slack to provide a place for employees to digest and process their learning experience. At the same time, tools like exams and study materials can be provided for employees to use individually and on their own time.
Document All Training
Training often ends with a set of credentials, such as a license or certification. Often this is dependent upon proof that the training has taken place. With that in mind, make sure that you properly document each employee’s training efforts so that you have clear proof that they’ve completed a course, exam, or other training material.
Foster a Remote Environment
Remember that training is an ongoing activity. Make sure to invest in a high-quality, remote-first training structure for your organization. You want the system to be able to easily function regardless of who is being hired and who is doing the hiring. By creating a stable remote infrastructure, you can ensure that your organization is able to fully tap into the benefits of hiring, onboarding, and training employees, even in a remote work environment.