Hiring Remote Employees

Hiring Remote Employees? Here’s How to Make the Process Simpler

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Hiring remote employees can seem daunting. How do you onboard someone you’ve never met in person? How can you effectively manage a team that’s spread across the globe? While hiring remote workers does present some unique challenges, there are ways to simplify the process. Follow these tips to make bringing on remote employees easier and set them up for success from the start.

Communicate Expectations Upfront

When hiring a remote employee, it’s important to clearly communicate expectations right from the beginning. Having documentation that outlines company policies, procedures, and guidelines will help get new hires up to speed quicker.

Send a Welcome Packet

After hiring a new remote worker, email them a welcome packet. This packet should contain key information to review before their start date, such as:

  • Company mission, values, and culture
  • Job description and responsibilities
  • Software, tools, and accounts they will need to access
  • Equipment/technology provided by the company
  • Work schedule and time zone expectations
  • Policies and procedures

To make the packet easy to navigate, compress it into a PDF document with bookmarks for each section. This allows the new hire to easily flip to the pages they need to reference. Compressing PDFs is easy with a tool like SmallPDF.

Schedule a Virtual Onboarding Session

Don’t just send resources and expect new hires to absorb everything on their own. Schedule at least one virtual onboarding session to walk through the welcome packet. Encourage them to ask questions and clarify anything that may be confusing.

It can also help to connect new remote workers with a mentor or buddy they can turn to as an ongoing resource after onboarding is complete.

Set Up the Right Tools from Day One

Remote employees often rely heavily on technology to do their work. Equip them with the essential tools and software needed so they can effectively collaborate and communicate from the start.

Provide Logins and Access

Prior to the first day, the IT team should ensure the new hire has logins and access to all required platforms and programs. This includes communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, project management software, and any systems or databases they will need to use.

Set up their email address and contacts list ahead of time. Having logins and access ready to go prevents any roadblocks on day one.

Offer Technology Stipends

While the company should provide standard hardware like a laptop, consider offering new remote hires a stipend to purchase any additional equipment needed for their home office setup. This could include items like a second monitor, external webcam, printer/scanner, noise-cancelling headphones, or faster internet.

Giving employees a budget to buy their own technology ensures they have what they specifically need to be productive.

Facilitate Team Connections

Starting a new job remotely can feel isolating. Help new hires feel connected and supported by facilitating introductions to their team members.

Schedule Virtual Introductions

A few days before the start date, set up short virtual introductions between the new remote worker and their direct teammates. Keep these meetings casual by doing video calls or chatting in Slack.

Use this time for teammates to welcome the new hire, share a bit about their background, and answer any initial questions. These early connections help establish rapport and make walking into a remote role less intimidating.

Plan Remote Social Time

Social events and water cooler chats happen naturally in an office environment. However, you have to be more intentional when working with a distributed team.

Schedule video coffee breaks, virtual happy hours, or online team-building activities to help remote workers bond with colleagues. Team social time should be included in the new employee’s calendar during the first few weeks.

Set Clear Procedures for Managing Remote Workers

Managing remote employees requires some adjustments to your standard management practices. Define processes upfront so managers know how to best support and oversee remote staff.

Share Management Best Practices

Create guidelines for managers of remote teams that cover:

  • Communication frequency and channels
  • Tools for monitoring productivity
  • Scheduling 1-on-1s and check-ins
  • Flexibility with schedules/time off
  • Methods for tracking work and progress
  • Tips for building trust and relationships remotely

Training managers on how to best interact with and manage remote workers sets both parties up for an effective working relationship.

Outline Communication Expectations

Miscommunication and isolation are common pitfalls when managing remote staff. Be clear about how often managers should meet with direct reports and through which channels.

For example, you may set an expectation that managers have a 30-minute weekly video call with each team member and also check in via Slack daily. Defining expectations upfront prevents confusion.

Create Engaging Remote Training Programs

Once a new remote employee has gone through initial onboarding, they still have a lot to learn about the role, company, systems, and processes. Well-designed remote training helps new hires ramp up efficiently.

Send Pre-Recorded Training Videos

Create pre-recorded videos that new hires can watch on their own time for training on common software, tools, or company procedures.

These asynchronous training videos allow employees to go at their own pace and re-watch anything they may not have fully grasped the first time. Videos can be uploaded to a Learning Management System or Intranet.

Schedule Live Virtual Classes

While pre-recorded videos work for certain training, synchronous live classes delivered over video chat better facilitate interactive learning.

Schedule live virtual training sessions on key topics led by subject matter experts at the company. Make sessions interactive by including Q&A time, polls, breakout discussions, and hands-on simulated activities.

Assign Mentors

In addition to formal training, give new remote workers access to on-demand coaching through an assigned mentor. Experienced team members can answer ad hoc questions and provide guidance as new hires apply their skills.

Check in with mentors and new hires often to assess engagement and address any knowledge gaps. Ongoing mentoring accelerates professional development in a remote environment.

Encourage Work/Life Balance

Working remotely makes it easy for the lines between work and personal life to blur. Promote a healthy work/life balance through your policies and leadership practices.

Discourage After-Hours Work

Let new remote hires know that responding to emails or Slack messages outside of work hours is not expected or required. Lead by example – avoid messaging remote staff excessively early, late, or on weekends.

Check in on employees to ensure they feel empowered in taking breaks and not working constantly. Offer flexibility so people can adjust schedules around personal needs.

Incentivise Taking Time Off

Remote workers can feel guilty taking holiday days when no one physically sees them away from the office. Combat this by encouraging and incentivising time off.

Offer fair holidays and sick days and give remote staff guidance on the appropriate amount to take when they are unwell. Lead from the top by role-modelling the same behaviour.

Promoting work/life balance results in more engaged, productive remote employees in the long run. Don’t let remote work lead to burnout.

Hiring remote workers can seem daunting, but following these tips will simplify the process and set new hires up for success. Communicating expectations, providing the right tools, facilitating connections, and training managers to oversee remote staff makes onboarding smoother. With the right approach, you can build an effective and collaborative remote team.

Also Read: How Can ERTC Help You Keep Your Best Employees

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