How to engage staff when you’ve never met them face-to-face

Onboarding remote workers presents businesses with a new set of challenges not faced when onboarding in the workplace. The familiar induction process, built around face-to-face introductions and meetings, needs to be modified for the digital sphere especially when people are forced to work from home.

Communication is often the biggest challenge for remote works. Having a timetable for the first couple of weeks with regular check-ins and clear tasks for the new employee to fulfil will enable them to adapt quickly to the culture and keep on top of their goals.

The first few weeks for an employee will stay with them throughout their career with you, thus it’s important you set clear processes for yourself as well as your new recruits.

1. Introduce them to your company’s culture

A strong company culture permeates throughout the workforce, but it’s harder to get a feel for this when everyone is working remotely. Building your company’s core values into the framework of your performance management system helps to clarify and promote it to your new hires from the outset.

Providing them with a digital version of your company handbook or a digital welcome pack, along with any other text or video resources discussing your company’s culture can help to strengthen these values. You should also update any induction packages you have so they are relevant to a digital workplace.


2. Hold virtual meetings with their team members and direct reports


When introducing a new hire to team members and key contacts, do this via video calls. While you can’t replicate the face-to-face induction process entirely, these calls will help to quickly establish relationships and strengthen communication.

Hold these initial meetings on their first day, linking them with a sponsor or mentor to help them find their way in the company and keep them connected to their team through any other channels, both work-related and informal social digital spaces. Ask co-workers, managers and direct reports to introduce themselves and explain their roles and how they might be able to help.

3. Establish their work expectations and objectives

Comprehensive performance management tools which allow everyone to track and update their objectives and key results are the backbone of your company. You can use these to clearly establish the work expectations and objectives of your new remote workers so that they are clear about their immediate tasks and longer-term goals.

Set out their key projects and short-term deliverables up front and make sure they have liaised with the relevant team members they’ll be working with. Once you have defined the goals and added them to the relevant communication channels in your performance management tools, you can establish benchmarks for performance which managers can track directly.

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