What are the onboarding barriers for remote permanent employees?

As we continue on our path out of lockdown and, hopefully, back to normality, many tech leaders are wondering what the future looks like for the physical office. With both employees and employers being thrust into a ‘wfh’ situation due to the global pandemic, we all saw the benefits of remote working and many found it increased productivity and performance.

Companies of all sizes and in all sectors, from tech to finance and even consumer-facing brands, are embracing the balance of splitting the working week into part working remotely and part working from an office.

Though working remotely ins’t without its challenges, and although it enables employers to widen their talent pool and surpass geographical barriers to hire and create diverse tech teams, creating a successful remote onboarding plan can be hard to manage. To minimise disruption and a sense of disconnection for new employees, tech leaders must overcome certain obstacles in order to attract and retain high-calibre talent moving-forward, as according to LinkedIn:

  • 79% of talent professionals agree that remote work will be very important in shaping the future of recruiting
  • 84% of talent professionals think virtual recruiting will continue post-Covid

It is evidently clear that remote working is here to stay and as a result, it’s important that tech employers adapt their existing operational methodology to accommodate a remote or, at the very least, a hybrid working model.

Challenges of starting a new job remotely:

For employees starting a new job remotely, onboarding is critical. It’s a challenge starting any new job, but if you haven’t set foot in an office or met a single colleague in anything other than a virtual meeting, there are more barriers to consider, including:

  • Lack of face-to-face supervision

When starting a new job, face-to-face time, feedback and opportunities to ‘check-in’ are crucial, possibly more so when you’re not in the same room.

  • Lack of access to information

Simple tasks like finding online files or absorbing information that is often floating in conversation across the office just don’t happen; we need to compensate for this.

  • Social isolation

Loneliness is a significant factor when working from home, with 19% of workers citing this as their biggest struggle.

  • Distractions at home

We’ve all been there, whether it’s a pet, a child or an Amazon delivery distracting our day. Make allowances for your colleagues who are working and onboarding remotely.

  • How to make a good impression

With curveballs like the above and just in general when you’re working remotely, it can be more challenging to make a good impression as for some, face-to-face may be their preferred form of communication.

  • Unplugging after work

Just one more email or one more Zoom call… new colleagues, as well as existing colleagues can find it tricky to end their working day when it’s creeping into their home life. It can be even more challenging to unplug, particularly if you’re striving to make that all-important good first impression.

  • Building meaningful and trusting relationships with colleagues

If you’re not sat near them, chatting around the water cooler or grabbing a coffee, it can be more difficult to build relationships with colleagues and line managers.

Once you’re clear on the challenges of starting a new job remotely and onboarding remote employees, you’re on the right track for giving your new tech team members the best opportunity for success.

Remote onboarding checklist for tech employees

  • Virtual team-building

Ok it can be cheesy, but it’s worth investing time in virtual activities to help build connections.

  • Regular communication

Much more than email, communication should be richer and regular. Mix up the mediums too using phone, video calls and instant messaging.

  • Company culture

Be clear about what your culture is and help new colleagues immerse themselves in it.

  • Clear objectives

Be upfront and open about individual, department, and company objectives. Come back to them regularly and check in on progress.

  • Onboard in cohorts

Onboarding is time-consuming; there’s no doubt about it. If you can recruit and onboard in cohorts. It’s more efficient and allows new recruits to build relationships from day one.

  • Plan initial assignments

Detailing early projects, milestones and expected completion dates creates that purpose and will, without doubt, put a spring in the step of your colleagues.

  • Ongoing support

Regular check-ins are so important to ensure your colleagues are thriving in their career at your tech business.