Three Tips for Onboarding Remote Employees


If you have a new remote employee to onboard, congratulations! You’ve made the decision to increase your staff while minimizing the impact to your overhead costs. According to the Global Workplace Analytics and the Telework Research Network , a typical employer saves approximately $11,000 per year per remote employee and, additionally, remote employees are 20% to 45% more productive than their onsite colleagues.

Now that you’ve hired a remote employee, you’re wondering how your onsite employee onboarding process needs to be adapted to a remote new hire. The primary differentiator between onboarding an employee working onsite versus one who works remotely is communication. Here are three ways you can adapt your onboarding process for remote employees:

Give remote workers face time with video conferencing tools

Here at HiringThing , where all of our employees are remote, we know that face time is a vital component of successful workplace communication and collaboration. Utilize video conferencing tools to set up one-on-one and team video calls with the new hire to introduce them to key players. Brad Power’s post on the Harvard Business Review blog called In Praise of Face Time strongly supports face time to make sure teams stay on the same page. Use video conferencing and chatting tools like Skype , Google Hangouts or GoToMeeting to give remote workers the face time they need with coworkers and managers in order to be successful. If having remote workers is new for your organization, encourage onsite workers to use video conferencing whenever possible with remote workers to facilitate communication.

Enable real time communication via instant message and chat room technology

Remote employees need a way to communicate with colleagues in real time, especially when they are still getting up to speed in their new role. Chat room software is a great way to manage team or group communications in real time. It’s also important to have instant message capabilities in place for conversations that are better suited for a one-on-one environment. 37Signals’ Campfire product is a great, low cost chat room solution that works well for us here at HiringThing. For instant messaging, check out Pidgin, Google Hangouts (the newer version of Gchat) or Skype .

Put checks and balances in place so you can measure results

One of the biggest challenges of managing a remote worker is evaluating the employee’s productivity . Know in advance how you define results for the role so you can put in place the most effective monitoring and measurement tools from the beginning. For example, if you are onboarding a remote customer service representative, you will want to have a web based help ticketing system in place so you can view reports on things like number of tickets handled and average response time and also be able to monitor the new rep’s tickets to identify additional training needs. Having a group chat room is also an effective way to know whether a remote worker is online and working during expected work hours.

Expect that you will encounter a few hiccups along the way to refining your remote worker onboarding process. It’s important to review the process analytically after your next remote new hire to identify areas for improvement. Engage the new remote worker in the review process and ask for feedback. Incorporating remote workers into your business model won’t work for everyone, but when it does work, it can result in significant cost savings and increased productivity .

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Author: HiringThing

HiringThing is easy to use, intuitive online recruiting software that makes it easy to post jobs online, manage applicants and hire great employees.