We’ve talked about some of the things we are missing when it comes to working from home, one of which is overhearing the conversations of others going about their work, and how this influences you.

One of the things our clients are tackling right now is how this plays out when onboarding. A team who spends time on the phones counselling clients provides an ongoing guide in how we talk to clients, setting the tone, and acting as subliminal training.

Given this is missing in a remote environment, what do you need to put in place to ensure new starters feel your organisations culture? How will you facilitate the development of relationships with the team, and build a sense of belonging? Catching up by video will have its place, but won’t replace being amongst the team on a daily basis.

We can’t replace your ‘in person’ work families, but we’ve come up with the following checklist to help you design your remote onboarding experience in a way that will support your new starter, and give them the best chance to get to know their new teammates.

Onboarding checklist

  • Decide how you are going to handle the first day.

Get them into the office? Or Onboard remotely via zoom? If onboarding remotely you’ll need to make sure you get their laptop and any other equipment delivered, and go through any system logins, downloads etc. over the phone so they feel supported. Depending on your business there’ll be some things you’ll want to get them onsite for. For example, if you’re main business is delivery or transport, the onboarding experience wouldn’t be complete without a day understanding the front line. Make sure and onsite experiences are pre-arranged so they get a warm welcome on arrival with someone to look after them. Make sure you have a check-in scheduled at the end of day 1 to see how things went.

  • Schedule any mandatory learning sessions so these are in the calendar and don’t get forgotten.

They may be done online, but will still need to be scheduled with follow up on completion.

  • Assign a buddy.

How does someone working remotely ask all the dumb questions? In reality, no questions are dumb, but you feel really dumb sometimes when you’ve just started. Having a buddy where you can ask all those questions somewhat privately makes it all more bearable. Facilitate the first meeting with their buddy and let them both take it from there.

  • Be clear on where resources are and how to access them.

Providing a document with links and passwords is helpful so people can find their way around your common tools and feel in control and competent right from the start.

  • Set up your first Performance conversation where you’ll agree on initial KPIs.

When doing this via video meeting, make sure you both have access to any documents you’re going to discuss, and introduce the new starter to any system that is involved in the performance review process. This is also an opportunity to schedule regular catch ups so you can provide support, answer any questions they may have and check-in on how they’re travelling.

  • Intro to the broader team.

If doing a remote introduction to the team, organise a zoom coffee meeting specifically for that purpose. This prioritises your new starter, so they don’t feel incidental to the meeting. Have everyone do a short intro of themselves, their role, and how they can help the new starter settle in. Get your new starter to introduce themselves, give a brief background and what they are looking forward to in this new role.

  • Schedule some regular team catch ups (even if they are video catch ups) where the whole team plays a few team building games.

This will accelerate everyone getting to know each other, and allow your new team member to see the group dynamic and start to feel part of the family.

  • Provide a list of people they should get to know via online meetings, and let the team know to expect those meeting invites so they can offer a warm welcome.

  • Make sure they are included in any group comms tools so they are in touch with the team chatter and have an opportunity to contribute, banter and build their place in the team.

Don’t forget team and department email distribution lists, or telephone “hunt groups” if these are relevant.

  • If conversations with clients is a big part of your business, you may need to put together some case studies as learning material so they can run through examples of how you go about those conversations.

Even better, organise a few sessions where they can “sit in” on client conversations using technology so they can hear a variety of calls and how they are handled.

  • Here at mwah we advocate the use of a playbook which houses the essence of your Organisation Culture.

A playbook includes your Vision or Purpose, Values, policies, and other essential information “on how things get done around here”. This is an essential tool for onboarding, but also keeps all your policies in one place for your existing team. If you’d like to know more about building your own playbook, contact us a [email protected] .