virtual team management

How to Onboard a New Remote Team Member

I’m Kate.
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Once the interviews are finished and you have made your final decisions on who you want to hire and bring on to your team the next piece that you will want to plan out is how you will be welcoming, training and on-boarding them into the business. I think when working with remote and virtual team members this part is so important to ensure you are building an open environment right off the bat! In today’s post I’m walking you through the best ways to onboard your new remote team member.

New team members can, of course, be employees or contract workers but I think the same things can apply in both scenarios. Even though contractors generally need less training when you bring them in, establishing that sense of culture, how their business functions and open lines of communication can be just as important.

  1. Have a plan in place!
    Things will go so much smoother for you knowing you have a plan in place for your new hires training and on-boarding. They will gain confidence right away knowing that you have taken the time to put a solid schedule in place for them to ensure they get started on the right foot. It’s also showing them that you value things being organized and investing the time in making them feel comfortable in the business and on the team. When putting your training plan in place, make sure not to try and jam-pack everything into the first week. This could lead to some major overwhelm and could cause them not to grasp things fully before moving onto the next thing. *Stay tuned for a new post coming on how to build out an in-depth training plan!

  2. Loop your current team members in
    Although bringing on more help can be a really exciting time for you, your current team may feel anxious or even threatened at the thought of someone else coming onto the team or that it may end up being more work for them to bring them up to speed or they fear there will not be enough work to go around. Make sure to meet with your team in advance of your new hire’s start date to fill them in on what the new team member will be handling, what tasks if any will be redirected and the lines of communication that will be established. Does everything need to go through you or can they send things directly to a certain team member? Communication is so key to running a successful team so making sure your current team is in the loop, aware of everything they need to know will help continue to build an amazing team culture.

    Related: 5 Ways to Build Your Team Culture

  3. Set up a Welcome Call
    I could probably write an entire post just on how to conduct a productive welcome call (and I just might!) but for now, I will say this. A welcome call is such a great way to drum up excitement for your new hire and if you have a bigger team to introduce your new team member to each of them. It’s important to start building your team culture right away and a welcome call is a great start to making them feel welcome and like part of the family. Especially with a remote team, I think this is vital to be done on a video call as a face-to-face meeting with everyone. Think of this as a mini party or celebration. This call can include the following pieces:

    • Introduction to the business and the team

    • The chance for them to introduce themselves and give some background

    • Have each team members go through and explain what their role is on the team

    • Explain the core values, mission statement and vision statement for the company

    • Give a brief overview of what they can expect in the coming weeks, especially if it involves training with other members of your team

    • You can let your other team members hop off and you can walk through legal stuff, go over the paperwork required and any additional information they may need to have.

    • Make sure they know their next steps

  4. Adjust your expectations for their first week
    Make sure you are giving your new team members a chance to get accustomed to the way things operate in your company. Make sure that after walking through their training plan with them you also adjust your expectations to match. Oftentimes we are so close to everything that we forget what it was like when we were first starting out or learning a new skill or starting a new job. Always make sure to provide feedback whenever necessary and to celebrate the small wins along the way to give them confidence that they are doing a great job! Make sure to tell them this frequently (assuming they are doing a great job) or provide any feedback that will help them grow and thrive in their role.

  5. Make sure it’s clear how you want to communicate
    You just know there will be a ton more questions than normal over the first little while. Make sure you make it clear how you want to address any questions that may arise. Do you want everything sent via email ( do not recommend!) in Slack or via Voxer or through your project management program? Will you have set times you check Slack or a set time to answer questions – is there someone else on your team they can go to first? Make sure you make it super clear for them to understand the lines of communication.

Onboarding a new team member, especially a remote one is such a crucial piece for employee retention and satisfaction but it is often overlooked and rushed especially in the online space because no one is physically coming into an office or sitting there waiting for you. Have an amazing onboarding experience for new team members will make your company stand out and soon you will have people begging to work for you ( if you don’t already!)

I am hoping that this helps you see some of the key components you will want to think through prior to your new team members start date! And if you are into numbers here are some stats that can really hit things home:

  • 69% of employees are more likely to stay in a company for three + years if they experienced great onboarding

  • Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new hire retention

  • Up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days

Leave me a comment below if you want to know more about how to build out a training plan to ensure you’ve got things covered and under control? And make sure to grab my FREE checklist so you know all the pieces to include in a good onboarding session.

Related: Tips for Hiring a Virtual Assistant


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