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Pre-Boarding and Onboarding from a Distance - Best Practices for Unconventional Times

Aly Finkle
Thu, Apr 16, 2020

If you’re like most people, your work situation has changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are working as a recruiter from home, you’ll need to adjust your usual practices to fit current circumstances. 

One of your new challenges will be managing pre-boarding and onboarding new employees from a distance. This can be disorienting for both you and new hires, but a few best practices will help you give them a warm welcome from afar.

Remote Pre-Boarding Best Practices

Pre-boarding for new hires is kind of like being in limbo. They’ve accepted the job but haven’t started yet. Under normal circumstances, you would be preparing for their first day in the office. But if their new team is working from home, putting out the welcome mat is going to look a little different. 

Many of the standard pre-boarding practices still apply when everyone is telecommuting, but some of them require a few tweaks. Here are a few of those best practices you need to stick with but adjust to your new situation:

  • Keep in contact. A few emails or phone calls while you’re waiting for their first day to come is perfect. Send them digital versions of the new employee welcome packet and related documents. Ask if they have any questions more than once. Make sure they have contact information for you and their new manager so that they can reach you at any time. 
  • Welcome them to the company. Their new manager should arrange meetings with their new colleagues later, but a quick congratulatory message from you after they accept the position helps a new person feel more comfortable. 
  • Set expectations by providing all the relevant information they need for their first day. Just like if you were still working in the office, they need to know where to be (virtually) and what time on their first day. They’ll appreciate a rundown of what their first day will look like.
  • Most companies leave some branded gifts on a new employee’s desk. Send them the same items. Your new hire will be even more thrilled by the gesture of mailing these items to them at home.
  • While you’re at it, don’t forget to send them the necessary tools for their job! Whether that’s computer hardware or just a supply of pens and notepads, anything you would provide them in the office should be sent to them now.  

Remember, the key to successful pre-boarding from a distance is to be proactive about communication and sharing information so that the first day can go smoothly. 

Remote Onboarding Best Practices

It can be difficult to keep a team of workers unified and connected when you’re practicing social distancing. It’s even harder to acclimate a new team member remotely. However, the example of longtime remote workers can offer insight into how to do this if you are now onboarding employees from home. 

Try their standard tips with a few adjustments for these unconventional times: 

  • Make introductions “in person.” In today’s work environment, this means scheduling a video meeting with a new hire’s team. It will be easier for them to feel like part of the team when they can see faces rather than just names.
  • Walk them through the company’s virtual tools. This includes task managers, communication channels and company platforms they need for their job. Give them the information for their personal accounts. Also, give them contact information for the IT department for future reference.
  • Give them an organizational chart and explain reporting structures so they know who to go to for different needs.
  • Set them up with a mentor or trainer other than their boss. This mentor can show them the ropes of the job but also explain company culture and practices. Having an experienced colleague to go to helps new hires acclimate more quickly. 
  • Check in daily for the first week or two to ask how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can help them with. 

Remote onboarding is all about setting up a new employee for success. If you ensure they have the resources they need from the start, it doesn’t matter where they’re working from. They will be ready to become a full contributor.

Need More Ideas for Pre-Boarding and Onboarding from a Distance?

In these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to help new employees feel welcome and prepared to succeed. This begins with the pre-boarding and onboarding processes. 

If you’re still unsure how these should look like from a distance, bring your questions to SelectOne. Our team has the answers you need!

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