After the induction process and any initial training ,which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, an essential part of every onboarding process is to find a compromise between the working style that works for your organisation but also works for the new employee, this of course is proving more difficult when the experience is for most virtual at this point.During the initial induction, we believe its critical to make sure a conversation is had about the employee’s preferred working style. This may have been established during the interview, with the question ‘how do you like to be managed?’ A good way to find out about the employee’s preferred working style is to have them complete a ‘How I Work’ questionnaire. This type of survey lets you get to know your employee better, to find out if they are more, or less likely to ask for help, if they prefer working alone to working in groups, etc.
At this stage, the importance of keeping in touch with your employee cannot be overstated, even if they tell you they prefer a hands-off working approach. Once they settle into their new role, you can slip into the working style which suits you both (such as less, or more input from you) but at first, a continual connection is what’s needed to form the bonds that create a robust employee-employer relationship.
Key milestones during your remote employee’s new career with you are –
- the first week
- the second week
- the first month
- and then subsequent months, usually quarterly.
The general consensus amongst HR professionals is that onboarding should take three months minimum, and some argue that it can take up to an entire year.
During these milestones, you must keep a record of your new employee’s performance, to help them by giving feedback. Next, let’s take a look at the importance of consistent reviews during the remote onboarding process.
Many organisations shy away from consistent reviewing of their employees, for many reasons, including time constraints or a lack of adequately trained management.
But reviews are incredibly beneficial, for both employee and employer, who will get a great deal out of the process when appropriately undertaken.
Provide your employee with a framework of what their reviews will look like. This should include the questions you are going to ask, such as what they have found to be challenging and what they are enjoying.
Formal reviews are so much more constructive for everyone involved, compared to giving verbal feedback only. The documenting of challenges, goals and outcomes gives the new employee a clear path of what to aim for too.
Remember to include a section where the new hire can give their feedback on the remote onboarding process. This part will be invaluable to you in modifying the process so that you can improve it over time.
As I mentioned, appropriate milestones for video reviews are as follows –
A review at the end of the first week should aim to cover any teething problems that might have arisen, to check that your employee’s tools to do their job are working correctly, and for them to ask any questions about their role that have initially cropped up. There will always be something that the employee thinks of that you might have missed, so inviting a two-way conversation at this point is very useful indeed.
At the end of week two, hold another review. This time, ensure any problems from week one are fixed, and the employee is more settled within their role.
At this stage, you might expect some feedback about systems and processes, now the new hire is more familiar with the role.
The end of the first month will be the first time you get a good idea of how well the employee is doing in their role, the speed of which they are completing tasks, and with how much ease.
This review is a good time to have a frank discussion about how you feel the employee is performing in their role and setting out aims and objectives for them for the next three and six months. This review should feel more like a standard annual review and should be longer to reflect this.
The framework for your first-month review should then be used again during subsequent discussions, typically at three-month intervals for the first year. You should track goals and aims so that you can draw up objectives and actions for the employee during their quarterly reviews.
This robust review plan should help the employee feel secure, confident and connected to their new role, despite the physical distance.
How Can We Help You?
Hopefully, we can with our market knowledge even if its simply pointing you in a different direction.
Our involvement in the recruitment process over the last 27 years means we have seen a range of techniques, ideas and platforms used by clients which could help you.
These are unprecedented times. The pandemic has created challenges for us all, not only in our personal lives but also our professional lives and if we can help you in any way ... we will.