Remote employees are known for their independence and diligent work ethic. Their abilities are so trusted that they’re often left to carry out all work responsibilities without much guidance or collaborative effort with colleagues. While they may be perfectly capable of executing plans and projects alone, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to. To increase retention and reduce burn out with remote employees, managers should follow a few of these tips.
Onboarding Remote Employees
Onboarding can be messy enough, even for regular office employees. Now that the pandemic is causing uncertainty regarding office time vs. remote work, the issue becomes even more crucial. However, your onboarding process for remote employees should look pretty similar to the one you use for the rest of your company.
The only difference will be a few additions that will help you maintain communication and rapport, virtually, of course. The onboarding experts at WorkBright recommend following several personalized steps to ensure your new hire feels welcome. Here they are:
Create an Individualized Checklist
Design a checklist made up of achievable baby-steps that will walk the new hire through the onboarding process. Doing so will condense a somewhat long and drawn-out process and give a sense of direction without overwhelming the new employee. Ideally, the checklist should be laid out on a calendar with scheduled video chat check-ins, goals, and due dates for documents or projects.
Welcome Them to the Company
Sending some company regalia and gifts such as snacks, office supplies, and things of the like is always a nice gesture. Getting a welcome pack on your first day adds to the new position’s excitement and gives a little boost in morale. If an in-person meeting is possible, then making time for that will provide you with a chance to give a more sincere welcome to the team.
If not, then try to get a company CEO or department heads to drop in on a video call to welcome them. This would be an excellent opportunity for your new hire to be educated on the history, philosophy, and mission behind your organization, which can be detailed in a video call or included in the welcome pack.
Introduce the Team
Encourage office associates to make a video call to the remote employee to welcome them on board and introduce themselves. You could also get several associates on one video call and get them talking with some icebreakers. It’s advised that remote employees are placed on a team—this inspires teamwork and reduces the anxiety that might come with working alone. If this is an option, make sure everyone in the cohort is introduced and given an assignment right away. This will jumpstart productivity and collaboration.
Assign a Mentor
Put the new hire in touch with another person in the company who is well-versed in all topics related to the hiree’s position. Remote employees pride themselves on their ability to get things done without the need for peers, but this is a double-edged sword. They’ll often allow themselves to get overwhelmed by work before asking for help. Having a mentor limits this possibility and actually increases retention.
Equip Them with All the Necessities
New employees should know where to find all of the company’s resources. They should be given a road map of locations for any important sites or folders they might need. Get them logged in and set up with any communication apps your company is using, and welcome them to group chats. Make sure they have all the software or hardware as well before their first day.
Managing Remote Workers
Keeping remote workers on track with their projects can be challenging if these guidelines are not followed. It’s easy for employees to lose motivation or get run-down if they feel disconnected from the company. Most of these tips are ideas for how to avoid that.
Video Chat Often
As redundant as it might seem, video chats are critical when it comes to managing remote employees. These video chats should be built-in checkpoints to the onboarding process and scheduled for the same time every month after that, if possible. Don’t be shy about engaging in small-talk or discussing more personal topics, as this is a great way to build rapport and establish a relationship with your employees.
We’re all guilty of avoiding our phones at certain times of the day. A stressful job requires downtime and no-screen time segments of the day. On the other hand, your remote employees might be in a different timezone and schedule than you, and you need to be accessible to them. You don’t want your employees to feel like a ghost or underappreciated because this will only lead to burnout. Do your best to establish as many lines for communication with your remote employees as possible.
Put all the information employees need in one central place. This will avoid so much confusion and actually save you and employees time since they won’t need to call you to ask where something is. Google Drive is an excellent choice since it can be connected with their work Gmail account. Make sure everything is organized in folders with names. These names should clearly define what’s in the folder, leaving little to no room for questions.
Genuine words of appreciation are far too rare in most businesses. Despite how motivating verbal praise can be, it is one of the things that companies lack the most out of everything else. Praise will go a long way with remote employees, and it should be given often.
Studies have shown that employees who receive praise are more productive and loyal to their companies. This is a foundational quality in every successful business—employees who work hard and care about the company. So, give out praise as often as possible.
By following through on these points mentioned above, your remote employees will not only be happy to join your team, but they will be enthusiastic about staying on your team. Bear in mind that since all companies vary in time, budget, and resources, some of these will need to be adjusted to fit the needs of your business and employees. If loosely followed, you can be sure that your onboarding and ongoing support of your remote employees will be stable and sound.