Supporting Transitions: Five tips for onboarding remote employees.

Turning back the clocks in November threw me for a loop this year.  The seasonal change, coupled with the cumulative impact of pandemic fatigue, found me more fragile around friends and family and reminded me how hard transitions are and how much they affect how we show up, feel, and function. It made me be more intentional in our preparations to add new remote members to the H S A team.

More than 50% of the workforce is looking for a new job, and most of them are seeking remote or hybrid work arrangements. The transition to a new job, and to new ways of working in a remote, self-managing team, can be physically and emotionally taxing. Based on our recent experience, we share five tips for onboarding new remote employees. Try these strategies to support all team members through this time of individual and group transition.

  1. Involve the team.

Invite existing team members brainstorm what they believe would be useful and needed in the first day, the first week, and the first month of working with your organization.  Our team created a google doc to capture ideas from team members, to draft a schedule for the first several weeks, and to have a place for team members to sign up to offer daily check-ins and Q&A time with new co-workers.  This helped everyone feel included and created opportunities for meet and greets during the first few days of working.

  1. Practice compassion.

Walk through the employee experience when planning your onboarding schedule.

Imagine your own first day at work.  How did you feel? What were you excited about? Nervous about? Now add the complexity of not having an IT person with you to sort all of your technology challenges with new equipment, or a co-worker down the hall to chat with or go to lunch with.  Remote working requires new approaches to hospitality. Send a welcome package to arrive before the person’s start date.

Here Melissa is enjoying her welcome surprise. We filled the package with a company mug, some colorful H S A resources to help her get acquainted with how we deliver our purpose, some welcome treats, and inspirational cards with a personal welcome. It communicates “you matter” and “we are excited you will be joining our team.”