Onboarding remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

March 27, 2020

onboarding remote workers

Tips to alleviate new hire uncertainty

Most organizations that maintained an in-office culture are now 100% remote due to new legislation and shelter-in-place mandates brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. For HR, managing this drastic shift in employee working conditions can feel very chaotic, but even more so when new hires are joining the organization while everyone adjusts to being an entirely remote workforce. 

The onus is on HR to design a more thorough onboarding process in order to alleviate new employee uncertainty and ensure they feel more supported from the start. 

Plan a pre-boarding process

Day one on the job can be quite different for a remote worker than for someone starting work in an office. With no office structure or co-workers nearby to guide their behavior, figuring out how to get started is often more challenging. 

By leveraging early and consistent communication, a “pre-boarding” process can help new hires quickly become familiar with their role-specific tasks and responsibilities. Right after an offer letter is signed, HR managers can begin sharing their training schedule and onboarding plan and connecting them with new team members. Also, providing clarity early on regarding the tools, platforms and systems they’ll be using is especially helpful for those who have never worked remotely before. 

Help managers communicate expectations

Adequately supporting remote workers requires expectation and boundary-setting through consistent communication with a new hire’s direct manager. 

It’s critical that a new hire’s direct manager has one-on-one time alloted to talk with them, welcome them, and ensure their accessibility and involvement with the onboarding experience. 72% of employees surveyed by Enboarder listed one-on-one time with their direct manager as the most important part of any onboarding process. 

HR managers will need to be in constant communication with department managers overseeing new hires to provide support and ensure that both parties are getting what they need to be successful.

Set up video calls with the team

Many remote-based companies have found the most ideal time to onboard a new worker is a few days prior to a company-wide event so the entire team can meet in person. 

Obviously with our current crisis, in-person meetings are not a possibility. Instead, try to leverage virtual tools like video conferencing calls to create virtual face-to-face meetings. Start by scheduling get-to-know-you calls for every new hire with key people in your organization, even people they will not be working with directly. This can help humanize the names new hires and current staff come across in messaging boards and emails.

Double-check international regulations

As global HR managers work tirelessly to get their new hires acclimated and set up for success, they could be overlooking regulations that dictate how and when international workers should be registered with the government. 

For example, Mexico has a statutory requirement demanding new hires are registered with the government within a five-day window—so employers will need to plan accordingly for special cases like these when they onboard international workers. An HR team with localized expertise will be able to advise on these and other legislative nuances.

An employer of record for international employees, like Global Employment Outsourcing (GEO), helps employers navigate all local tax and labor laws, regulations and benefits, so HR managers can focus on onboarding initiatives that ensure remote workers are culturally included and professionally supported within their organization. To learn more about using an employer of record for your global hiring needs, contact us today.

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