Digital Onboarding for Remote Employees
Remote work is rapidly becoming an accepted and even desired part of the American lifestyle. Take a look at these statistics. Some might surprise you!
- Nearly two-thirds of companies have remote workers.
- Inc. estimates that by 2028, one-third of employees will work from home.
- Worldwide, 70% of people work from home at least once a week. More than half (53%) work remotely for the majority of the week.
- Almost one-third of remote workers telecommute 80% to 100% of the time.
A recent survey found that 80% to 90% of the workforce says they would like to telecommute at least part of the time. Today’s knowledge workers expect the option to telecommute. It’s not a differentiator any more.
If you’re hiring remote workers, how can you make sure they’re a part of the team? How do you integrate them with your corporate culture and teach them the responsibilities of a new job from a distance? The answer: digital onboarding.
Why Use Digital Onboarding?
Remote employees are accustomed to working from home. Ideally, your new hire is self-motivated, excited to get to work, and independent. Digital onboarding offers several advantages that traditional onboarding doesn’t. And it’s not just good for remote employees. In-office workers will appreciate these benefits, too.
Instead of dampening first-day enthusiasm with a litany of paperwork to fill out and mindless videos to watch, digital onboarding gets that stuff out of the way ahead of time. Your new employee will be able to spend Day One–whether that’s in the office or out of it–learning the ropes of his or her new role rather than whiling away the hours in a conference room.
Every employee goes through a similar onboarding process. When you set up digital onboarding with software like ApplicantStack Onboard, you ensure that every box is checked, every time. Collect all necessary paperwork using a library of state and federal forms. Distribute company policies, benefits information, and other notable documents so they can be reviewed at any time in one place.
The new hire portal includes:
- Federal and state tax forms
- Benefits enrollment and plan information
- Employee handbook
- Payroll setup
- Completion confirmation
- WOTC application and filing
- Background and reference checks
If your onboarding process is less than successful, you can examine what works and what doesn’t and make changes so that everyone has the same positive experience.
Printing and passing out entire reams of legal documents and forms is tedious (and expensive!). Digital onboarding allows you to download documents once, and distribute them to new hires without making multiple trips to the printer. You don’t need to take up an employee’s valuable time to walk a new hire through the onboarding process. Digital onboarding guides your new hire step by step, at his or her own pace.
The most engaged employees are actually those who telecommute three or four days a week. Surprised? This kind of schedule offers a good balance between on-site collaboration and off-site autonomy. In-person onboarding isn’t always necessary. Let your new hire do what he or she can do from home. Then, maximize time at the office by building in-person relationships with teammates and colleagues. Digital onboarding gets the mundane tasks out of the way, so you can focus on what really matters when you’re face to face.
Use your onboarding software to create a checklist for your new hires and your hiring managers. Authorized users can log in to make sure that tasks are completed, and follow up with anything that’s still missing. Upload safety or training videos to YouTube and link them to your checklist. Your new hire will be able to view them instantly at his or her convenience. Assigning tasks ensures that every box is checked so nothing is overlooked.
Whether you’re hiring someone who will be working remotely full time, occasionally telecommuting, or working from the office every day, digital onboarding makes the onboarding process less painful for all involved. No one wants to spend his or her first day on the job filling out forms.
How Do I Onboard Employees Digitally?
Here is a basic onboarding workflow for remote onboarding.
- Customize your New Hire Portal for the position. This means including necessary paperwork like tax forms and direct deposit authorizations. Leave out unnecessary docs. For example, you may not have all new hires fill out WOTC forms.
- When the new hire accepts the job offer, call them and thank them for accepting. Explain that they are going to receive an email with a link to your New Hire Portal. The Portal will have detailed instructions for new hire paperwork. Tell them when the paperwork should be completed, generally within a week or two.
- Send the email with the link to the New Hire Portal.
- Make sure IT sends them any necessary equipment like a laptop or headset.
- The system will send an update to the administrator (or anyone you designate) each time the newly hired employee submits a form. If he/she misses a document, send a reminder email or text.
- The hiring manager creates a schedule for the first day. Whether the employee will work remotely or onsite, set a time for them to meet with each of their teammates.
- If the new hire will be onsite for day one, schedule a welcome lunch that includes the team.
For a more detailed onboarding checklist, see New Employee Onboarding Checklist.
Are you an employer in the healthcare industry? See Fast, Remote Healthcare Onboarding for more onboarding tips.
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