How to Onboard Your New Employees in a Remote-First World

How to Onboard Your New Employees in a Remote-First World

by Chris Atkinson in career
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Successful onboarding is a crucial part of retaining your pharma talent. Every lost employee has a negative impact on your business, and almost 20% of employee turnover happens during the first 45 days of someone starting a new role.  

Rolling out the welcome mat with the right onboarding experience helps your staff members to feel like a more valuable and appreciated part of the team. Unfortunately, a new era of remote-first working has created new challenges for onboarding. It's often difficult to develop a rapport and trust with new people when you're not meeting them face-to-face. 

If you're taking advantage of the global talent available when you hire remote employees, it's also important to ensure you have the right onboarding strategy in place. Here's what you need to know.
  

Empower and Equip Employees Early 


The percentage of employees working from home accelerated from 14.2% in 2018 to over 17.4%. Everywhere, candidates are searching for new, more flexible roles that give them the work/life balance they've been searching for.  

Fortunately for today's pharma and life sciences companies, team members can be just as productive in a virtual environment as they are in a physical space. All you need to do is ensure they have the right tools and assets available from day one. As soon as you decide to hire a new staff member, make a list of all the tools they will need to thrive in their remote role. This might include: 
  • Video conferencing tools for interviews, face-to-face collaborations, meetings, and even interactions with clients or customers.  
  • Digital contracts so your employees can sign any important documents quickly without worrying about faxing or posting. 
  • Critical software like file-sharing services, cloud storage tools, and other must-have services for your employees' day-to-day responsibilities. 
Provide your new staff with all the information they need to set up and access these tools. A video walk-through or meeting during the initial installation may be helpful here. 


1. Set Clear Expectations 


With a little luck, you'll have made it reasonably clear what you expect from your new employee during the video interview. However, it's worth taking a moment to go through the responsibilities they will have once again when they join the team officially. Clearly communicating expectations will help to reduce the risk of stress and confusion in a remote landscape.  

Ensure your employee knows what kind of values are important to your business, what their key deliverables are, and what's expected of them when it comes to group meetings and brainstorming sessions. You should also highlight how you're going to be measuring the results of your new employee so they know where they're going to be under scrutiny.  

Once you've set clear expectations, establish a feedback loop for your new remote worker. This will ensure you can meet to discuss issues or simply send feedback to each other on a regular basis. Your feedback will cover the things your employee is doing well, as well as the areas where they may need to improve. Your remote worker can also share their insights on how you can help them be more productive.  

2. Create a Sense of Community 


Out of sight shouldn't mean out of mind in today's remote working world. Creating a sense of community among your employees is an important part of helping them to feel like a valued part of your team. After your candidate accepts your job offer, arrange a video meeting where they can see and speak to the people they will be working with. 
 
During this discussion, have everyone introduce themselves and provide information on how they prefer to communicate if your remote worker needs them. Some of your staff may appreciate an email more than a phone call, while others enjoy instant messaging.  

Following the initial meeting, give your new employee a list of all the contact details they may need to interact with their colleagues and arrange regular weekly or bi-weekly conversations via video. Though you might not be able to have in-person bonding sessions, there are still plenty of online events and experiences you can create to build a sense of community – like having virtual coffee mornings.  

3. Encourage Over Communication 


One of the biggest challenges of the remote working world is the threat of feeling isolated from the rest of the team. When working with remote employees, over-communication is crucial to both fostering inclusions and ensuring a higher quality of work. During the initial team meeting where you introduce your new hire to your team, you can introduce a few ways they'll keep in touch with colleagues through things like video messages and instant messaging.  

It's also worth giving your employee a list of additional communication strategies they can use, like SMS, email, and even phone calls. Make sure your employees feel comfortable reaching out to their team whenever they need to. After all, we don't have body language and expressions to help clarify a conversation in a remote setting. Over-communication can reduce the risk of misunderstandings and costly mistakes.  

It's also helpful to have an environment where team members can chat about non-work items. Water cooler threads on apps like Slack are popular for remote teams. 

What Next? 


Follow the four steps above to reduce your risk of common remote working issues like feelings of isolation, confusion, and disengagement. Once your onboarding process is complete, remember to continue checking in with your team members. Asking for feedback on how they feel about the quality of your onboarding process could help you to make valuable changes going forward.  

Usually, the best onboarding experiences start with the right hiring decisions. It's much easier to bring someone into your team when they share your values and align with your company culture. If you need help finding the new staff members you want to onboard, contact us on +971 (0)4 442 0921 or via email here.  
 
Thanks,
   
Chris 

How Kinetic Can Help      

 
Kinetic sources professionals locally and internationally for leading multinational, regional and local Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices companies, including Consumer Healthcare organisations.      

If you need help sourcing the best candidates for your pharmaceutical or medical device organisation who will help drive your business forward this year, contact us today.
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