As a manager, you play the most important role in the induction process.
The first day at a new job typically involves a warm handshake and a tour around the workplace.
But given the current circumstances and a process that is traditionally face-to-face this how do you ensure your starters get the same amount of care and guidance.
You start before they start
Get the technology in place
Order computers and other hardware well ahead of their start date.
Ensure they know what day/ time they can collect their equipment – don’t expect them to do the chasing.
This needs to be ready so they can hit the ground running on day one.
Plan ahead and ensure your new start has the necessary access to the campus for when your department returns.
Connect before day one
Email useful information (such as e-newsletters, corporate videos, or a welcome pack), so that your new start can familiarise themselves with the university at leisure.
Or why not invite them along to your next team meeting or social gathering.
Appoint a virtual Induction Colleague
Not only for work related support but wider social networks within the University.
Encourage the induction colleague to use video to interact with the remote worker during the induction process.
This can include facilitating introductions to other people in the business or organising virtual coffee-catch ups and informal chats.
Clarity from Day One
Set Goals and Expectations
In the first few week's new employees want to feel that they are hitting the ground running – make them practical and achievable encouraging new recruits to feel motivated and connected.
A simple idea could be creating a quiz for the whole team to participate.
Get them up to speed on your company culture
Remote employees are part of your culture, despite not being in the office.
To help them understand the culture, share:
- Company Values
- Institutional strategic objectives – this should include the People & Culture Strategy
- Departmental strategy
- Your team’s vision, priorities and plans
Ensure they understand how to use our communication tools
Describe the best ways to contact team members and how to troubleshoot communication technology.
Also, if relevant, provide manuals on how to set up:
- Company email
- Group messaging tools – Yammer, Microsoft Teams
- Video conference technology
Review their progress regularly
Schedule calls after their first week, month and quarter to touch base.
These calls will help you understand if they’re facing any difficulties and whether they’ve settled into their
Set up meetings with their team members and other key employees
These meetings could be one-on-one and/or group calls. During their first days, employees should meet with:
- Their co-workers/ direct reports
- Employees from other departments they’ll work closely with
Why not send out a New Start Email to your team (written by the new start) with all those details that you are itching to find out and the virtual world creates that barrier:
Reciprocate this by asking your team to create the same for the new start – creating that social element which is key in these times. Could even be a welcome video from the team!
Arrange role-specific training
It’s often challenging to train remote employees, as real-time communication is usually limited.
It is important to continue with any planned training virtually and make sure you touch base with them afterwards to find out how it went.
Remember, remote employees can become ‘out of sight, out of mind.’
Don’t neglect them during those first few weeks.
Connectivity from Day One
Building a connection despite working in separate locations is one of the key areas in remote managing. Remember to focus on the human element of your exchanges with your new team member, building rapport and really getting to know them.
Informal chats and get-to-know-you sessions all help to build a strong working relationship. Remote collaboration tools provide some advantages that are missing in a physical office setting.
Why not have virtual lunches (no business chat allowed) with new team members to allow for more of a cohesive group experience and arrange team video calls once a week allowing everyone to be a part of every conversation.
Remember that your new team member may never have physically seen any of their colleagues – so use video when possible – remember to create that connection!
Be flexible in your approach - remember to put yourself in the shoes of each new start (not everyone is the same).
Don't expect everyone to be able to shout for help or support especially in the virtual world.