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The induction process is a critical step for any new employee, with most employees making the decision to stay with a company in the longer term after just the first six months of employment. The induction enables the company to communicate the values and culture of the organization, as well as provide support to employees to enable them to integrate with the current workforce and feel more comfortable and confident with the expectations of their new role.

With more and more employers offering flexible working practices, including working from home and full-time remote working, the induction process as it is often referred to today in relation to remote working, the “onboarding” process – is a step every employer needs to get right. Just as remote working presents a range of different challenges in comparison with traditional in-office working, so too does remote onboarding in comparison with traditional in-person inductions. It is not enough to replicate the induction process digitally, instead of successful onboarding requires a different approach.

Here are six top tips for a successful onboarding process for employees who work from home:

Before Employment

The remote onboarding process starts before an offer of employment is made. Be very clear in the job description for the vacancy what the expectations of the role are – what are the hours of work, how frequently is contact maintained, what systems are in place to support remote working, what training is offered, and how is output monitored? Be clear about all these aspects of the role before the candidate even applies to ensure there are no nasty surprises or misinterpretations for the successful candidate.

Pre-Boarding

To help your new employee get off to a flying start, don’t wait until their first official day to engage with them. A range of admin tasks are likely needed to be completed for a new start, so send a welcome email a couple of weeks before the start date that introduces you to your new employee, sets out the itinerary for the first few days or weeks, provides some more information on the company – such as an Employee Handbook, access to the Intranet, or an explainer video – and provide relevant contact details in case they have any initial questions.

To really impress, consider sending them a Welcome Pack with some branded essentials and goodies to welcome them to the team and the company, such as branded pens, mugs, and notebooks, and a voucher for a local coffee shop.

Getting Kitted Out

Make sure your new start has everything they need well in advance of their first official day of employment. This can include a laptop or PC, screen, mobile phone, keyboard and mouse, printer, desk, and a suitable chair. In addition, make sure they have been set up with accounts and logins for any software they will be using, such as a company email address, CRM access, cloud-based storage systems, payroll and holiday approval systems, etc.

Provide step-by-step setup instructions, or if possible, include a virtual or physical element of the induction where a member of IT support can take them through the setup process.

The Office Tour

Whether your new employee will ever work from your office or not, your physical space is a representation of your company culture and it still offers an insight into how your business functions. Where possible, give your new start an in-person or virtual tour, whether this is a live walkaround or a pre-recorded video. This should include an overview of the layout of the space, where key processes occur, and introductions to employees who do work from the physical location.

Team Introductions

Introduce your new employee to their new team members via one-to-one video calls scheduled throughout their first week. When all one-to-one introductions have been made, host a group video call. Where possible, include informal “getting to know you” elements. In the physical work environment, employees have “watercooler moments” where they can socialize and bond during break times, lunch breaks, and throughout the day with interpersonal interactions. Remote working doesn’t lend itself to these types of interactions naturally, so they must be curated and intentional.

Buddy Up

Make sure your new start has a mentor or “buddy” who they can go to with any questions or concerns, and who reaches out to them on a regular basis for the first few weeks or months.