The remote work culture exploded during the pandemic, and it is here to stay. Many employees who started new careers in the last two years were onboarded remotely and continue to work remotely. However, this has created an unwanted problem for workplaces. Recent reports suggest that firms rank remote onboarding as their second-most difficult issue right now, 2nd only to employee burnout.
Bringing on new personnel, sharing business culture and objectives, and integrating them into the organization was already a struggle in person. It's even more difficult now that it’s happening virtually. That’s why we have formulated some strategies that can help you build strong relationships with remote hires.
We're still in the early stages of the remote work era, so there are bound to be challenges. A major stumbling block is office technology, and nothing ruins a spectacular first day at work like an embarrassing failed Zoom call due to a bad network or connectivity.
Ensure that someone from the IT department contacts new hires before their start date to educate them through the technology and tools you'll utilize through their onboarding.
Similarly, many organizations offer welcome kits before they join so that they get off to a good start in their new role. These little personal touches are especially vital for remote employees.
Assist new hires within the organization in connecting among themselves. Their shared experience of starting remotely regardless of age, department, or role creates an organic bond.
Informal "virtual watercooler sessions" can also be beneficial. Researchers from the Harvard Business School revealed new workers who indulge in frequent online events are happier and perform better at work. Online and casual interactions amongst new remote personnel promote career-building ties and build links to the firm.
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Direct managers often stick to business when meeting new remote hires directly. After all, there's a lot to learn, share, and keep track of. However, you as a manager should ensure that your remote employees receive the same amount of attention and chance for informal sessions as in-person colleagues. Managers did not have to think about this before, but times have changed.
As a result, front-line managers should schedule time for casual discussion in each business call. Find out what new remote hires are passionate about in terms of family, hobbies, and profession, and be willing to share yours.
Whether your work is entirely remote or in person, you should always make it apparent that asking questions is encouraged, and there is no such thing as a stupid question. This is especially crucial for distant new hires.
If you wish to connect with recruits remotely, make it clear that they should feel free to ask questions about everything from the specifics of their work to minor details like breakroom protocols. This will make them comfortable and bridge the communication between you and them.
Remote offices have eliminated the potential for spontaneous conversation, so you must turn your focus to intentional interaction. This entails setting up one-on-one video conversations with employees so they may get to know one another.
One major advantage of the remote work period is that video chats are considerably easier to set up than face-to-face meetings, so the options here are fairly extensive. They don't have to be lengthy, in-depth, or particularly formal. Get your employees to interact with one another, so they feel like they're a part of the team.
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Whether you're a laid-back brewery, a forward-thinking startup, or a hard-charging fintech firm, your corporate culture is critical to your success. However, when work culture can no longer be transmitted through in-person encounters, it is beneficial to everyone if you have materials, such as movies or shareable documents that describe the tone and expectations of company culture. These materials can be created by HR or a senior employee council. It's also an excellent opportunity to change or modify your existing work culture.
Remember, because this is mostly for new workers, you can't take anything for granted. Cover everything you can, no matter how minor, obvious, or insignificant it may appear to you.
So much of human bonding occurs through subtleties and unspoken channels such as body language, tone, and eye contact. When communicating digitally, it's difficult to pick up on these key indications, but it's not impossible.
Pay special attention to your new hires' body language, posture, and tone of voice when conversing remotely. If you detect even a hint of dissatisfaction, don't be afraid to confront it. On the other hand, if you happen to share a moment of similar interest or empathy, don't let it go unnoticed and make sure it's acknowledged and shared. Examine the tone of team messages and written communications carefully to stay in touch with how your new hires feel about their roles.
You want new remote recruits to connect with colleagues, the company, and their work, but you also want to make sure they aren't overdoing it. They will leave before becoming completely involved if the job becomes lonely, demanding, or overpowering.
As a result, front-line managers and HR should help new workers to avoid burnout. You should personally message and ask your recruits about their well-being and health from time to time. You should also make sure that they are not bombarded with a lot of work straight away. Create a separate space for them and address their concerns as soon as possible. This will make them feel at home and help you bond with them.
Bonding with remote hires has always been a challenge for companies, but modern technologies have made it easier. With the help of group video calls, audio-video transcription services, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, you can now eliminate many barriers between you and your remote hires.
Remember that all of the above suggestions boil down to three fundamental principles: creating trust, clarity, and communication. These have always been necessary for the smooth operation of a workplace, and you should always intricate them into your work culture.
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