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The Tips To Onboard (And Keep) Your New Hires

Brenna Donoghue

August 24, 2021

For the first time since Q1, many companies are ramping back up hiring. And while most have navigated the how to’s of interviewing and hiring remotely, a majority are struggling to effectively onboard those new hires.

Sure, the technical sides of onboarding can be delivered remotely, but the early interpersonal connections that are absolutely are much harder to form screen-to-screen. Yet, they can’t be overlooked. Those first few weeks set the foundation for how new hires adopt your culture, contribute, and stick around for the long haul. 

In our work with clients who have made the shift from co-located to remote onboarding, we have 3 tips we like to share:

  1. This isn’t about a checklist

It’s easy to turn onboarding into a list of to do’s… information that needs to be passed on, introductions to be made, tasks to be completed. Yet when co-located, those tactics were naturally paired with informal interactions that help new employees forge relationships and build interpersonal connections.

When remote, those informal connection points don’t occur naturally, and actively need to be replaced. That means more frequent check-ins, introductions to other people throughout the organization who they won’t meet otherwise while remote, and finding ways to still have fun and connect as a team, even if screen-to-screen. 

  1. Take the onus off the new hire and make onboarding a shared responsibility.

Many companies put the onus on their new hires to build connections and network. But we forget, being new is really hard. They’re trying to prove their value right away, while also juggling the daunting task of getting to know everyone while remote. Instead, help new employees break the ice and set the expectation of your team that it’s their job to induct new team members into the culture, make them feel welcomed, and help them understand how the team operates.

With every change in team composition, we always use Perspective, a psychometric assessment that helps everyone on the team better understand one another, how they work, and what they need to be effective together. 

  1. Over-schedule to start.

There is nothing worse than trying to look busy in your early days in an office. Even worse, trying to appear busy and reactive on Slack and email when you have nothing to do yet.

One way to make someone feel like everyone is excited to have them, is to be busy and invited to stuff… lots and lots of stuff. Get your new team member booked into meetings to help them see how you work and start to pick up the vernacular, even if it’s only tangentially relevant to their role. Ask peers to book coffee chats, potential mentors to induct them into your cultural history, and invite them to share something interesting about themselves at your all hands. Simply put, get them connecting with lots of people right off the bat.

Building connections and trust while remote is hard and complex. Yet, the investment you make in onboarding will pay dividends in the future.