When the business world collided with the COVID-19 virus in early 2020, a general shutdown of brick-and-mortar operations took place. Companies were forced to shutter their physical operations as social distancing became the preeminent focus of the global population.
While this left many businesses hamstrung and fully out of operation, others made a sudden and dramatic pivot onto the cloud.
A Remote Work World Created Overnight
The shift to remote work that the coronavirus sparked was neither premeditated nor fully feasible. For many companies, key activities had to be adapted and adjusted on the fly to keep operations moving forward. Integral operational procedures such as marketing, sales, and customer service, suddenly shifted to online equivalents or alternatives. Even internal communication and collaboration had to go to a fully-remote option that depended on video chats and workflow platforms.
With so many employees laid off and furloughed at a moment’s notice, many workspaces also found that they needed to rehire employees as they shifted to a long-term remote setting.
While some were able to wrangle past employees back into their ranks, others found it necessary to recruit fresh candidates, forcing them to find ways to quickly set up a remote onboarding process.
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Tips for Remote Onboarding
If your company is amongst the thousands of businesses attempting to set up a virtual onboarding process, you’re not alone. Here are three important tips to smooth out the bumps in the road as you welcome new employees into your company’s retooled remote business.
1. Demonstrate Transcendent Leadership
While it may seem natural to begin the process with something like remote hardware or online organization, there’s something less tangible and more important that should be in place before anything else: strong leadership.
While members of the younger Millennial and Gen Z generations may be comfortable with remote technology, there are many older employees that may not adapt as readily to a remote work situation. Trying to shift to a remote workforce with four or five generations all working side by side requires a strong hand at the wheel.
As you prepare to welcome and train new employees on the cloud, it’s important to make sure you have a good onboarding leadership team in place who can demonstrate crucial leadership characteristics:
- Quality communication: The ability to rise above the restrictions of your communication options and transfer information to new employees is a critical leadership attribute for remote onboarding.
- Self-awareness and empathy: While boldness and confidence are obvious leadership traits, self-awareness of one’s weaknesses along with the ability to remotely identify and empathize with other’s shortcomings is essential to proper online training.
- A thorough grasp on company culture: If a leader doesn’t know what their company culture is, they can’t cultivate it in their new recruits.
- An emphasis on candor and feedback: If you cannot communicate genuinely in a way that fosters trust, it undermines the already tenuous teamwork capabilities of remote work.
- A willingness to change and adapt: With a remote world powered by ever-evolving technology, it’s important for leaders to be able to guide others in making changes and adapting when necessary.
If you can demonstrate these key leadership characteristics, you’ll have a much smoother experience as you onboard and train new online employees.
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2. Consider Your Tools
Proper hardware and software are absolutely necessary for bringing in new talent over the cloud. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you set things up:
- Internet speed and dependability: It’s important to establish standards for both your and your employees’ internet connections. All you need for a stable video conference is roughly 1Mps upload and download speeds. However, if you are uploading and downloading high-definition graphics, you’ll need closer to 50Mps download and 25Mps upload speed to keep things flowing smoothly.
- Workflow: It’s important to have an application like Trello, Asana, or Podio to help organize your workflow and provide an easy way for new recruits to find training materials.
- Digital apps and tools: It’s also a good idea to identify what video chat software you want to use such as Zoom or Skype, as well as where you want to host training documents, images, videos, and other resources. Google Suite provides many effective and highly-collaborative tools. There are also third-party options like H5P that give you more control over your training collateral.
3. Test, Analyze, and Adjust
Finally, if you want to perfect your system, increase your efficiency, and enable a continuous learning environment, it’s important to test, analyze, and adjust your remote onboarding and training operations over time:
- Test: As you set up your remote training system, remember to keep A/B testing in mind. Let candidates know that you’re vetting their responses to your training and would like to gather feedback as they go along. Then use that information to improve your system.
- Analyze: As you gather information, it’s also important to identify KPIs that are relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish. Look for factors like your recruit’s online attendance, completion of course materials, and demonstrated progress.
- Adjust: Once you have tested and analyzed your system, look for what is lacking and then take action. Make adjustments and start to track the results all over again in a cycle of perpetual improvement.
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Finding Remote Onboarding and Training Success
From equipping yourself with the right tools to building a powerful leadership team and tracking your results, there are multiple ways that you can go into your remote onboarding and training efforts with both eyes open.
The important thing is that you take the time to organize and prepare yourself beforehand so that you can genuinely inform and train new recruits without wasting time and resources in the process. This will equip them to have a positive impact on your company as quickly as possible.
If you’re looking for more how-to content and best-practices for remote training, onboarding, and getting the most from your L&D investment, we’ve put together this list of articles, guides, and on-demand video training just for you:
- eBook: The Andragogy Secret: How To Use Adult Learning Theory To Drive L&D Engagement Success
- eBook: Onboarding Best Practices for Maximum ROI
- eBook: How To Use Learning Paths to Attract & Retain “Star” Workers
- Article: Make a Great First Impression with a Solid New Hire Onboarding Program
- Article: Self-Paced Learning Strategies for eLearning Success
- Article: The Best Tools for Increasing Learner Engagement
- Webinar: The Pro’s Guide For Onboarding Your New LMS Admins
Disclaimer: This article was contributed by guest blogger Beau Peters. Beau is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. The views and opinions expressed belong to the guest blogger alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or opinions of Lambda Solutions.