If you're considering letting your employees work remotely, you're not alone. As an industry trend, the remote workforce is proving increasingly valuable. However, the hiring and onboarding processes for remote workers are different from those used for in-house employees, and you'll have more success if you're aware of and follow some emerging best practices.
Start the process well before the worker's first day
The optimal procedure is to get the new hire into the office for orientation before sending them out to work remotely. When that's not an option, you'll need to have a different process that gets them comfortable with their new work situation despite their far away location.
• Adapt your standard on-boarding procedure to fit the new remote opportunity
Have your forms, information, handbook, etc., adapted for the remote employee and available electronically and send them off as soon as they accept the job. Have them return their documents to you for review before you schedule their orientation discussion.
• Plan a virtual walk-through
If there's no way for them to get to the office, technology offers the capacity to take the office to them. Several apps provide videoconferencing so you can show them where their new company is situated and introduce them - face-to-virtual-face - to their new colleagues. They'll be able to visualize who they're talking to and where that person is located in every future conversation.
• Conduct their orientation through a video feed
It builds camaraderie and trust, so they'll be more relaxed if they have questions for you about the new work and company. It also provides a better foundation for a discussion about the culture of your company and its expectations of their effort going forward.
Engage with them on an ongoing basis
Once they have settled into the new job, it is critical that they remain connected to your business as they move forward with their work:
• Most remote workers benefit when there are frequent interactions between them and their business colleagues. Some may prefer to check in every day, while others are comfortable with a once-a-week or bi-weekly conference call. Again, technology provides numerous options for communications, including the video chats, email and texts. Clarify the exact channels you will use to connect with them and expect them to respond through those channels when you reach out.
• Technology can also provide you with tools to 'oversee' what they're doing from a distance. Inflection HR's cloud-based timekeeping software lets them "clock in and out" of the company as they "get to" and "leave from" work each day. Uploading their work product into the company's cloud storage facilities puts that data into corporate databanks where you can see what they're doing and use their remotely-generated data to drive your 'in-the-office' decisions.
• Inflection HR also offers analytics programming that gives you insights into the productivity and quality of the work product of your remote workforce. The easy-to-read dashboards keep you up to date with your workforce investments, so you can plan and tailor their effort to best suit your corporate needs.