With so many employees working from home, onboarding new recruits can be a challenging part of employee communication. But by following a few work from home best practices, Sociabble has found a way to make it effective and fun.
Because of the recent health crisis, working from home has become commonplace around the world, with large numbers of employees participating in telecommuting as part of their daily life. In this blog post, we’ll discuss ways that we here at Sociabble have been able to utilize a few key work from home best practices to make it easier to welcome new talent to the team. It will include:
1. Why onboarding talent is so important
2. Why the proper equipment matters
3. The crucial role of an agenda
4. The best mix of online courses and live training
5. Why it makes sense to onboard several employees at once
6. The importance of also having a little bit of fun
Work from home best practices are more urgent than ever. At Sociabble, we know.
For many companies in the SAAS industry, and simply for many companies in general, remote working has becoming an urgent topic. We’ve written several articles and even a white paper on how to keep all your employees aligned during these difficult times. However, when considering all the challenges linked to a 100% remote scenario, the subject of onboarding new talents remotely remains one of the most difficult to overcome. Here at Sociabble, we’ve onboarded 6 new talents and helped them become part of the team, just over the past 3 months.
At Sociabble, we see onboarding as a chance not just to pass on crucial skills, but also to give newcomers a warm welcome, and make sure they understand the values of the company, even if they are beginning remotely.
Onboarding is crucial. But when working remotely, it presents new challenges.
However, due to the pandemic and subsequent restrictions, the newcomers could not be onboarded physically in the office, as they usually are. In order to address this challenge, Sociabble has worked on an onboarding process leveraging several tools and coordinating with different members of the team, to help ensure that these crucial orientation days remain a success.
In fact, regardless of whether you are a full-time employee or an intern joining the company, at Sociabble we believe that the first weeks within the company are among the most important. They are the ones which give the new talent a first impression of the company, and help make them confident enough to collaborate and create a link with the other members of the company. On the other hand, the company needs to ensure that the newcomers get all the knowledge they need in order to be fully operational as soon as possible. At every new wave of onboarding, we try to iterate and improve step-by-step our processes to ensure new talents feel welcomed by the company when they arrive.
Onboarding remotely might not be an ideal experience for everyone, but we are trying to make it fun and insightful, to the extent that we can. Here are a few work from home best practices we have picked up when it comes to onboarding, and applied while onboarding our 6 new employees remotely:
Tip #1: Start off on the right foot with the proper tools.
Make sure the newcomer gets all the equipment and tools they need to work from home just like at the office. People should be as well-equipped as they are at the physical workspace. Why? Well, obviously without the right tools, the sculptor cannot craft the sculpture at home as he would at a studio, and the same applies to office workers. It might sound like common sense, but we observed at Sociabble that it requires quite a bit of preparation. Do you have enough laptops for the newcomers? Who should be in charge of ordering or delivering the laptops? Are you providing extra office furniture, like chairs or monitor screens, for instance? All those questions might slow down the onboarding process if not anticipated properly. Also, don’t forget to schedule a session to set up the cloud ecosystem and all the apps the newcomers might need for the onboarding agenda.
Tip #2: The process runs more smoothly if you have an agenda.
Create a proper onboarding agenda, and send it to the newcomers prior to their arrival. In fact, the onboarding starts even before their very first day at the company. At Sociabble, we program 2-3 onboarding sessions a day, over a period of 2-3 weeks, depending on the position. The calendar is then sent at least a few days prior to the arrival of the new employee. Not only does this give a clear view of the orientation program to the new talent, but it also encourages the team members involved in the onboarding process to project themselves on the arrival of a new employee, undertaking new projects and fresh responsibilities.
Tip #3: Don’t overwhelm them. Give them time to process the information.
Create open slots to leave enough time to assimilate all the new information. The first weeks at a new company are often very intensive, due to the high volume of new information the new employee needs to assimilate. Every company has its own vocabulary and processes. It often requires a few weeks for the newly onboarded team member to get familiar with all the company’s concepts and strategies. The onboarding agenda should be intense, but do not hesitate to also leave some free time as well, to let the newcomers breathe and become more familiar with the tools and the products & services your company is offering. They should also know what types of activities they can do when they have a free slot. It could, for instance, be to take an online course with a quiz, on a concept they have already been exposed to on your LMS platform.
Tip #4: Mix up the online courses with some live training sessions.
Use a mix of online courses and live trainings. Another central element which we started this year at Sociabble is the deployment of MOOCs and online courses to train people internally. We use them not only to educate on new features, but also for any other relevant topics that could bring value to the different departments. For example: How to pitch the Social Media Management tool, Learn the CSM engagement methodology, Discover how to manage your leads on the CRM side, etc. You can get great results with LMS platforms like TalentLMS, which will allow you to manage an e-learning agenda, monitor the learning curve of the learner, create the courses with ease, and most importantly, create tests to assess the acquirement of knowledge.
The onboarding process at Sociabble is therefore a mix of live trainings and MOOCs. And one type of training can be complementary to another. But on the other hand, some sessions should definitely be done live and one-on-one. For instance, we always try to organize on the very first day a live session with our CEO Jean-Louis, so he can discuss the mission, the vision, and the values of the company, so the new employees can ask any questions they might have and feel personally welcomed by the CEO of the company.
Tip #5: It’s better to onboard several employees at once.
Try to onboard several people at the same time if you can. We mentioned it already, but starting alone, from home, at a new company can feel quite strange for anyone joining a new organization. If you have a chance to onboard small cohorts at the same time, it will often create a sense of camaraderie. Also, it allows the company to centralize its onboarding efforts and help reduce using avoidable training time that could have been aggregated. Even if the newcomers have distinct job positions, their onboarding agenda can include common sessions relevant to all departments, and more targeted trainings for their specific role. The worst scenario would be to onboard people with very similar job activities, several weeks apart.
Tip #6: Don’t forget to have a little fun.
Don’t forget to organize fun & informal sessions. At Sociabble, we try to get the newcomers to meet as many people as possible during their onboarding period. We are a close-knit company and everyone is essential to making the ship go forward. Everyone should have a clear view on who is doing what, to best collaborate on the different projects that are often interconnected between the different departments. This is even more important in the case of a remote scenario, where fewer “informal talks” can take place, as opposed to a regular office onboarding. Not only do the new employees get to interact during the training sessions with others, but we also try to onboard them through more informal sessions, such as the live coffee break, Friday drinks on Zoom, live sport sessions, or other fun activities led on the Sociabble platform.
Tip #7: Keep a record and analyze your results.
Record all sessions systematically. As mentioned before, you should leave free slots in the onboarding agenda of the new employees. They might decide to get back to their notes and realize that they did not fully understand a specific process or concept. This advice is often common sense for a fully remote company, but all the onboarding sessions should be recorded, on your videoconferencing tools for instance, especially the ones which do not exist as a course on your LMS platform. It will allow the new comers to get back to the sessions and listen again to the explanations.
On that note, be sure to organize regular check-ups with the direct manager and onboarding coordinator to make sure the onboarding is going well. Listen to the feedback and insights, and make improvements for the next round of onboarding. No onboarding is perfect, and in spite of all our best efforts, there may always be some elements missing that could make the onboarding even better. Talk to new employees, find out what worked for them and what didn’t, and use those learnings to fine-tune the process and make it as effective—and enjoyable—as possible.
Want to learn more about Employee Communication? Or even about working at Sociabble? We’d love to chat.
Sociabble offers remote employee onboarding and training possibilities, but so much more. Sociabble is a comprehensive Employee Communication and Employee Advocacy platform backed up by customized consulting and assistance, every step of the way. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies in over 80 countries around the world, including industry leaders like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Vinci, and L’Occitane, to name a few. We’d love to chat with you about Sociabble, and tell you how we can help bring your company’s Employee Communication and Advocacy to the next level. Or even discuss career opportunities if you think Sociabble is a place where you might like to work. Because we’re often hiring, and we’re always excited to talk to new talent.
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To learn more about career opportunities at Sociabble, just click here.