Whew! You’ve finished the interview process, found a candidate you love, completed negotiations, and finally signed all the paperwork to bring them on board—the work is done, right?
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you get to step back and let your brand-new employee shine without any guidance. It’s crucial to provide an onboarding and training experience that prepares and empowers your new employees—especially remote employees.
According to Shift Learning, “Employees who feel they cannot develop in the company and fulfill their career goals are 12 times more likely to leave the company.”
So what can you do? Here are seven tips to implement as you train a remote employee.
What To Do When Training A Remote Employee
1. Prepare for them ahead of time.
You wouldn’t be surprised when a new hire came into the office on the first day, so don’t be unprepared when your remote employee’s first day comes, either. Ideally, you’ll have an onboarding and training document ready for them as well as processes laid out for everyone they will be coming into contact with—that includes all supervisors and colleagues.
Whether you have only a few employees or your entire team is remote, you must also make sure you’re providing them the technical aspects they need for success. That includes making sure they have the following:
- A computer.
- An internet connection.
- Webcam and audio abilities.
- Access, credentials, and email addresses for the software or platforms you use.
- Access to all of the tools your team uses to meet, communicate, and keep track of projects (Skype, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.).
- Access to folders and files they need.
- Written processes and plans.
2. Make their first day a big deal.
Try to create a virtual component of whatever you would do for an in-office employee. For a remote employee, that might look like a specially scheduled 15-minute video meeting solely to introduce the new employee and learn a bit about them. Your whole team (or as many people as possible) should be in attendance.
3. Introduce the whole team.
Just as you’d walk the new employee around the office or take them out to lunch with current employees, you should set aside time for remote employees to meet their colleagues. This may look like mandatory 15-minute one-to-one meetings with everyone on the team, where the new employee can spend time learning specifically about each person they’ll be working “alongside.”
4. Explain how your team works.
In addition to introducing your new remote employee to everyone, take time to explain how the day-to-day looks for your team.
- How often do you interact?
- How (and on what platforms) do you interact?
- What are the expectations for communication?
- What does a normal workday look like?
- What are their hours?
- What kind of breaks do they get?
Walking them through a typical day and week is helpful in giving them parameters for how they should work remotely. It can also prevent mishaps and miscommunications on both ends.
5. Meet with them regularly.
It’s easy not to meet with remote employees simply because they’re not nearby—you can’t pop in an office to say hello. Be proactive by scheduling recurring “check-ins” or meetings to update each other on progress, answer questions, and do whatever else needs to be done.
6. Give them all the processes and documentation you have.
It’s worth mentioning again that your remote employees need the same level of access and tools that your in-office employees have. Providing them with a company manual (if it’s robust and one your company actually uses) is essential. Furthermore, any processes you have should be passed along to the remote employee as well.
And if you don’t have these documents and processes, now’s the best time to start compiling and creating them.
7. Treat—and train—them just as you would an in-office employee.
Just because an employee works remotely doesn’t make them less integral to the success of your company. Make sure you’re treating your remote employees in the same manner as your other employees. That means offering the same or similar training and opportunities. Making sure an employee knows when they should join the whole team in the office (if your company has a headquarters) is vital to making sure they feel as if they are part of the culture.
Ignorance costs more than training an employee does—especially a remote employee. By providing a second-to-none onboarding experience and continued opportunities for training, you will reduce your risk of losing an employee due to unhappiness or inability to do the job.