Are you remotely onboarding new members to your business technology team?

In recent months, you’ve likely had to level-up your technology processes to account for employees working from home, and also to adapt to changes in the way you do business. For this reason, you may also be adding new hires to your business technology team to introduce these systems and streamline operations. 

Remote onboarding can be challenging for a variety of reasons, but there are things you can do to make the process smooth and empowering. From provisioning essential tools to scheduling virtual coffee events and hosting demos, here are some of the ways to get started: 

Remote onboarding 101:

1. Provide employees with the tools they need on their first day

Be sure to provision key tools that your new hire will need on their first day and beyond, whether that’s a company chat app or a platform that hosts the company’s directory. Consider what applications they’ll need to do their job, and make sure they have access to their email, appropriate project management software, or human resources management system as soon as possible. 

When it comes to workplace tools, Sapling HR recommends giving employees a budget to help stock their home office with necessary accessories. New hires may not have a remote setup yet, and by offering a stipend for employees to buy office supplies with, you’ll go the extra mile in ensuring their productivity and comfort

2. Create a welcome plan to get new employees acquainted with their colleagues

Jo Deal, LogMeIn’s Chief Human Resources Officer recommends creating a plan to help new hires meet key individuals over a period of weeks. “Establish a “meet-and-greet” roadmap,” says Deal. “One that stretches out several weeks can help connect new employees with other individuals they should know to build their internal networks while remote.”

Sapling HR recommends a virtual coffee meeting to start the day.  

Hosting a virtual coffee is an alternative way to bring that in-office experience online and help your new hires feel like they’re making connections with their new colleagues. 

Sapling HR also suggests building a buddy program—match new hires with colleagues to help them navigate their new roles, ask questions, and more. This is what social-media-management company Buffer does. “Having someone dedicated to checking in on a new hire builds a stronger support system,” Nicole Miller, people operations manager at Buffer told Business Insider. “When things go back to normal and there’s an in-office routine, you still have that intentionality and leadership built into those titles.”

3. Make sure they’re up to date on your policies 

Now, that your organization has gone remote, you likely have updated your policies to help your employees adjust. 

Sapling HR recommends sharing your remote policy to make expectations clear. Since working from home introduces a variety of challenges not found in an office, it is important to go over issues unique to working remotely. Explain how to set and communicate work hours, what home-office materials can and cannot be expensed, and how to properly submit those expenses for reimbursement. 

If your company has developed other new policies, like cost of living salary adjustments as employees consider moving away from HQ, be sure to go over those and answer any questions new hires might have.  

Business Technology onboarding insights: 

Now that we’ve covered a couple hurdles of remote onboarding, here’s a recap of some insights we learned from Susan Chambers, Business Systems Analyst at Khoros on how to improve onboarding for BT-specific roles.

1. Overview sessions 

Have an overview session to go over your company’s background, what the mission is, and where your team fits within the broader structure. Chambers also recommends using this time to go over your team’s “key responsibilities, challenges, and  future plans.” You can also host a session on your team and unique tech stack—this will give you the opportunity to discuss key projects, business systems, roadmap processes, and responsibilities. 

Why we suggest you take this on:

By setting this foundation early, your new hire will be better equipped to start contributing to your team’s goals and align their tasks with the greater company strategy. 

2. 1 on 1s 

Schedule 1 on 1s with all of your new hire’s business technology collaborators so that they can get to know each other, better understand each other’s roles, and introduce one another to the systems they help support. (This is a great opportunity for demos! Have members of the team show your new hire how different applications work.) By spending time with teammates and seeing what their day-to-day looks like, your new hire will know who their future collaborators are, who they should escalate specific issues to, and who to involve in projects they will lead. 

Don’t forget to organize shadowing sessions with the users the new hire will be supporting as well. It could make sense to book time with power users or subject matter experts from sales, customer success, or marketing. This exercise can help new hires get a better understanding of user experience by going through the whole system and process with a lead user and asking about challenges, complaints, and more.

Why we suggest you take this on:

This will give your new hires the ability to empathize with those using the applications they’re supporting. 

3. Individual Learning 

Consider what references you have for the new hire to learn on their own, like processes documentation, shared knowledge bases, or team-specific handbooks. In terms of company-wide learning, make sure your new hire has access to available resources like online training videos, documents detailing their benefits, or courses that train them on the company’s product.

Why we suggest you take this on:

It’s great for your new hire to talk to other colleagues, but it’s important to give new hires the tools to answer questions on their own as well. To take this tip a step further, consider creating an individual learning track for your new hire to help them work through company-specific knowledge and best practices related to your team.  

Want to learn how other business technology professionals are dealing with remote onboarding? Request to join our business systems community here!

Tayleur Hylton
About Tayleur Hylton

Tayleur is a budding technology enthusiast helping to grow the business systems community.