In the given time, it has become a necessity to redesign the hiring process to recruit remote employees and then manage and retain those employees for a long period.

As COVID-19 continues, the majority of employers have switched to a remote workforce. To recruit talented employees that you're confident will bring a lot of contributions to the company has become harder than ever. Especially, the first few days of the job can be a bit overwhelming with the introductions, training, first assignments, etc. And for better retention and engagement of these employees, a smooth onboarding process can provide them the support and resources required to succeed in their new roles.

Hiring Remote Employees During COVID-19

With Remote interviews, employers have an access to a larger talent pool and so, there is a higher probability to find an outstanding candidate. However, it is not just about the potential employees, it is also about how you, as a manager, conduct the interview. Preparing for your remote interviews will streamline the process and help you assess the best candidates.

  • You need to be aware that there will probably be several candidates who seem to be the best fit for the role. The best way to recognize the ideal employee is to prepare in advance on what is the most relevant aspect.

  • Prepare some questions to ask the employees about remote work arrangements. Here are some examples of questions you can ask:

  1. How do you plan to organize work as a remote worker to eliminate all the distractions that come with the home environment?

  2. How will you communicate with your coworkers to ensure the project gets done on time and efficiently?

  3. What do you expect your biggest challenge will be as a remote employee? How do you plan to deal with that challenge?

  4. How do you manage to stay motivated as a remote employee?

Now that the hiring process is done and you're confident that this employee would be a good fit for the company, the more challenging part starts. And that's how to retain the employee in this new environment for a long time. This one element can ruin a good hire if it's rushed or overlooked: That's how to onboard a new remote employee.

Why Is Onboarding Important?

During this process, the new employee will observe the organization, the processes and will evaluate if working here would be worth his/her time. This would also include the conversations with other employees, formal/informal settings and what type of work would he be doing. Many employees, when not welcomed properly, feels left out and it takes too much time for them to open up in this environment. With all remote settings, this becomes even harder, as it becomes difficult to talk and express over video calls with other employees. And so it becomes imperative that the employers very transparently showcase the culture of the company and exactly what the expectations are for anyone who works there going ahead.

6 tips to effectively manage the onboarding process:

1. Build up the expectations of what is required before the employee joins.

This includes introducing the member to all the resources and the process that's usually followed for it like the following.

  • All the relevant paperwork for signing should be done digitally. Before this, the employee should be given a chance to ask all the questions regarding it.

  • A proper remote working manual should be provided before the start. This will give them a better understanding of what's expected and they would be more prepared while joining. This manual should include all the rules, regulations, best practices, insights on how to work remotely. 

  • There should be a proper understanding of the type of work they are expected to do while in their role. This is a very crucial part of onboarding because when people are prepared for what's to come, they tend to perform better.

2. A proper introduction with other employees of the company.

It’s important to foresee that this new employee meets all the important and relevant people they will collaborate with within their new role. This includes Managers, Teammates, Executives, and HR.  

  • To create more value, it is always a good idea for new employees to interact with the executives, as it gives a sense of importance to them and builds their confidence. 

  • It's also important to have 1-1 video calls with different departments. It could be a short introduction of the department and explain each of their roles and how they can expect to work with each other in the future. 

  • Meetings with the team they are going to work on a daily basis with. It is important to move beyond the introductions and talk more here as the employee should feel the most comfortable with the team members.

  • Informal team meetings. To truly open up with the team, it's important to have some fun conversations and make the new employee feel comfortable. The team can play different games together on video calls.

3. Get some productivity tools for your team to use, to better assign and manage their tasks

In an office environment, it is easy to track when employees leave the office, what time is spent on each task, when they have logged in SAP, Xero, Oracle Financials, Transformify, or any other specific software solutions they may be using daily.

When working all remotely, it is important to set a specific way of working that is focused more on productivity and KPIs. At Transformify, we track the time spent on each task, quality of execution, team velocity, and much more.

  • Time tracking software is a ‘’ must-have’’ for every organization sensitive to productivity and quality of work. It allows us to understand better the strengths and weaknesses of our team members and assign the right tasks to them.

  • Combining a time tracking software with KPIs and quality metrics is likely to provide the best results. At Transformify, we use Clockify and TeamCamp. Some of them integrate with project management software like Jira or Asana, others are better for tracking the time of team members such as designers, marketers, etc.

  • Provide the employee with the proper equipment and other sources for effective work before joining. This could include desktop, laptop, desks, licenses, etc.

4. Creating Proper Communication Channels

Communication, Planning, and Internal controls are a very important aspect for remote companies. People feel isolated from the rest of the team if there are no communication channels. 

  • For the Transformify team, it is Slack that works best as it integrates seamlessly with Jira and allows us to track the progress on all tasks, organize our teams in team communication channels.

Once you have communication channels in place, you may find out that people need to be encouraged to communicate regularly. 

5. Invest the first week in proper training

This training can help the employee understand the work more properly. Even when the employee is already aware of a certain process or software, it's always a good idea to still have a training session for that. This will not only build their confidence but also set a basis for what they are expected to do.

  • Training sessions with different departments where there can be some collaboration in the future. Every department functions in a different way, so it's best to have trained under them. 

  • Sessions with the managers and team members with whom they are going to work on a daily basis.  

6. Properly manage the payroll remotely

Managing the payroll of all the employees remotely is a very big hassle and you do not want to spend too much time on this. Duplicate payments, messy invoicing, unmet deadlines, and inefficient budget controls are just a small part of all challenges businesses face in this remote environment. 

Transformify offers a perfect payroll system for you to manage all your employees in one place. Why to have a system like this in place? By eliminating the payroll data entry across every department, you eliminate the need to coordinate with people to run payroll, regardless of whether they’re in the office or at home. This is a quicker, cheaper, and most convenient way. 

With a system like this in place, hiring managers can effectively manage their dashboard from one place to ensure the following:

  • Effectively Onboard remote employees

  • Assign projects and monitor the stage of completion

  • Eliminate duplicate payments

  • Transfer payments across the globe in any currency via a click of a button

  • Benefit from fully automated billing and invoicing

  • Integrate with ERP/ payroll/ accounting / financial and project management software.

Onboarding needs to be a 3 month (or more) process to help a new hire feel acquainted and motivated to perform. It is important to have early and frequent two-way communication. The way you onboard a new employee can set the tone for how their experience will be with your company. The process you create needs to aim at engaging, retaining, and achieving the peak performance of your employees. Make sure you have a plan to receive and provide feedback to ensure you can optimize the process moving forward.