Are you considering hiring remote employees? A remote workforce doesn’t just cut overhead costs. Half of the workforce is already working in some sort of telecommuting role, and 80%-90% of all employees say they would like to work remotely at least part of the time.
When you hire remote workers, you can significantly improve retention. Many employers notice that prospective hires are unified in one aspect: candidates are saying more than ever that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities can play a major role in their decision to take or leave a job.
But how do you manage a remote team effectively? Once hired, can you really get them through onboarding and training with confidence, and make them part of your company “family? The answer is yes – but you need to have an open mind, and be willing to shift away from traditional workplace training methods.
The biggest mistake employers make with remote workers
Far and away the biggest pitfall for employees hiring their first remote workers is a failure to clearly communicate their goals and expectations for training. All employees need clarity on what’s expected of them when it comes to the responsibilities of their role in the company.
For remote workers, your own responsibility is even bigger. You have to be able to reach across the miles and support your offsite workers who don’t have the benefit of interacting with you or managers face to face.
How do you achieve clarity and provide your remote workforce with the direction they need to succeed? Communication, consistency, and centralization are key. When employees have a single place they can go for clear, actionable answers, they become:
- More engaged in their training
- More innovative in their goal setting
- More likely to stay on the job
- More committed to self-development
Onboarding, training, and managing remote workers
Training is a critical part of the overall employee development process, starting at onboarding and continuing through the employee’s entire lifecycle at your company. As top companies across the country are learning to embrace the idea of fully remote workforces, consistency in training becomes a way to achieve consistency in results.
Offsite training requires a methodical approach and is best driven by digital tools that allow remote workers to access everything they need in one place. This cuts down on bottlenecks in training, or employees getting stalled over a simple question.
Invest in a system that streamlines the onboarding process. Using this type of system doesn’t only benefit remote workers, but can make onboarding your entire team more streamlined.
Using Trainual as an onboarding tool lets you allow flexible schedules for remote workers, who can self-direct their onboarding process and subsequent training. With step by step modules to complete and online tests to take to assure comprehension, your new hires can proceed quickly through the following:
Necessary HR steps can be completed quickly and confirmation sent to you as tasks are completed. These may include:
- Obtaining an employee ID number
- Enrolling in payroll, 401K, insurance, and other programs
- Setting up schedules and time off
- Completing necessary review of company policies
Your new remote employee can also be walked through IT setup using your new system. They can get their usernames and passwords assigned, gain access to critical dashboards, and take crash courses in different programs and apps your company uses. Each step can be confirmed as it is completed.
Your organization’s IT department can produce step by step videos to teach basic processes on different tools you use. These can be input as modules to be completed by new hires, with quizzes after each one to demonstrate comprehension and competency.
According to HBR, there are three kinds of distance in remote collaboration:
- Physical (place and time)
- Operational (team size, bandwidth and skill levels)
- Affinity (values, trust, and interdependency)
The best way for managers to drive team performance is by focusing on reducing affinity distance. You can do this by working on team building, and assigning mentors to new hires. Mix and match on-site employees with remote workers and encourage communication.
Peer to peer learning can comprise up to 75% of total learning. Create informal teams when you hire several new employees at once. Pair each with a mentor and appoint an informal team leader to act as a point person. The team can support each other through the onboarding and training process.
Your newly formed teams can collaborate to find answers, confirm with the more experienced team members, and achieve success. You’ll find that with this approach, your company culture will naturally expand to embrace your off-site hires, and you can scale your remote workforce with increased confidence.
Following these tips can help you create an onboarding and training program for remote team members that offers consistency and open channels of communication. The result will be more confident, capable employees who benefit from telecommuting. You may even find some of your on-site staff eager to take advantage of the occasional work from home day.
Ready to empower you on and off-site workforces? Contact us to find out how Trainual can make onboarding any hire a resounding success.