Read this Ebook to learn how to retain remote employees with better onboarding.
Find out how to source remote talent and onboard remotely to reduce employee churn.
The modern workplace has changed a lot in the past few years. For some people, commuting to work is as easy as walking into their home office. In fact, 4 million employees in the US work from home for about half of their total time spent working.
At Livestorm we’re pretty familiar with this trend, nine of our teammates even work remotely (hi guys!). We have some tips and tricks we use to make sure everyone is on the same page, like syncing our time zones or meeting up at company retreats.
Staying organized begins with the employee onboarding process, where teammates learn company values and action plans. Core knowledge is passed down from every team, and teammates can learn about key facts even if they aren’t directly related to their job. For example, it is still helpful for someone on the developer team to know the buyer personas made by the marketing team. It can help them understand the context in which people use what they code.
Employee onboarding is more than just a training process. It teaches your new employees not only about their role in your organization, but also about your company's culture. Above all, good onboarding should make your new teammates feel valued. With proper training, employees can be more productive, solve problems faster, and build better employee relationships.
Plus, thoroughly onboarded employees tend to stick around a lot longer. A study by Glassdoor found that companies with strong onboarding processes improve new hire retention by 82 percent. This is probably because a good onboarding process helps employees be productive, and do rewarding work early on.
New employee training can be especially challenging when your new hires are located far away from your home site. Videos and webinars can help connect your remote team.
In general, new hires cost a lot of money. It is difficult to state an average (although many have tried) because your specific costs will depend on your industry, the new hire’s role within your company, and how you recruited them.
As Livestorm CEO Gilles Bertaux explains it: “Your hiring costs will vary based on a few factors. If you found your candidate through a recruiting agency they usually take a 20-25% cut. The rate can be lower if you have someone internally sourcing candidates for you. Even if you don’t go through an agency, you still have to factor in things like the gear you’ll buy for them, potential relocation fees and more. These extra costs can be around 2-3k on average. So if you take someone with an annual salary of 80,000, the highest you’ll pay out is 25% * 80k + 3k => 23k, and the low end would hover around 19k.”
The employee onboarding process extends these costs. It can be pricey to integrate new employees into the workplace, especially when they don’t live nearby. Travel expenses, housing, and meals all have to be factored into the cost of training a remote worker. And the more workers that have to be trained, the higher your costs will creep.
In general, HR professionals agree that training a new employee should take anywhere from one to three months. Some experts even say the process should be extended to run for the employee’s entire first year with the company. Shorter onboarding processes can sometimes overwhelm employees, making it hard for them to retain important information. In most cases, the time it takes a new employee to reach a maximum level of productivity can be anywhere from 8 to 26 weeks.
It’s always a good investment of resources to have a full onboarding process for each new employee. Video allows for a lot of flexibility, and lets you train multiple team members at once. You can host one-to-one meetings and live webinars that are personalized and well targeted. This will highlight the main benefit of employee onboarding which is making teammates feel welcome.
Your remote workers, just like your home office employees, will benefit from organized training courses. Group your video sessions according to their topic, making dedicated segments for each theme. Save time and retain attention by keeping each session to 45 minutes max. You can even break down your training sessions into micro tasks, involving new hires at a project level from the beginning. Remote time management tools like Time Doctor can help employees stay on track.
For Marcus Wermuth, engineering manager at remote-friendly Buffer, that's how the employee onboarding process is structured for a lot of new teammates. “The added benefit of getting involved in smaller projects and tasks early on is that newcomers can get past the nerves of starting a new role because they get those "quick wins" during a time when they may be experiencing some impostor syndrome."
Creating a mix of techniques, like involving teammates in hands-on projects, training with webinars, and communicating with video makes it easier to distribute your training.
You can set a new employee up with a simple, quick-win task. Video can be used to kickstart the project and then later follow up with the teammate, setting them up for success. Training with video lowers the logistics involved. Key team members should be included in your live webinars and meetings to strengthen collaboration. When you can’t be present, try to have a moderator sit in on the sessions to answer any questions.
Videos and webinars can help you maintain an efficient training schedule. In the first few weeks on the job there are going to be a lot of things the new hire will need to remember. Finding their training sessions shouldn’t be one of them. Organizing all of your sessions into one place will give your new hire a great reference tool for the future.
Communication between new hires and their teams should be a two way information flow. Your new hires bring a fresh perspective to your group, and their ideas can help you refine and optimize your onboarding process. Likewise, managers and team leaders can use the employee onboarding process to support new hires from the very beginning. For fully remote teams, communication is key to the onboarding process.
Says Andrew Gobran, people operations specialist at Doist, “We have a culture of open communication where feedback is always encouraged because it helps us improve on an individual and organizational level.”
“Early on, newcomers meet with their mentor on a weekly basis and their team head every couple weeks just to check in on how things are going, exchange feedback, and make sure that they're on the same page about goals and needs from each side.”
Communication can vary depending on which tool you choose, but the main point is that there is a direct exchange of communication. When onboarding with webinars you can gather feedback during your process by implementing polls and questions. Gauging reactions during the webinar will help you fine tune your employee onboarding process. Best of all, your webinars will be recorded. You can go back later and watch these recordings. It’s a great opportunity to make a note of what you liked, and think about what you could do differently the next time.
And when onboarding with livestream video meetings, you can get feedback in real time. The information flow is uninterrupted, and your hire can ask questions as they arise.
You can even give remote workers access to “cheat sheets” that summarize the most important information presented during your training webinars. When they have questions in the future, they can reference these documents to get a quick response. Or, they can guide the onboarding process itself. Slite does a good job of this. Their templates include onboarding checklists and a handbook for managers to reference.
These extra materials can reinforce your training, and in the long run, your retention. Marcus Wermuth says that at Buffer, they have reference materials at hand for new hires. “We do use video calls when people are onboarded and also use a “handbook” style document for them to work through and get accustomed to everything.”
Onboarding sets the tone for employee experience from the beginning. Tools like videos and webinars can be mixed into your strategy to optimize your process and improve retention.