Inducting Remote Workers

February 23, 2011

Employing new staff who work remotely can pose many challenges to assimilate them to a new organisation.

I’m sure we’ve all been the “new guy” at some point and we know it can be a daunting experience getting our heads around such things as new processes, new people and new products/services, therefore I would imagine being a new remote employee you would feel a great sense of isolation as well.

Inductions take place at a critical time in the employment relationship.

If done well, it can leave a very positive impression in the minds of the new recruit to help them to hit the ground running sooner and succeed in their role longer term.

If not done so well, it can no doubt lead to negative outcomes e.g. loss of productivity, increased training and retraining requirements, disruption to other team members to even increased turnover.

I have had the fortunate pleasure of working with colleagues from all around the world, in which I relied on email, telephone, skype and a rare visit to be able to build relationships with fellow team members.

Technology has certainly come a long way to make it possible to connect with people remotely.

New remote workers induction tips:

    • If possible, arrange for the team member to attend their first day at the nearest work premises.  This will help them gain a real feel for the company, it’s people and products/services
    • Ensure systems are set up and ready to go – I have been in organisations that unfortunately it takes days, weeks sometimes months to get all systems up and running.  This leads to a lot of wasted time in productivity and can be very frustrating for the end user, particularly working remotely
    • Introductions – leaders should ensure that key people have been introduced to the new staff member as soon as possible, even if brief introductions via skype can only take place for example
    • Create a buddy system – ask one of their team members to be an additional support to them in the first few weeks, so they can ask questions of them

As remote inductees may feel isolated, it is important for the leader and team to make an effort to ensure that they feel part of the team and company’s purpose.  Further information is available on this terrific blog article here, expanding on the points above.

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