5 Common Onboarding Problems (And Solutions) For Remote Teams
One-third of new employees begin searching for a new job within six months of a new job. And 25% leave within a year.
Remember, just because a new remote hire has accepted your job offer doesn’t mean their job search is over. New hires continue wrapping up interviews and following up with other potential job opportunities during the first month of starting a new position. And they jump ship if your onboarding process leaves a bad first impression.
Hiring managers have many responsibilities when onboarding new employees. It helps to have a new hire onboarding checklist to create a consistent, organized onboarding process—especially as your team scales.
If you search for common onboarding problems online, you’ll get a long list of issues that you likely already know—and issues that are too large to solve. These obvious onboarding problems include:
- Failing to conduct preboarding ahead of the employee’s first day
- Information overload
- Lack of communication
- Issues with technology setup
- Neglecting to provide or solicit feedback
But what are some common remote employee onboarding challenges that get overlooked? This article breaks down five non-obvious remote onboarding mistakes that impact the new hire experience and damage employee retention rates.
1. Failure to automate a structured onboarding program using software
Only 12% of employees feel their company does a good job onboarding new team members, leaving 88% of workers with disappointing onboarding experiences. The 12% likely use onboarding software to make the onboarding process more seamless, streamlined, and organized.
Companies that use automated onboarding software standardize the process, create an excellent first impression, and increase new-hire productivity by 50%.
Old-school onboarding involved filling out and filing forms. Successful onboarding software removes the bulk of the heavy lifting giving human resources (HR) teams more time to focus on the stuff that really matters, such as giving new hires a warm welcome and everything they need to succeed.
Solution: Opt for efficient, centralized onboarding automation
Effective onboarding software:
- Centralizes key information for new hires into one secure location
- Standardizes the onboarding process, which increases compliance and ensures everyone has a comprehensive experience
- Enables self-service capabilities so that new hires can onboard without taking up too much time for the hiring manager and HR team
Onboarding by Roots, the HR plugin designed for distributed teams, helps companies automate structured onboarding. The tool builds automated workflows in Slack to take new hires from day-one trainees to high performers. It also auto-assigns tasks based on the new hire’s location or department to reduce the manual workload for the rest of the team.
You’ll have high-level visibility of your onboarding pipeline and can check in on a specific individual’s progress metrics with just the click of a button.
2. Failure to provide early access to company benefits and perks
Many companies use their unique benefits and perks to attract employees—and rightly so. However, when a new remote hire comes on board, they don’t always get clear instructions about how to access and set up the perks the company’s job description promised.
Specifically, 32% of employees report being confused about their benefits and perks. This is especially true for remote teams with less opportunity to informally discuss benefits and perks with team members in a physical work environment.
Failing to help new hires access their benefits and perks within the first couple of weeks of onboarding can result in new hires feeling deceived. Your company’s benefits and perks reflect your company culture because it demonstrates what’s important to your business and makes your employees feel valued.
Solution: Set new hires up with benefits and perks during onboarding
Companies should integrate benefits and perks enrollment into their onboarding process so new hires can take advantage of them from the get-go. When companies give new hires access to perks and benefits, they demonstrate that employee wellbeing is a priority—an essential part of building trust.
The best benefits and perks for remote workers should reflect the company’s values. For example, if the company values trust, balance, and compassion, you could provide:
- Health and wellbeing fund
- Coworking membership
- Unlimited PTO
- Home office stipend
3. Failure to amplify the quality and visibility of the CEO and leadership team
Leaders may not be able to host one-to-one introductions with every new remote hire during the onboarding process, especially as your team grows. However, leadership availability—the degree to which leaders are approachable, visible, accessible, and readily available to all employees—is a key driver of employee engagement and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Lack of leadership visibility can also lead to a dangerous “us and them” mindset where people don’t see the organization as one team but two separate factions.
Solution: Use video to make leadership visible during new hire training programs
A great starting point is to have the CEO (and other key leaders) create an intro video that you can share with all new hires during onboarding.
In the video, the CEO should:
- Welcome the new hire to the team
- Express gratitude for choosing to work at the company
- Share some personal facts and insight into the company’s history and direction
- Explain how the new hire will be a part of the company’s future
Another great solution is to organize weekly and monthly virtual meetings with the CEO and the entire team to share important updates, debrief on big company decisions, client success stories, updates on what’s happening in the market, and perspectives on current events.
At the monthly virtual meeting, the CEO or leadership team members can devote 15 minutes to an “Ask Me Anything” session. During those 15 minutes, remote workers can ask the visiting executive any question using an online chat feature.
This will allow everyone at the organization to get to know their CEO and enable leadership to connect with the new hires in a scalable manner.
4. Failure to introduce new hires to colleagues from other departments
Unlike in-office employees who run the chance of bumping into someone from another department, new remote hires are unlikely to meet someone outside their immediate team. This virtual soloing can make it difficult for a new hire to build a team bond and develop the trust and respect to perform at a high level. As a result, they may feel isolated, disconnected, and unmotivated.
The opportunity to meet people from different departments enriches the onboarding experience, giving the new remote hire a sense of connection to the broader workforce and an understanding of how the company functions as a whole.
Solution: Use virtual tools to automate cross-team bonding
Create a virtual hangout where new hires can socialize on their own terms: Team members can take turns designing and hosting virtual events around their interests. For example, they could host a book club, pub quiz, or a remote lunch-and-learn where individuals showcase their expertise.
Encourage virtual one-on-one coffee chats across departments: While virtual hangouts are great for team building at scale, they’re not very intimate. One-on-one video calls can help new hires connect on a more personal level.
Use tools to facilitate virtual water coolers: Connections by Roots connects new hires (and the rest of your team) with people from different departments. Every week, team members receive a message on Slack pairing them with another team member and giving them the option to find a time to meet virtually.
Budget for in-person meet-ups: Virtual team-building activities can only go so far. Once in a while, it’s good to get the team together for in-person company events or activities. This is a nice way for new hires to meet extended teams and form relationships through collaboration and fun activities like sports, karaoke, or art workshops.
5. Failure to request new hire reviews on Glassdoor
Employers will go to great lengths during the onboarding process to ensure their remote hires feel happy in their new roles. However, they forget to channel that happiness into getting a solid glassdoor review that could improve talent acquisition.
61% of Glassdoor users report that they seek company reviews and ratings on employee review sites before applying for a job.
The key to getting great reviews is to ask your new hires at the right time.
During onboarding, new remote hires are in the “honeymoon phase.” They’re often flattered to have received a job offer and enthusiastically tell friends and family the great news. They’re also busy getting set up, accessing perks and benefits, and meeting new team members. This is the perfect time to request a review on Glassdoor.
Just like you should ask a happy customer for a review while their experience is fresh in their minds, you should also ask a happy hire for a review while their hiring and onboarding experience is fresh.
Solution: Prompt new hires to share internal feedback as Glassdoor reviews
Toward the end of the first week of onboarding, have the HR team send out a new-hire survey using feedback software like TINYpulse. In the survey, request the new hire to rank out of 10 on how likely they are to recommend the company to a friend or relative. All scores over six should prompt the new hire to leave a review on Glassdoor.
Once the new hire has been on the job for 90 days, send out another survey and prompt the new hire to update their review. Glassdoor provides customizable email templates to help you get started.
New reviews on a monthly improve company ratings on Glassdoor and will let prospective applicants know your company is an attractive place to work.
Simplify your onboarding process with Roots
Too often, onboarding involves an additional tool (or lengthy manual checklist) the employee won’t use after their first month. These new tools add to the mental clutter of starting a new job, which is already an overwhelming experience. That’s why we created Onboarding by Roots, which centralizes all onboarding functions into a tool you already use: Slack.
With Roots, you can:
- Auto-assign tasks based on user location or role
- View onboarding progress of all new hires within Slack
- Send reminders to complete key onboarding tasks
Want to learn more about how Roots helps companies bolster company culture through integrating key HR services into Slack? Book a free demo today.