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There’s no shortage of guidance out there around remote onboarding. Even on this very site, we’ve shared lots of insight into how you can achieve a comprehensive, comfortable, and timely onboarding process without stepping foot in the same room as your new hire. With recent global events, this has become an essential concern for company leaders.
But the official onboarding process typically just extends a week or two after a new hire’s start date. New employee training takes longer than that. After the onboarding course is complete, employees don’t just magically become fluent in every aspect of their job. They still need support. And when they’re remote, providing that support can be tough without the right processes in place.
“After the onboarding course is complete, employees don’t just magically become fluent in every aspect of their job. They still need support.”
Here are some helpful practices to implement even after onboarding is officially finished.
For more key guidance on this topic, be sure to check out our Manager’s Guide to Remote Work.
With remote employee training, communication is everything
Successful employee training means making yourself as available as possible to new hires, even when some or all of you are working remotely. Here are some ways to keep the lines of communication open.
Consider Slack as your go-to video tool for 1:1s
As companies across the world switch to remote work, Zoom has seen boom times. Zoom is a great tool, and for certain remote-work scenarios, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one. But for one-on-one meetings with new hires, Slack might be your best bet. Their screen-share feature comes with a drawing tool that allows you to more easily demonstrate essential processes for employees who are just starting, such as how to find a certain report in Salesforce or navigate an email marketing tool.
In general, it’s great to stay really active on Slack anytime you’re dealing with a remote team. Open up the necessary avenues of communication by creating a Slack channel for each line of business.
Check in often, and keep it on a schedule
Lots of companies have weekly standups. But with the workforce going remote, some are making it daily – or even twice daily. Having a standup and a stand-down at the beginning and end of each day is a great way to make sure new hires have ample opportunities to bring up any issues they’re having and clarify any confusion.
And it goes beyond employee training. Your whole team can benefit from more frequent check-ins after going remote. Twice-daily all-hands meetings can go a long way toward keeping your team culture vibrant even when you’re physically distant from one another.
Record what you can’t observe live
You can’t always be there to observe a call between a new hire and a client or prospect. But you can record their calls and listen back later. Categorize the recorded calls as either “exemplary” or “needs improvement” so that new employees know which practices to repeat, and which to avoid moving forward. We recently discussed the utility of recording your team’s sales calls as a general remote management strategy – but it’s arguably most useful as a tool during employee training, when reps need the most guidance.
“Categorize the recorded calls as either “exemplary” or “needs improvement” so that new employees know which practices to repeat, and which to avoid moving forward.”
These practices work – just ask Stack Overflow
Grant Barnes, Director of Global Sales Development at Stack Overflow, is a real-life proponent of these practices. He’s been utilizing them over the last several weeks, as remote work quickly became the norm, rather than the exception, all across the tech industry. During this time, he’s onboarded eight remote SDRs, with more coming.
We asked Grant: If you could turn back time, would you wait for the pandemic to settle before bringing on these new hires, or would you feel comfortable enough with your remote processes to move forward again like you’ve done in previous weeks? Without hesitation, he chose the latter. We think this makes it clear that it’s perfectly feasible to be just as successful with remote onboarding and ramping as you are with in-person processes.