How can you feel as close as you would in ‘normal’ times, but from a distance? Human resources professionals have valuable advice to give, having experienced this new format of onboarding first hand:
“The key is preparation beforehand. To make the employee feel expected and that their arrival is well taken care of. We can give them reading material in advance, small projects to do, and send them a first-day schedule so that they know what to expect. In short, we need to open communication with them and make them feel that we are very close despite the distance.” – Stephanie Picknell, Human Resources Manager at Go RH
Anticipation is, therefore, the keystone of good virtual integration. Virtual hires must feel involved and welcomed from the very first exchanges following the signature of the hiring contract. They should not be ‘different from’ or ‘less than’ because they are not physically present. In short, they should not feel like they are missing out on anything because of their specific situation!
To prevent psychological distance in a telecommuting context, daily communication must remain a priority. Building good relationships from a distance is not an unattainable goal: if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to implement virtual communication tools in your organization. Video chat software, instant messaging software like Slack and mailboxes are all tools that allow you to establish a steady remote link between colleagues.
Beyond the logistics, it is also important to make your staff aware of remote communication, so that it gradually becomes part of your employees’ daily habits. They should feel heard if they have questions about digital communication. There is no such thing as a silly question, so consider scheduling digital training workshops to make them feel comfortable!
By extending the use of these communication tools to all your company’s departments, you will ensure that the remote employee always finds someone to talk to, and that they are part of daily discussions among colleagues.