Keep the Spirit: Remote Onboarding at Alasco

Our tips for Hiring Managers that face the new challenge of remote onboarding

Alasco employee during a video call

The Covid-19 outbreak at the beginning of the year forced many companies all around the globe to become fully remote companies – including Alasco.  Also for us, moving the entire team to home office was the only logical step to do. Luckily, our infrastructure has always been based on digital tools, communication and transparency.

Leading teams remotely from one day to another brings challenges for our employees and the management team. Besides the new situation of collaborating from distance, we also faced a new challenge: The remote onboarding of new employees. Within a few days we came up with some guidance for our hiring managers that we are sharing below.

The challenges we faced

We put a lot of time and effort into our onboarding process to provide new employees with a smooth transition into a new job, new environment and new team. Thus, we questioned ourselves: How can we take all of this positivity and welcoming atmosphere to a now-remote work environment without losing any impact the onboarding process has on a new employee?

Generally speaking, at Alasco we try to have the exact same onboarding steps that we would have onsite. Naturally, onboarding sessions concerning our history, the Alasco app and an introduction into the construction industry are held through video tools, but other than that we tried to keep it as normal as possible.

Our 3 steps for a successful remote onboarding

After researching best practices and ideal onboarding processes, we developed 3 major steps that could help the HR team and the hiring manager to live up to our onboarding standard:

1.  Comfort your new employee in this uncertain situation

The most important task for our managers was the creation of a safety net for the new employee. Starting in a company without seeing the new colleagues, with little interaction between each other certainly creates uncertainty. As a hiring manager, try to comfort your new team member and provide them with a lot of guidance (not to be confused with micromanaging!)

  • Take fear of idling. Whether on a remote job or onsite: It is completely normal at the beginning that a new employee is not immediately at 100% capacity.  Remotely it’s even more difficult, signal that this is okay and that the hire will come to speed very soon.
  • Motivate your new team member to broaden his/her knowledge. Prepare a list with ideas what to read and further information for your employee. Any programs or free training you could share to fill idle time and foster self-learning.
  • Reassure your new employees to ask proactively when they have questions. Using Slack or other communication tools might seem as a hurdle to ask ‘small’ questions. Encourage him/her to be curious and ask questions just  as you would do in the office.

2. Provide your new employee with a structure and transparent onboarding process

A clear and structured onboarding process is key to the successful start of new employees. This is true, whether the onboarding happens remote or onsite, but it certainly becomes indispensable as soon as you cannot welcome the new employee face-to-face. To secure a smooth process, we provided our manager with the following list:

  • Have an initial session with your new employee to go through your onboarding plan. This will give them some prospects for the upcoming weeks. Further it helps tremendously if you define very specific goals for the new hire and set clear expectations to provide them with more security.
  • Make sure that your new hire understands the communication tools used in your company (GSuite, Hangouts, Slack etc.). Not everyone is  accustomed to working with online/cloud tools. Have a quick session (maybe even share your screen) to introduce your tools.
  • Set up video meetings with key employees that your new hire will work with in their position. This lowers the barrier for future collaboration between them as they get to know each other in an easy setting.
  • Assign a buddy for the first weeks that supports the new employee not only in job-related questions, but also makes sure that they feel comfortable and integrated.
  • Schedule intro sessions (1-1,5h each) in which the new hire can participate in your work through screen sharing, ask questions and can shadow you.

3. Prepare the entire team for the remote onboarding

Onboarding at Alasco is a team effort. We wanted to make sure that new employees meet the team, understand who works in which department and who they can ask for which topic.
To secure this, we gave our team the following guidelines

  • On the first day of a new employee we created a thread in our Slack channel where every team member introduced themself in 1-2 sentences to give new employees more information than just a name and a position.
  • We encourage our employees to offer their remote help to new employees. Whether it is through an email or a quick Slack message. Our goal was to let the new employee know that the entire team is ready to support them.
  • Invite new employee to lunch (in the virtual  coffee kitchen, yes we have a hangouts session solely dedicated to coffee breaks 😉)
  • Keep the awesome team spirit we have as it makes new employees feel welcome instantly!!

How are you facing the challenge of remote onboarding?

The list above helped us tremendously to successfully onboard our new hires in April. By no means we claim this list to be perfect or the one truth, but we wanted to share our experience to help others with their remote onboarding, too. We are excited to hear more ideas and best-practices and to learn how others managed their onboarding during these times.

If you have any questions or want to share your input with us, do not hesitate to contact us at jobs@alasco.de.

Want  to join Alasco and experience our onboarding process yourself? Go ahead and visit our career page

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