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How to integrate remote teams using onboarding software
If you’re the leader of a remote team, you already rely on online tools more than most. You use them to transfer information and help teams stay connected, to one another and the company’s purpose.
The rules of engagement all start at the onboarding stage. However, teaching new remote employees about your company, your team, and their new role within both, can be a challenge. Especially when you’re not there with them in person.
Luckily, you don’t need to be. With the right onboarding software, you can deliver effective training to new teammates from Anywhere. This will enable you to:
Instil your company culture in new team members
Present learning in a structured and engaging way
Offer transparency and open communication channels AND
Pave the way for continual learning.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Company culture isn’t confined to the office
Mention the importance of company culture, and your teammates will nod along in unison. Ask them to describe it, though, and you’ll probably get a different answer from each.
Company culture is the first thing you share with new team members during onboarding. Everybody likes some background before engaging with a story, but company culture can be hard to pin down.
Every company has their own mission, values, way of doing things, and reasons why. But what does that mean in practice? How does it affect new team members, and how they do their jobs?
The above are relevant questions for any new employee. They’re even more urgent, however, to those joining remote teams.
The right onboarding software will nip that notion in the bud. It will do so by helping you deliver training to remote team members that’s as thorough and culture-oriented as that of their their cubicle-dwelling counterparts.
If you have an introductory video to your organization, drop it into your onboarding course. If there’s certain software your team favours, create step-by-step guides to teach new members the basics. Use instant messaging to put them in touch with their new teammates, and colleagues around the company, so they know who to reach out to in given situations.
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the authors of Remote, say the best company cultures come from the actions people take. As the leader of a remote team, you’ll know these actions can happen Anywhere. You only have to enable them.
Work is what you do, not where you do it.
Keep it professional
“Is this a real company?”
That’s the question every leader of a remote team strives to avoid when they’re onboarding – whether it’s spoken or otherwise.
Just because you’re not standing in front of a PowerPoint holding the clicker, doesn’t mean you can’t present your organization as a sleek, professional outfit new joiners will be excited to get started with.
With the right onboarding software, you can move your entire onboarding process online. Create courses tailored to your new team, and prioritize learning based on the things they need to know.
Build lessons on background and company overviews. Move through their department and their role, all the way to the tasks they’ll be expected to complete on the day-to-day and the tools they’ll be using to do so.
Use videos – the internet’s favourite medium – articles, podcasts, and more to keep lessons fresh and help make sure your team members are retaining the information they’ll need later. You can even create onboarding pop-quizzes, that way you’ll know they have.
This all takes place under your company’s banner – onboarding software allows to add your branding to your online learning portal, to reassure your new team members that everything is official and above board.
It’s amazing what a little branding can do!
Over-communication is undervalued
Communication and transparency are vital to the success of any team, no matter the size, structure, or space they work from.
Everyone needs to know what everyone else is doing. It helps inform what tasks team members prioritize for themselves, who to ask for certain information, and what is expected of them as individuals within a unit.
In remote teams, this information should be shared again and again. If you feel like you’re tending towards over-communication, that’s good.
It’s pretty easy to understand why: if you’re being relied on by other people to complete certain tasks, you’re far more likely to do just that – nobody wants to let the team down. That’s true whether your teammates are in another cubicle or another country.
It’s crucial new members of remote teams understand this from the offset, and what better way to start than with an open and transparent onboarding process?
Onboarding software offers instant messaging, as well as forums for each lesson, so opinions and ideas can be exchanged.
‘Rate-and-review’ features let new joiners share their takeaways with teammates, and means you’ll know whether they’ve properly understood and processed the lessons you’ve set out. No more glazed eyes and robotic nods that they ‘get’ it!
You can monitor your new joiners’ progress from afar, tracking what percentage of each course they still have to complete, so everybody knows how things are going.
That way your team can pitch in and pick up the slack if necessary, and everyone in the organization will know what a great job you’re doing.
Finish what you started
You’ve just onboarded new members to your remote team using your shiny new onboarding software. Your new teammates are educated, energized, and eager to get to work. That’s great, but it’s important the learning process doesn’t stop there.
But learning isn’t finite. There’s no maximum capacity for knowledge in life, just as there shouldn’t be in the workplace. Learning is a lifelong process of bettering yourself as an employee and a person. It’s a commitment you owe to your team.
Once your new remote team know the ropes, it’s important to foster a culture of continual learning, and, happily, online learning software isn’t for onboarding alone.
With online learning software you can make new remote team members admins to your account so they can share the knowledge they think will be useful to the rest of the team, offer points per lesson to encourage gentle competition, and set weekly learning targets for your team to hit.
The more knowledge new remote team members explore and share, the better equipped they’ll be to operate as individuals and part of a team, no matter where they are in the world.
As a reminder, the essential steps for onboarding remote teams are:
Using organizational branding to lend comfort and legitimacy