Three Keys to Successfully Onboarding Employees in a Remote Environment


Over the past year, it has become apparent that a more remote work environment will be the norm going forward. Whether you are a fan of the “work from home” atmosphere or not, it is certainly here to stay. Being able to effectively onboard and train new employees while working remotely is imperative to the success of a firm in this environment. While the information that needs to be communicated during training is fundamentally the same, the methods of communication must be tweaked slightly to ensure success. Following up frequently, staying patient, and painting the big picture will help increase the chances of creating a positive and productive atmosphere for new employees.

1. Frequent follow ups – everyone can understand the feeling of wanting to make a good impression. It is common for new employees to feel shy about reaching out for assistance out of fear of making a lackluster first impression. Following up frequently can be instrumental in helping them progress on assigned tasks without spending time spinning their wheels. It may feel overbearing to reach out every couple of hours and check in but rest assured that the newly hired staff accountant who is stuck and afraid to ask for help will appreciate it.

2. Be patient! It’s not easy to be new in any environment, and it’s very difficult to be new in a remote environment. Most communication with remote employees takes place through text, making it easy to lose the nonverbal cues that an office environment provides. Remember to stay patient and remember that there is a person on the other side of the screen who may be having a hard time. Scheduling video calls to catch up on tasks a great way to retain the human elements of interaction while out of the office.

3. Paint the big picture – in public accounting, it is much easier for newer employees to develop a foundational understanding of the audit process while working in the field. With less fieldwork being onsite, it can be easy for a newly hired employee to lose sight of the end goal and the purpose of the work they are doing. Make sure to keep them informed as to why you are performing the engagement and who your report will be issued for. This will help to make the purpose of the work clearer, which will mitigate the all too familiar feeling of being lost in the weeds.

Onboarding new employees can be a challenging task, made more difficult by a lack of face-to-face communication. To help successfully onboard new employees in a remote work environment, it is important to remember to stay patient, follow up frequently, and create a clear understanding about the purpose of the work you are performing. By implementing this strategy, the chances of creating a positive and productive new hire experience while getting the most out of new employees will rise significantly.

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