For this, I recommend taking a multifaceted approach to training new employees. You should use a mix of written content, video content and virtual training sessions. Bonus points if you want to create an internal eLearning course for your new hires as well.
Although it can be time consuming for you to create your training content, once you do it, it can be reused for any new hire in the future. Instead of having to individually train every single new employee, you can rely on your training materials to help get them up to speed faster. Creating onboarding training materials can be an investment for your company and can pay dividends in helping you grow more easily and to scale in the future.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Training Articles
Many companies have internal knowledge bases related to their products or roles. But these documents alone are not enough. Some companies might just say to their new hires, “Here is our knowledge base, familiarize yourself with it.” However that is also not helpful for new hires. The best thing you can do with training materials for written content is to create a well-organized flow. What should they read first? Then what next?
However just having a knowledge base and/or content library by itself can be confusing. Instead, you should curate a specific curriculum for each new hire’s role. Each individual curriculum should show the exact steps new hires should take in their position. It should include visual aids, like screenshots, to help them visualize their specific day-to-day tasks.
These documents, referred to as standard operating procedures (SOPs), are guides that demonstrate how to perform required tasks specific to their role. The more thorough and clear you are with your documentation and annotated images/screenshots, the better your new hires can perform. And the more thorough you are with your documentation, the less questions your new hires will have.
Along with written content, you should have some video content as well. Many people are visual learners. And, while your documentation may be thorough and useful for referencing, having the opportunity to visualize the role’s tasks can help make things click for your new hire. Now, while this can be a time investment to create, there is a shortcut.
To start, new hire training should be over a video conferencing platform. Then you can record the session. During the virtual training, walk through their job’s tasks and responsibilities. Demonstrate and thoroughly explain to new hires how to successfully work in their role. And once that session is over, you can use the recording for future new hires for the specific job.
Supervisor Training Sessions and Check-ins
When a new employee starts their first day of work, it can be overwhelming in addition to all the new things they have to learn. And they aren’t going to be familiar with your team’s communication style or company culture off the bat, so they may feel uneasy about reaching out to you for help too frequently. This can be solved with regularly scheduled check-ins. Beyond your prepared training materials, it can be very helpful for new hires to have regular facetime with their supervisor.
Schedule specific sessions over a videoconferencing tool where they can talk to their manager, ask questions and review specific tasks related to their role. Also, to ensure that your new hires are performing well, part of the process of setting expectations includes setting performance goals and metrics for their position. In particular, they should have metrics that they can see and be held accountable to.
60-day Mark Review
Regularly scheduled performance reviews can help ensure that new employees receive continuous feedback on their work performance. For new hires, I recommend a review at the 60-day mark. The review should be a scaled rubric (ideally one the new hire has seen before) that lays out their performance across different skill sets. You can have a scale for evaluating their performance that’s as simple as: needs improvement / meets expectations / exceeds expectations.
In addition to providing new hires with a 60-day review, you should conduct a virtual review with them and their supervisor over video chat to provide specific feedback, and to also gain feedback on how you can better help in their role. By managing performance continuously, new hires can receive much-needed feedback to keep them engaged and motivated.
One common challenge for new employees is not knowing how well or poorly they are performing during training. To help new employees better understand their performance, you should consider setting metrics for their specific role.
These metrics should be transparent and accessible to new employees so they can have insight to how they are performing. When it comes time for employee reviews, new team members can then be prepared for any feedback they will receive since they have access to their individual metrics.
There are plenty of different frameworks you can use for setting metrics. Some organizations use key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives and key results (OKRs) or specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) goals. Whichever direction you take is up to you and your training department. But the important thing is that there are metrics new employees can use to help stay up to date with their progress toward achieving their goals.
This tip goes both ways. To successfully onboard new remote employees, it’s important that they have the chance to meet their new team members and get a sense of who they’ll be working with. If you are using collaboration tools for internal communication, take the time to introduce them to the team and departments.
Also, encourage your other team members to introduce themselves to the new employee. If you have regular standing meetings over video conferencing with your departments, take the time to welcome the new employee to the team and to make memorable introductions.
With these actionable tips, you can effectively train remote new hires on their new roles and responsibilities and ensure that they become valuable contributors toward the organization’s future success.