While going back to the office after the pandemic will be an adjustment for everyone, it will be an entirely new experience for employees who started remotely. Many of these remote hires will likely not have met fellow team members in person, nor ever been to the company’s physical offices.
Organizations should re-onboard remote hires to help create a positive employee experience and introduce new team members to the company culture. Keep in mind that taking the time to properly onboard employees pays off: Research from Glassdoor shows that organizations with strong onboarding practices improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%.
Here are six strategies to re-onboard employees who started work remotely:
ALLOW REMOTE HIRES TO BOND AS A COHORT: This group shares a common, distinctive experience — starting a new job during a pandemic. Companies can host special events to foster bonds between remote hires. During these events, consider creating structured opportunities for remote hires to interact and get to know each other, such as icebreaker games.
BE THOUGHTFUL: When your team can safely return to the physical office, make an extra effort to help remote hires in particular feel welcome. Remember that for many, this may be the first time in the office. Consider leaving something special for your remote hires, such as a personal note, company swag or another small gift.
SHOW REMOTE HIRES THE OFFICE FACILITIES: The first day in a new office can feel awkward and intimidating for new employees not yet familiar with the layout. To introduce remote hires to the physical space, conduct tours in small groups. On such tours, make sure to point out where the office pantry, break room, restrooms and fire exits are, in addition to other things like helpful shortcuts and specific potential hazards.
COMMUNICATE WITH MANAGERS AND CHECK IN REGULARLY: Remind managers that even though remote hires are already familiar with the job, these employees may need assistance adjusting to the in-person office environment. Encourage managers to take remote hires to lunch and conduct one-on-one meetings. Leaders should also make sure to set up regular check-ins with remote hires.
CREATE A BUDDY SYSTEM: Studies show that creating a buddy system can increase employee productivity and satisfaction. Aim to pair remote hires with more tenured employees who are familiar not only with the physical office, but also with the office culture.
CREATE INFORMAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEAM BUILDING: Creating opportunities for people to bond will help all employees reconnect after being remote for over a year. Team-building events will especially help remote hires, giving them the opportunity to socialize and get to know both new and tenured employees in a more relaxed environment.
Remember it is important for all employees to feel comfortable in the office and connected to the team. Help to create a great employee experience by taking the time to re-onboard your remotely hired employees; it will pay off for both your employees and your company.