Finding, interviewing, and hiring the best staff for sales managers has changed somewhat in the world of remote working. The shift towards remote has been accelerated due to COVID-19 but was always inevitable in the fast-moving, connected world we live in.
Remote onboarding was the topic for episode 3 of our Love, Try, Avoid series. Watch husband and wife team Tom Lavery and Shelley Lavery talk about their experience onboarding remotely, how they plan to onboard new staff in the future, and pitfalls to avoid.
Why we should take a fresh approach to remote onboarding
There are several factors to consider when comparing traditional onboarding against remote onboarding. Whether you’re working remotely or in an office environment it’s good to be clear about your expectations for availability during the onboarding process:
- Onboarding in a traditional office setting normally involves face-to-face interaction with other new starters where you can meet members of the same team and other departments too. It can give you a good sense of company culture and help new recruits to feel engaged from the start.
💡When Jiminny onboarded a new remote team in summer 2020 we found that having frequent check-ins from a different member of the leadership team in the morning, around lunch, and before the end of the day helped people feel connected. The team also got to bond during these regular contacts.
2. Making extra time to be available to answer questions and help your new hires is completely normal in the early stages of a new job. In a traditional office setting, an open-door policy for your recruits to ask questions is encouraged if you want them to learn fast and quickly fit in. Scheduled face-to-face training, as well as impromptu meetings, are plenty in the first few weeks and months.
3. As a remote sales manager, you still need to be available via video calls and phone, as well as answering questions over email and slack. The more time you give them at the start, the less time it takes for them to be a productive member of the team.
4. Whether onboarding remotely or in the office, there are always a number of forms and policies, and procedures that need to be explained. Giving the new staff enough time to fill in and ask any questions relating to them can take time, and then ideally sending across digitally.
5. Onboarding in a remote setting means that you can recruit candidates from far and wide giving you a diverse range of people all onboarding at the same time. The logistics of where and when to do this are less complicated.
6. Onboarding in a group over FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or other video conferencing software helps people to feel part of the company and less lonely when starting a new role.
Traditional onboarding in an office environment normally schedules times for coffee and lunch breaks where the staff gets to know each other and bond as a team.
💡In remote settings scheduled “watercooler” sessions can be provided where the new staff gets the opportunity to informally chat with other people. This can really help them to settle in.
7. Machine learning using videos rather than scheduled PowerPoint presentations for training can be a valuable approach to use for sales teams. Covering all important topics in an easy to access formats like a video which they can view on their mobile or computer on the go can reinforce ongoing learning and they can find information when it matters.
💡We found that when giving people lots of new information it’s good to test how well they are retaining it. This can be difficult to test when not in the same room so creating bite-sized e-quizzes during onboarding can be helpful to know if you’re getting all messaging across.
8. Information overload is really important to recognize when delivering remote onboarding. Having back-to-back training via video conferencing can be exhausting. Try and factor in time and space for new recruits to breathe and reflect on their learning journey and they can retain the new information much easier.
If you have any tips you’d like to share that have helped your sales team with remote onboarding then let me know here. I’d love to hear from you.