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Engaging Employees in a Remote Workplace: Enabling Career Success from Onboarding to Talent Planning

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

As leaders, we must set our teams up for success! Every member of our organization should feel valued and included from the first day, knowing how they fit into the big picture.

We have all faced unique challenges during this pandemic, one of those being how to effectively onboard new hires. In these new remote work settings, it’s difficult to make new employees feel part of the culture and community, engagement is more passive, and the entire process can feel monotonous.

When onboarding remotely, we aren't learning through osmosis. You can’t just turn to your neighbour and say, "Hey. How do I set up a meeting?" To be successful, we must reassess our strategies and be intentional in our remote processes.

Enabling Career Success Starts with Onboarding

According to JobVite, 33% of new hires quit within 90 days of joining a company. The two main reasons stated were day-to-day operations being different than expecte and company culture. To overcome these challenges, we suggest:

1. Before onboarding a new hire, brainstorm and answer the following questions:

  • Who would it be beneficial for this person to connect with?

  • What will this person need to know to be successful in their role?

  • What are some realistic expectations of them in 3, 6, 9 and 12 months?

  • What are the company norms that new team members should know?

2. Assign a buddy. This person can help the new hire to break down the tools and relationships that will help them succeed, acclimate to the environment and feel included as part of the team. Choose someone well-connected, who knows the entire organization as the go-to guide for company norms and cultures. This buddy should be different than the person doing hands-on training. Their main job is to guide the new employee and run interference on potential roadblocks.

3. Create strong reference guides that include details many seasoned employees may take for granted. For example, consider creating an index of acronyms and define 'how we work,' outlining norms around email, language, communication channels, and everyday tasks.

While it may be more challenging to onboard new hires remotely, with dedication and intention, you can be successful. Keep an eye on how quickly new employees feel part of the team by listening for a switch from we/they language to you/us.

Enabling Career Success Company-Wide

Onboarding is a significant component of enabling employee success, but we also want to foster a culture of continuous development, growth, and support.

A 2020 DDI study concluded that HR leaders report the lowest confidence levels in their bench strength for leadership positions. Only 11% said they have a strong bench of upcoming leaders.

When assessing top performers, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who’s necessary to help our company keep the lights on?

  • Who are our rising stars?

  • Who should we invest in?

  • Who has skills that are difficult to replace?

Once you have a list of up and comers, dedicate resources to grooming and retaining your top talent.

  • Formalize cross-functional development groups. Create a collective group focused on employee development, with all levels represented, to discuss ideas and suggestions for growth.

  • Coach and mentor. Whether internal mentors or outside coaches, match up rising stars with experts.

  • Train employees on how to develop their team and recognize talent. Have conversations with your team and ask: What are their career goals, challenges and strengths? What do they still need to learn?

A remote workplace poses many challenges for employees and leaders. However, some businesses are doing an incredible job of pushing through the pandemic. Those who rise to the challenge by being dedicated and intentional with their processes and culture will continue to thrive!


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