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How To Properly Onboard Your Outsourced Remote Team: A Step-by-Step Guide

A man on a video conference call

Phew! Finally, you have moved past your outsourcing fears and hired a remote team. Now you are eager to immediately get all hands on deck. After all, you hired the best in the field and they should be able to jump straight into work.

Stop for a second. You might just be on the verge of making a huge mistake.

Hiring a remote team is the first but not the only step to guarantee growth and results. In fact, if done wrongly, it can affect the standard of productivity of your agency. However, when you take specific steps to get your remote team properly onboarded, you’ll reap immense benefits.

Three major challenges to overcome when onboarding a remote team

Let’s face it. Hiring a remote team comes with unique challenges, most of which you may overlook. The first step to take when onboarding a remote team is to put these challenges into consideration. This by extension involves coming up with ways to overcome them through your onboarding process. The three major challenges you’ll face are:

1. Communication

It is very easy to step out of your office to have a chat with an in-house employee who works in your agency. It’s not the same when you have a remote team that is probably located in a different state, country, or even continent. Communication is one of the major ingredients needed to successfully manage a remote team. That said, you need to overcome this challenge by creating a two-way communication system, among other things.

2. Time Scheduling

It is not uncommon to have a remote team assembled from different parts of the world. Now you have a remote team of experts ready to put in the work, but living in different time zones. This becomes a huge challenge when you don’t take out time to sort out scheduling. On the plus side, if you do it right, you’ll enjoy the value of outsourcing a remote team that will be available to work round the clock.

3. Accountability

With your in-house employees, it is easy to keep a watchful eye to ensure they deliver on their commitment. It’s not the same with a remote team. Like all the other challenges, there is a way around this seeming challenge and it begins during the onboarding process. All you need to do is build a culture of accountability through collaborative mentorship and tracking.

A step by step guide for properly onboarding a remote team

Two ladies pointing at a white board

There are no shortcuts to onboarding a remote team. The due processes must be followed to ensure that you make the best out of your remote hire. This process is broken down into three distinct phases. The goal of these phases is to help your remote team understand three major components:

  • Your agency’s identity.
  • What they are hired to do.
  • How they are expected to do them.

 

Phase one: Pre-onboarding

This phase begins immediately after the team is notified of their hire. In other words, it begins before they are officially welcomed on their first day of work. This is one of the most important phases as it represents their first contact with your agency.

Finish up the paperwork

This should be the first step in the pre-onboarding phase. Ensure your new hire reads and understands your legal policies and documents. It is at this stage you get them to sign any specific agreements you might have. This is also the phase to gather and document relevant employee information like photos, personal verification details, bank account details for salary processing et cetera.

Set up an onboarding checklist

It is a good idea to create and share an onboarding checklist for your newly hired remote staff. The checklist should contain a list of all they are expected to do during their orientation. This has a way of keeping the team engaged before they officially join your agency.

Accounts creation

Make sure every member of your new remote team creates an account on every platform your agency uses for work. This includes inviting them to use whatever platform your team uses to communicate(Slack, Google Hangouts, etc.). This is useful to help them get in the workflow as soon as they join.

Phase two: Onboarding proper

This phase begins after the basics have been completed in the pre-onboarding phase. It is during this phase that the remote team gets introduced to the specifics of your agency, as well as your in-house team.

Virtual introduction

A man standing in front of a computer screen and smiling at people on a video call

Remember when your last in-house employee came into the office for the first time? The happy faces, the warm embraces, and the high fives he/she was welcomed with? Well, your remote team needs to feel that too-like they are welcome to be a part of a bigger team. This is where a virtual introduction comes to play. Be sure to extend a friendly welcome on the first day. Think of different ways you can make this lively and fun. This is their first contact with your existing team and will determine to a large extent how well they integrate.

Set expectations and assign responsibilities

At this time, your remote team is beaming with smiles and feels welcomed. The next step is to review your expectations and assign responsibilities to them. Be sure to let them know they are free to ask questions if they have any.

Introduce your brand and guidelines

This is one of the core essentials of onboarding; introducing your remote team to the mission and brand identity of your agency. At this stage, you have to be thorough as you set out the vision of your agency to your remote staff. Give them insight into things like your brand voice and message, unique selling point, value proposition, and every other aspect of your brand that makes it unique.

In the long run, this is what will ensure consistency across the board and by extension customer satisfaction. It is very important that your brand identity is expressed uniformly in everything, by everyone working for you both onsite and remote.

Review your toolkit

Introduce them to any other tools you use and explain how you use them. This includes everything from your communication tools to file-sharing services and everything in between.

Time scheduling

Imagine how many more clients you can take on if you have a team working round the clock. This is one of the advantages of hiring a remote team across different time zones. It is at this stage in your onboarding process that you set up the right structure for a balanced time schedule. It is advisable to give your remote team the liberty to choose the time they are most productive as their work time. Once you have this settled, you’ll experience more productive shifts throughout your agency.

Phase three: Post-onboarding

In order for your remote team to evolve with the growing needs of your company, it is important to create a system for feedback and tracking. In spite of how thorough the first two phases of onboarding may have been, it is good to have a plan for this last phase which is continuous.

Provide a system for tracking and collaborative mentorship

A man making a video call with a woman

Onboarding is a continuous process. Now your remote team has started working officially and getting in the flow of things.it is good to create a system for tracking their progress. It helps to assign remote team members to senior or more experienced employees who will serve as collaborative mentors. This mentor should be a receptive person whose job will be to advise and guide the members of the remote team. The remote team members, on the other hand, will be answerable to these mentors in a way that allows for accountability.

Put in the work!

No doubt, you should consider outsourcing to grow your agency. But you must understand that there is more to growth than simply hiring a remote team. To enjoy the full benefits, you ought to put in the work to get them properly onboarded. This necessitates well-thought-out plans and a consistent commitment to improving the processes. Would you like to learn more about outsourcing? Check out our Complete Guide to Outsourcing and Growing your Agency eBook.

Author

Jennifer Alimasunya

Jennifer is a dedicated copywriter for GoWP, a company that provides exceptional outsourced Wordpress services to help agencies grow. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria. In her spare time, she writes and records music.

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