The Operating Model Shifting HR Priorities
Anywhere Operations is quickly becoming a standard and permanent fixture in business, and it's directly confronting today's HR professionals with 40% of organizations predicted to adopt it by 2023.
Regardless of gradual lifts in pandemic-related restrictions, 82% of company leaders still plan to let their employees work remotely at least some of the time as they plan for the future. The key distinction of Anywhere Operations is its distributed workforce located anywhere while technologically enabled to serve customers everywhere.
With the "Great Resignation," or "Great Attrition," creating a massive shuffle in the world of talent acquisition, more businesses are focusing their time and resources on effectively welcoming and onboarding new employees.
Turnover is natural and inevitable for every organization, but efficiently equipping new staff in an Anywhere Operations environment is the most critical first step towards accelerating your business growth and maturity. Here are our expert recommendations on how to onboard for Anywhere Operations:
Onboarding Checklist for Anywhere Operations
Anywhere Operations is only effective to the extent that your leadership and staff are prepared to make the transition. Let's explore our top employee onboarding tips:
1. Create a Remote Work Policy
Successful onboarding starts at the policy level with best practices and guidelines mapped out for clarity to support the stakeholders implementing them. Developing a remote work policy sets the framework for how your distributed workforce will function. This policy can be temporary or permanent, and malleable to your unique circumstances.
An effective policy should clearly address:
- Employees Qualified for Remote Work
- Legal Rights of Each Remote Team
- Software & Hardware Supporting Cybersecurity for Remote Work
- Special Requirements for Staff Working Remotely (i.e. On-Call Hours)
- Team Collaboration and Activities Promoting Positive Employee Experiences
- Details On Remote Work Compensation/Benefits (i.e. Internet Stipend)
2. Promote HR & IT Department Collaborations
It is a team effort between Human Resources and the IT department to successfully set up new staff in an Anywhere Operations environment. This collaboration ensures that your distributed workforce is empowered with the appropriate hardware, software, network access, and ongoing tech support necessary to perform work duties. Both departments are crucial to the success of a new hire's onboarding experience.
Net Friends Pro-Tip:
Your IT department should be issued a list of all the access rights and new user credentials to be provisioned to every incoming hire.
3. Leverage Zero-Touch Provisioning
Zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) is a device setup method that relies on a switch feature to auto-configure each device. Manual configuration is time-consuming and the process is prone to errors. ZTP unlocks faster setup and eliminates the need for in-person IT personnel to handle machines.
With a well-established and continuously refined ZTP process, your IT department can ship ready-to-use devices to your distributed workforce. In turn, your new employees can quickly deploy their machine within a large-scale cloud environment with no IT expertise or manual labor necessary. This zero-touch method promotes more efficiencies through contactless interactions and automation.
4. Start the Onboarding Process Early
In business as in life, the early bird always gets the worm. Decisive action is one of the hallmarks of staying competitive in the marketplace.
Create and distribute some of your employee onboarding materials at least 1-3 weeks before the start date. This invites your new hires into the headspace of becoming strong contributors to your organization and culture well before they show up on Day 1. Share company materials, videos, mentoring assignments, and social media handles in advance to help everyone acclimate.
5. Consider Assigning A Mentor
Starting a new job remotely can be isolating if the onboarding schedule does not facilitate a lot of face time opportunities with a diverse group of people. It may be hard to make connections across different departments, but those necessary bonds are critical for interdepartmental collaborations later on.
By assigning every new hire with a peer mentor on the job, they gain a go-to person (that's not their manager) to help them navigate the organization, answer questions, and give them tips on how to be successful in their role and department. This person can be an advocate who facilitates introductions to key contacts within the new employee's first 90 days. They can also share knowledge about how to best engage resources, systems, and assets to help the mentee efficiently learn and tackle their work duties.
6. Create Onboarding Cohorts
Onboarding cohorts not only combat new hire isolation, but they also promote time and resource efficiencies for the HR department as well as every trainer involved in the onboarding schedule.
New employees also benefit from the questions that their newly hired peers ask during training sessions. We recommend prioritizing cohort-driven start dates to save on the time and efforts required for new employee trainings.
7. Invest in Cloud Collaboration & Productivity Tools
The cloud is the new frontier for business and it's crucial to the successful adoption of Anywhere Operations. When you transition your operations to a cloud infrastructure, your employees are better equipped to work from anywhere, while serving your clients everywhere.
When you onboard your new employees to productivity tools that allow them to collaborate in real-time, you empower them to immediately access peak performance potential. Real-time communication and collaboration efficiencies also ensure that a new hire feels connected to their new teammates and company culture.
Net Friends Pro-Tip:
When introducing a new employee to a core line-of-business system, verify their understanding by assigning easy and simple tasks to keep the training fresh and help them consolidate the information they just learned.
8. Personalize Employee Training
Adults learn information best at their convenience and pace. On a new employee's first day, assess their learning style within the first few hours. This allows you to understand how they operate and empowers the new hire to elaborate on how they like to express their learning and leadership style.
A remote workforce will appreciate one-on-one attention from their manager, especially to clarify "how" they can uniquely tackle their role and target goals. Professional development assessments also give you valuable data for coordinating successful collaboration groups, so all teammates can showcase their strengths.
9. Create Face Time with Leadership
A long-time Net Friends tradition has been the lunch outing with our company owners and/or senior management staff on everyone's first day. Even after years and years at the company, our employees still recall stories from their first lunch outing at Net Friends (i.e. where they ate, their conversations with the Founder/Officers, and the positive experience of this unique time).
Even though Net Friends operates from an Anywhere Operations framework and with a majority of our staff working remotely, we always prioritize in-person onboarding training at our Durham headquarters. In-person onboarding isn't always possible for a distributed workforce. Nevertheless, we recommend catering lunch on the first day and scheduling some face time with senior leadership.
10. Gather Onboarding Feedback
Ask your new hires to give feedback on their onboarding experience from the official schedule to the training quality of each session. You can keep it simple by asking them to share their favorite part of the process and what improvements they recommend. Adapt, edit, and refine your onboarding schedule for the next cohort. Here's some feedback we received from one of our own onboarding cohorts:
11. Conduct Regular Training
Employee training for Anywhere Operations is not a one-time affair. Arrange regular opportunities for follow-up training, specifically for the tools and processes necessary for employees to maximize their success. Also, ensure that your IT staff frequently checks in to resolve any technical issues, such as proper OneDrive syncing or email spam filtering. This extra touch to periodically assess whether your distributed workforce has the provisions necessary to sustain their productivity will undoubtedly promote long-term retention as well.
12. Build & Sustain Company Culture
Create opportunities for your remote employees to socialize with each other. Team-building activities, virtual meet-and-greet sessions, and other non-work socialization opportunities all add to employee satisfaction. A strong company culture promotes a sense of belonging and prompts your employees to take ownership of company results and success.
13. Prioritize Continuing Education
Technologies and the marketplace are dynamic, so your employee training and professional development strategies should be ongoing. Invest in your remote workforce with targeted career development initiatives to keep them competitive and adequately challenged for growth.
Optimize Anywhere Operations with Net Friends
Net Friends is your Managed Services Provider (MSP) and trusted partner to transition your company to Anywhere Operations. Contact us to discover how we can help you develop and execute a strong Anywhere Operations framework that supports your employee onboarding training program and company growth.