Getting Onboarding Right with a Distributed Workforce

Competition for skilled workers is tough, not to mention expensive. You might have to invest as much as 20% of an employee’s salary just to get him started. So, it is in your best interest to get all of your new employees up and running as quickly as possible, while ensuring that the good ones will stay with you as long as possible.

Unfortunately, effective onboarding for new hires is challenging even under the best of circumstances. And bringing on distributed employees who do their work at home, in the field, or at a remote location, ups the ante. Some organizations insist on starting these distributed teams at a corporate or regional headquarters, which can be an expensive proposition and can often be a real distraction from getting them started on the work they were actually hired to do.

Most approaches to onboarding tend to treat it as a separate, tedious, and necessary evil. Even if you can technically check the boxes and get your new hires set up with their training, tools, and tasks, traditional approaches fall short of really setting new hires up for success. Instead, you need to integrate the onboarding process into the tools that the employees will be using every day on the job.

Onboarding To Set a Confident Tone

Research shows that disengaged workers have 32% more absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects. Sadly, the first impression at many companies is a disjointed and manual onboarding process, which only encourages disengagement. Right out of the gate, a new hire experiences angst over getting all of the information right and may even inadvertently create costly mistakes others must catch. That only serves to shatter confidence and tank job satisfaction.

What if, instead of taking her off-site for skill and process training, the onboarding process were to put a digital tool in her hand that provides task-based guidance and contextually-relevant support as she jumps right into the work she was hired to do and presumably has skill and interest in doing?

This integrated onboarding approach, with in-the-moment guidance to help ramp her correctly and quickly, will go a long way to boost her confidence in her work as well as in her future with this new employer. Onboarding tools built right into the daily workflow also have the added bonus of providing feedback to managers and compliance teams, so they can efficiently identify mistakes and missed opportunities for new hires before they create on-going problems and real operational costs.

Instead of wasting those precious first hours on the job with training and information-sharing disconnected from the environment she will be immersed in every day, your new hire gets real interactive, on-the-job training. This kind of simple, elegant, and helpful introduction to the work at hand energizes the new employee to look forward to the challenges ahead.

Onboarding to Get it Right the First Time

An onboarding process with this sort of long-term focus can do a lot to set new employees up for success–to get it right the first time and every time after that.

Minimizing the rework for new hires in those initial steps on the job provides an encouraging outlook on the new workplace. In fact, the wins and losses a new hire experiences in the first year on the job are decisive in his decision to stick around for year two and beyond. Assuming you have hired well and the new employee is good at his job, you want to do everything you can to stack the deck in favor of him staying. One way to do that is to arm your new hire with integrated work tools that not only gets him into the system, but actually eases him into the day-to-day tasks of his job.

It’s likely that you have documented somewhere the ideal path that a new employee will take to get ramped up for the best effect–for the business and for the employee.

In most companies, that ideal is discussed, evaluated, and tweaked. Rarely, though, are there any real tools to bring it to life so that the front-line employee can independently walk through it.

Translating that ideal path into something that can guide everyone you hire through is transformative, with the potential to boost engagement, productivity, and long-term job satisfaction for your best employees.

Onboarding That Gets Remote Workers to Work

Integrated onboarding can ultimately help your new hires get to the point a lot faster, by cutting out the fluff of unnecessary and unhelpful steps. But integrated onboarding also promotes higher engagement, improved productivity, and increased information retention.

The vast majority of modern workers want to learn on the job, not in a classroom. And they are used to turning to their mobile phones for YouTube tutorials and other quick hits of information relevant to what is in front of them. They are very eager to learn and get started, but traditional onboarding processes simply do not support the way they want to access and assimilate new information.

Providing new hires with an integrated onboarding process, supported by digital tools that provide contextual support is not just an efficient delivery of information, it’s actually geared to how a modern workforce learns best.

Onboarding to Get it Right the First Time

If your job is to hire great workers–mechanics, restaurant managers, pharmacy techs, and other specialized and skilled laborers–then your onboarding process should support and amplify those efforts. The onboarding process ought to help get these newly hired specialists in a position to do what they do best, as quickly and effectively as possible, with as few distractions and potential for error as possible. They should not have to endure the old, inefficient ways of onboarding.

It is time to get your new hires to work.

To learn how DaVinix can help you turn the processes in your head, files, or employee manual into something tangible that your new hire can interact with by touching, talking, or typing, visit