New leader being remotely onboarded on a laptop from a home office

How to Remotely Onboard Leaders Effectively

While effective virtual onboarding is crucial, it can be difficult to get right. But this can be easily done with a systematised process in place. As a manager, how can you make sure that your new leaders can meet their goals properly and are effective in handling their respective teams? Key to this is how you onboard leaders – especially virtually.

Here are some guidelines to help you out:

  • Ensure clarity on short-term objectives. Just like in an office setting, new leaders need to figure out how to create value in the organisation without any delay. You must let them know their short-term objectives immediately. You need to clarify what their accountabilities are amidst this crisis. Giving the new team lead and the members a clear structure of their goals and your expectations will keep them motivated. It can also be helpful if you do regular video conferences to assist the team and explain to the objectives clearly as they start their jobs. 
  • Streamline a structured learning process. Promoting continuous learning for leaders remains essential even during a pandemic.  Onboarding slide decks and comprehensive briefing documents are important for orienting the new team lead. It is also ideal to ask your team leaders about what they need to function and discuss it over virtual meetings. Things such as critical issues related to the existing processes, company culture, and chain of command should all be prioritised during discussions. 
  • Designate a virtual onboarding buddy. Having someone already familiar with the company, its processes, and stakeholders during the first weeks of being in the job can be beneficial for a leader. It does not have to be someone in the team they are joining, but somebody in the same level of command who already knows the twists and turns in the company.
  • Introduce your new leader to the key stakeholders. Like any new hire, a leader needs to be familiar with the key stakeholders of the organisation, especially those who will be in the chain of command and will have an influence with all the decision-making processes. 
  • Consider online team buildingBecause of the pandemic, physical team-building sessions might not be possible for quite some time, however,  be done virtually. For leaders whose team members are relatively new to them, it is essential that you organize a proper introduction and get to know each other in some parts of your first meetings. This can be a structured process that can help the leader to familiarize and understand his team members more. Sharing of past experiences and lessons learned at work and in life can be a good ice breaker during the team’s virtual meeting.

While the  COVID-19 pandemic keeps the team physically apart, technology continually finds ways to keep team members in sync. With technology, you can still onboard leaders and help them become more productive, as they would in an office setting.

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