How to Onboard a New Manager or Team Leader Remotely
New managers need extra time and support in the onboarding process. Whether they’re an internal person who just got promoted or an external hire, they’ll need help through this transition.
Getting up to speed is even more challenging when your team is distributed. Yet only 17% of leaders say their organization has developed a system for onboarding new leaders in a remote setting. Below are a few points to keep in mind when onboarding new managers remotely.
Provide plenty of context when onboarding leaders virtually
Harvard Business Review recommends creating a structured learning process. Help your new leaders access information effectively. Consider what will be most helpful for their role. Some of the materials that they might need include:
- Organizational charts
- Financial reports
- Strategy and project documentation
- Your crisis response plan
In addition to these materials, strongly consider assigning new leaders an onboarding buddy. Onboarding buddies — someone who’s not the new hire’s manager who can help answer early questions — are even more important in a remote setting.
Help leaders forge critical connections quickly and easily
New leaders need help navigating your organization and getting to know their key stakeholders and peers, even if they’ve already been working at the company. Give your new managers a list of people to meet and context for how they’re likely to work together. Send personalized email intros to each stakeholder to reinforce the new relationship.
Asana recommends prioritizing 1:1 interactions rather than group meetings so leaders can have their questions answered immediately and shape the onboarding process based on their own needs.
Prioritize team-building to set the foundation for success
Managers don’t just need to develop relationships with other leaders. It’s equally important to create a sense of unity and purpose on their own teams. You can facilitate this process by providing a consultant or coach who can work with the manager to set expectations and establish clear communication with the team.
Introduce company policies and protocol
Make sure your managers know the nuts and bolts of company policy. Do they know how to handle requests for time off and performance conversations? Don’t forget company norms and guidelines about work, especially when it comes to meetings and working hours in a remote setting.
Encourage openness and transparency
Stef Miller, Director of Demand Generation at Udemy for Business, recommends leaders create a “Working with me” document. This introduces their communication and work preferences. It can include:
- When they check and respond to email
- How they like to receive feedback
- Any other information that sets up a strong foundation for working together well
Build a blended learning program to reinforce core leadership values
Leadership development is a process that successful companies take seriously. To ensure your leaders and their teams are positioned to do their greatest work for your organization, you can:
- Create a playbook for training managers. This can include relevant courses like handling difficult conversations and career navigation, plus ideas for activities and discussion prompts.
- Empower leaders to learn from one another with group training for managers. Use the playbook as the curriculum for your blended learning program.
- If your organization uses Udemy for Business, create and use custom courses to set common standards for leadership at your organization.
Create a best-in-class remote onboarding experience for your managers
Being a new manager is hard. There’s a reason why half of new managers fail within the first 18 months. And in a remote setting, it’s even more challenging.
Don’t leave your manager onboarding to chance. Learn how to create a best-in-class experience in The Definitive Virtual Onboarding Guide for Distributed Teams.