Remote Filipino Employees (VA): Effective Onboarding

Part V of the Definitive Guide to Hiring Remote Employees from the Philippines

Last time on this series, we talked in-depth about the hiring process of Filipino remote employees and how to make the process as smooth as possible. 

This time around, we’re talking about what happens after you make that hire. Because though you have already technically hired your new remote employee from the Philippines, there is still work to be done as you complete onboarding. How virtual onboarding is done and how to tailor the process to Filipino remote employees are all important topics we cover in Part 5. So keep on reading!

Why Onboarding Is So Important

Many people dismiss the importance of onboarding, which is a huge mistake. And that’s not just words, there’s data to prove that experience with onboarding is crucial to a company’s growth and success. 

A study by The Boston Consulting Group in 2012 found that the proper and efficient onboarding of new hires led to revenue growth 2.5 times higher and profit margins 1.9 times higher than companies who did not dedicate as much energy and effort into onboarding recruits.

But beyond that, a good onboarding process can also:

  • Reduce the time it takes for new employees to start becoming productive
  • Improve the overall performance of the new employee 
  • Improve employee morale and work-related happiness
  • Encourage commitment to the company 

And many experts agree that new hires decide whether or not they plan to stay in a company in the first few days of employment, not months down the line. That’s why it’s crucial to make a good first impression and immediately integrate a new hire.

Virtual Onboarding: How Is It Different?

Onboarding is a crucial part of any hire, and though many people overlook its importance, it can greatly affect any future relationship you build with your new employee. And for digital hires where you hire a new remote employee, it is even more important.

Because you can’t just organize a get-together between your new hire and your current staff to integrate them into the company, you will have to go the extra mile of making them feel welcome. 

It is always a nerve-wracking experience to begin working for a new company, and that anxiety is perhaps multiplied when you begin working for someone you have only met via the phone. That’s why an efficient digital onboarding process is crucial to the hiring process of remote employees.

And because Filipinos are naturally friendly and personable, they will want something more personal from their onboarding to feel like a part of the team and the company, which can do wonders for their morale and in turn, their productivity.

A woman working on her laptop

But what does onboarding look like when it is done virtually? 

Well, your company, your values, and the company culture will determine how you welcome a new employee. While many take the more professional and organized route to onboarding a new employee, some like to inject their company’s unique personality to make the onboarding more interesting and fun. 

But no matter what route you choose, these are some essential things you will need to do no matter what kind of company you run:

1.  Directly after the hire but before their first day, send a welcome email. Not only is it courteous and friendly move, but it should contain important information that your new employee will need to know before their first day. 

It can contain your employee guidebook with sections specifically for remote employees, the points of contact the new employee will need to know (HR, IT, and any other departmental head they may need to contact), the necessary accounts they will need to set up, and any log-in information for platforms to which they will need access.

2. On their first day, introduce them to the team. For remote employees, there may be a feeling of disconnection from the rest of the company because of the distance. If you plan to keep your remote employee for the long-term, making them feel like they are part of the team can help ease those feelings of disconnection. Introducing them to the team via video call is a great alternative for the onboarding event of a big team lunch to get everyone introduced. It can also help your new hire get an idea of the organization and hierarchy in the company, and who directly reports to whom.

3. Give them a mentor to guide them through that first week. A mentor can serve not only as a guide to practical company matters, but they can also help your new remote employees understand what the company’s culture is like.

But while these are general steps that all companies can follow, there are some other things that can specifically help in the onboarding of Filipino remote employees.

Tailoring the Onboarding Process to Filipino Remote Employees

Filipino man smiling and working on a computer

Hiring a remote employee from the Philippines is a great business decision because of its cost-effectivity and how many benefits you get from it, both of which we’ve covered in past installments. 

But getting the best work possible quality of work from your Filipino remote employee means enforcing an onboarding policy that caters to their needs and builds a great working relationship between both of you. These are the things you can do to make that onboarding process as effective as possible:

1.    Have SOPs and training materials ready for your new hire to go through

Filipinos love being prepared and they will appreciate the forethought involved in having SOPs prepared for them and online training materials sent to them.

But you will have to ensure that the training materials have been read and understood. Filipinos dislike appearing stupid so they will not always approach you if they have a question about the content or if they don’t understand something. So it is important to go through the training materials with them to ensure they have a good level of understanding of the content. You will also need to assure them that asking questions is acceptable and even encouraged, as they will not normally raise questions of their own accord.

2.   Go over their contract with them

Clarity is essential to getting off on the right foot together with your remote employee. Going over a new hire’s contract with them not only sets the expectations for the job, but can also give your new employee time to address any questions or concerns they may have.

A good remote employee contract should have the exact job title, job description and responsibilities and tasks they are expected to complete, as well as a description of the expected work standards and quality of output. Letting your remote employee know what kind of standards you want upheld can help them understand their own role in the company and help them refine their work.

3.   Establish yourself as the clear figure of authority

Filipinos are naturally attuned to figures of authority and even seek them in the work environment, so it is important to establish authority from the very first day.

Not only will the clear hierarchy put them at ease, but it can also send a clear message that you will not be lenient or tolerate a low standard of work without verbalizing the sentiment. That is not to say that you cannot be friendly with them, but it means you will have to communicate that you are not lenient about their work.

A woman working on a design on her laptop

4.   Communicate that their job has security

Most people in the Philippines have to live paycheque to paycheque, and job security (or lack thereof) is a source of anxiety for many people. Remote work is often the alternative for many people, but there is still fear of the job being unstable.

To let your Filipino remote employee know that you plan on keeping them for the long-term can help put their anxieties to rest. It can also help build trust in your relationship if your Filipino remote employee knows you value their work.

5.   Take advantage of the onboarding period to build a relationship

While the onboarding period is a time for the employee to learn about their job, be trained, and get used to the work, it is also a crucial period of relationship-building. Many employers expect that relationship to grow eventually, but Filipinos are personable and friendly people who appreciate the effort to get to know them and who like getting to know their superiors in turn.

That’s why you should also see the onboarding period as a crucial time to set your working relationship on the right foot. Not only will it make working much easier, but it can also raise your remote employee’s morale which can boost their productivity.

6.   Set up a reporting system 

The biggest problem with hiring a remote employee is setting a way for accountability. A reporting system solves this by serving as a way for the employee to have proof of the work they’ve accomplished and can also help you get a picture of the work your remote employee has finished. 

A report of their accomplishments can be set daily, weekly, or after every project, depending on the kind of work you’ve assigned to them.

7.   Set up an Evaluation and Feedback System

When you ask your new remote employee to send in their accomplishment reports, it should also be made clear that you will be using those accomplishment reports as basis for their evaluation, which should also be scheduled at this point. 

It is important to let them know that there will be an evaluation in their future. Knowing that their work is being measured and that someone is checking on their work quality reminds them to keep the quality of their work consistent. It can also serve as a kind of motivation for them.

8.   As an optional step, you can set up an incentive plan for your new hire

It is important to keep your employees motivated and excited about the work they produce. One way of doing that is to set up success metrics and offers of promotion, but as that is not as easy to do with remote employees, you can also set up an incentive plan for them.

Filipinos love the promise of an incentive like a bonus or some kind of gift to motivate their work and many employers with Filipino VAs find success in this technique. It can also help keep the quality of their work high and within your standards.

Conclusion

Virtual onboarding is an important part of hiring any remote employee, and there are ways to do it properly and efficiently like sending the right training materials and establishing a connection between your in-house staff and your remote employee.

And for remote employees from the Philippines, there are some extra things you can do to improve their onboarding experience and set yourselves up for a beneficial working relationship.

Onboarding has so many benefits, many of which have been proven with data, so it’s worth your time to prepare the onboarding process carefully and thoughtfully.

In the next installment of the Definitive Guide to Hiring Remote Employees from the Philippines (DGHREP, as you may want to call it), we discuss the importance of setting expectations for a working relationship between you and your Filipino remote employee.

If you want to know more about hiring remote employees from the Philippines, you can contact Remote Staff Seeker here or on our LinkedIn page.

You can also browse through old installments of the series if you’re here to learn more about Filipino remote employees.

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