AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.

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Remote Onboarding & Induction

When welcoming a new employee to your company, this is sometimes known as induction or onboarding. Your company may have a wealth of resources in relation to onboarding new employees however may not have any policies in how to on-board new hires remotely.

We have developed some tips and guidelines on remote onboarding and what to be mindful of when you are onboarding graduates with disabilities in your company either through WAM or in your general mainstream recruitment.

Pre-Start Date

  • Communicate and engage with the graduate in advance of their start date. Let them know what time they are expected to log-on and who they are meeting.
  • Send out paperwork, handbooks, welcome pack digitally in advance ensuring that they are in an accessible format. 
  • Have a process that prepares the hire for their first day, setting up on the company’s systems and ensure their software and hardware works is ready to use from the first day of work.
  • Ask them if they have any IT requirements in order for them to work effectively. This may include providing the graduate with equipment, such as laptops, a headset, screens etc. Give support on how the home work space is best set up.
  • Don’t forget, that you should also ask graduates with disabilities whether they require any accommodations to work from home under the Employment Equality Act. Even though they are working from home and not in the office, employers are still obliged to reasonably accommodate people with disabilities remotely. You can read more on this here.

The First Day

  • Create a “day-one” checklist so the new hire knows what to do.
  • Provide them with a list of essential contacts and explain their role within the organisation and why they may need to contact them. This could include the team contact details, IT support and other staff members who they will be engaging with such as their trainer or mentor.
  • Meet with the graduate on their first day via video-call. Dedicate time to welcome the graduate one-to-one. They will be nervous, like most new hires, so it’s important that relationships are established from day one.
  • Communicate the company culture and the channels of communication.
  • Set up a mentor or buddy system giving a better understanding of the company and acting as a sounding board for the new hire.
  • Schedule a team meeting to take place on the first day to welcome the new hire and share experiences and encourage the team to follow up with brief welcome emails.

Settling In Period

  • Ensure you have a training plan outlined for the graduate and that it is accessible. You can read more about this here.
  • Have an outline of the first one to two weeks and have clear deliverables and check in to ensure the graduate  is on track being mindful of any accommodations they may have.
  • Schedule regular check-ins for the first 1 to two months on the job.
  • Have regular team meetings and use video conferencing facilities to give as much social interaction as possible.

It’s important to remember that work is not just work! Social integration into the team and company is virtual to. XX of graduates with disabilities in our recent survey expressed a concern in social isolation so consider setting up virtual coffee mornings, or lunch time chats so that the graduate can establish connections and relationships with colleagues that isn’t directly related to work.

Finally, have an integration plan for returning to the office being mindful of additional supports or accommodations that may be required for graduates with disabilities. You can read more about this here.

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