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7 Essential Steps for Remote Employee Onboarding

Nov 21st, 2022

All work-from-home or hybrid jobs need to have strong remote employee onboarding in order to make the transition for new workers as seamless as possible. 

New employees should feel like they still have the same sense of community with their co-workers and employers that they would have on their first day in the office. But how? 

Here’s our official guide for successfully onboarding new team members remotely, including 7 essential steps every company should follow.  

Why is remote onboarding so important? 

For many companies, virtual onboarding is the future. Poor onboarding leaves workers with a bad first impression. 

Employees need to familiarize themselves with the company's culture as well as all of the necessary tools to complete their everyday tasks and assignments. People are more likely to seek out new jobs because of poor management, not feeling welcome, and unclear onboarding instructions, with 1 in 10 employees leaving companies due to poor onboarding.

Communication is key. For employers, having a strong remote employee onboarding experience not only puts new hires on the right path, but also saves time and money by boosting employee morale and retention. The result? More collective and individual success. 

Here are 7 of the best practices that employers can use for remote employee onboarding to help new hires feel like a part of a community, become comfortable in their new position, and embrace company culture. 

Step 1: Start early

If you’re onboarding a remote team, day one on the job is crucial, but successful onboarding begins as soon as the interview process is completed. 

Once the new remote worker has been hired on and guaranteed a position, send them information, welcome packets, and other relevant paperwork a few weeks before their orientation and start date. Share videos, links to the company’s website and social media accounts, and information about their higher ups or mentors before they begin their first day. 

To make remote employee onboarding as effective as possible, consider creating an employee onboarding checklist. This gives your human resources and remote employees organization and a chance to see exactly what to expect during their onboarding experience, as well as introduces them to the timeline of how long onboarding will take. 

In most cases, you will want to get new team members setup with:

  • Access to each relevant Slack channel 

  • Email 

  • Training on software tools 

  • Introductions to team members and other colleagues 

  • Access to digital channels 

  • Insider knowledge about the product or service your company offers

  • Documents or paperwork that need to be completed on or before the first day 

  • Welcome letter from the CEO

  • 1-on-1 time with hiring managers to help transition from interview to working

Step 2: Provide a digital handbook and overview of company culture

Before the new hire begins their first day, send them digital copies of the company and employee handbook. For in-person jobs, the company handbook is normally given on the first day of orientation, but with remote employees, new employers have the benefit of sending all of this information before the employee’s first work day. Set aside time to review this information during orientation.

A key part of onboarding remotely is giving new team members details about the company’s culture, including what values and expectations they are supposed to uphold now that they are part of the company. 

This will help to reinforce that they belong to a community, introduce them to their new work environment, and establish what expectations they need to meet in order to succeed in their new position. 

Step 3: Provide an individual onboarding plan for each person’s role

You should have a general strategy for onboarding your team, but try to develop individualized onboarding plans as well. This could be personal videos that address the individual employee as well as training opportunities that are meant only for them. 

Schedule a one-on-one meeting or video call with their new manager to discuss long-term goals within the first week of their remote start date. Employees with good support during the onboarding practice are 54% more productive. 

Don’t let this support from the manager falter after the onboarding process. Make sure that remote employees have the same amount of support and face-to-face opportunities as in-person employees would have to meet with their manager, especially when any confusion or questions arise. 

Step 4: Encourage development and professional growth 

Another important step in ensuring that employees want to stay and grow with a company is by understanding their own expectations and personal goals. Give them an overview of the opportunities that the company has for them, including what promotions might be available. 

As their manager, explain how your movement in the company happened and what steps they can take to grow. This will help remote employees become ingrained in company culture as well as give them a reason to meet all of their job tasks and goals. 

Try to sit down early with new hires and talk about what specific interests they have. Another great way that employers can help encourage employee growth is to ask about passion projects. If an employee has a specific interest inside the company that they can work on and develop, they are more likely to stay.

Step 5: Encourage collaboration

In an office setting, employees are able to talk face-to-face with other new hires and employees to build relationships. Accomplishing this online, however, can be much more difficult.

One of the main reasons remote workers feel alienated in their new position, then, is due to a lack of connection they have with their co-workers. Even in remote positions, team building exercises are a necessary part of employee growth. If certain employees have similar interests, try to assign them projects that they can collaborate on together and see what ideas they come up with as a team.  

If you create spaces online where employees feel comfortable enough to build connections with their peers, they will feel a true sense of belonging. Their work will also resonate with the company’s mission. 

When hiring a lot of remote workers at once, have them create introduction videos that they can share in a group call, or prepare a short presentation about themselves. You could also set up weekly happy hours or virtual co-working spaces, where new hires can post any questions that they may want help with outside of their manager or employer. 

Step 6: Recreate office experiences as virtual events

Create check-ins and group calls that mimic the in-person meeting experience. You could also give your team a peer mentor or pair them up with another new hire. Think outside the box!

Provide remote employees with the same face-to-face calls and meeting experiences that they would have in the office This will make your team more comfortable when reaching out if they have a problem. In other words, recreate the company culture virtually. 

You can also offer free lunch or coffee using DoorDash or UberEats vouchers. This way, it looks like your team is enjoying a meal out together, even if it takes place over video calls. For special virtual events, gift your workers company swag, like T-shirts, coffee mugs, and even shoes. 

Step 7: Consider all learning types

Everyone learns in their own way and at their own pace. Some employees learn best through reading and writing. Others need visual demonstrations and a walk-through of the steps for using specific tools to complete tasks. 

During your one-on-one introduction with your new hires, ask questions about what type of learning helps them grasp their work the best. You could even create a buddy system that pairs like-minded learners together..  

By creating an onboarding process that includes all employees, you will not only ensure that your team is performing their duties correctly, but also that they are being seen as individuals.

Conclusion

The first few weeks of a new job are an exciting time for employees. Make them feel special and excited about tackling a new role and fulfilling the company’s mission. Most importantly, make it easy for them to understand how to succeed. 

Why companies choose Via

The future of remote work is global and remote.

Many businesses want to hire remote employees around the world, but are unsure of how to onboard workers in new countries compliantly. Via makes hiring international talent across the world seamless. With our-easy-to-use platform, Via manages the local HR processes for global employment such as work visas and permits, benefits, payroll, background checks, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-or-record/entity, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team. 

With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors across borders with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums–start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace. You can get started in 1-2 business days. That’s why a lot of businesses partner with an EOR service like Via. We expedite the process of hiring and recruiting, setting up HR, and adhering to all employment laws in other countries.

FAQs

How do you make a good remote employee onboarding experience? 

To make a good remote employee onboarding experience, treat the experience as if the employee is working in the office. You should start the process early, provide digital handbooks, offer an individualized onboarding plan, foster professional growth, encourage collaboration, recreate in-office experiences, and cater to all learning types. 

What are the 4 C’s of onboarding? 

The 4 C’s of onboarding are: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection. 

How do you make remote employee onboarding fun? 

To make remote employee onboarding fun you can host scavenger hunts, throw virtual lunch meetings and happy hours, or run onboarding in small teams to help employees feel connected. 

What is remote onboarding in HR? 

Remote onboarding in HR is when the entire hiring and onboarding process is completed online instead of in-person. You will want to create a robust remote onboarding experience to make your new team members feel welcomed. 

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Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
My name is Janelle Watson and I'm a Colorado native. I have a BA in...

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