Remote Onboarding: A Comprehensive Guide to Onboarding Remote Employees

HR Outsourcing
Remote Onboarding: A Comprehensive Guide to Onboarding Remote Employees
Article by Zarah Ariola
Last Updated: June 04, 2022

Onboarding your new hires remotely is a great way to establish rapport and kick off great working relationships with them.

Onboarding remote employees can be a start for setting the pace for performance and productivity. This is particularly crucial when you are bringing in new team members to bridge any operational gaps and reinforce manpower.

While there is a chance for onboarding new employees remotely to be tricky, you can streamline your processes for onboarding remotely to be done effectively and create a positive experience.

Here is a quick yet definitive guide for you on how to onboard remote employees the right way.

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What is Remote Onboarding?

Remote onboarding is when you officially integrate new staff into your company or organization. It is welcoming them, introducing them to your culture and daily workflow, and familiarizing them with your policies.

When onboarding remote employees, you give them a clear view of and align them with the mission, vision, and goals of your business. This can better help them understand how their work for you will contribute to reaching these goals while adhering to the company mission and vision.

Onboarding new employees remotely also involve presenting well-structured, clear expectations from both them and you as their new employer. Onboarding remotely is in itself a journey for your new hires. It should be orderly, straightforward, and easy to follow.

In addition, onboarding remotely includes:

  • Creating email accounts
  • Setting up payment channels or bank accounts for payroll
  • Providing access to the right software required for their roles
  • Giving out easy-to-digest materials and documents to support the onboarding process
  • Opening the floor to questions and helping them navigate through their new work environment

Best Practices When Onboarding Remote Employees

Take the best, most excellent approach how to onboard remote employees. When onboarding remote employees, these are the foremost things to keep in mind and put into practice.

Mentoring, Coaching, and Offering Hands-On Assistance

You can try the peer buddy system when you’re onboarding new employees remotely, wherein you assign each new hire a more tenured colleague to walk them through their first few days or weeks in the company. The peer buddy will stand as a mentor, guide, or coach to the new hire.

This arrangement can be done in place of simply handing out SOPs, files, or wikis for new staff to read through, which can easily overwhelm them with information.

Pairing them with someone who has been with the company longer than they have can give a more efficient and less intimidating remote onboarding experience. In turn, your new employees will be able to learn and pick up things faster because they are more at ease and feel less pressured.

Setting Realistic, Attainable Expectations

Avoid misconceptions and negative perceptions early on by setting achievable and workable expectations for your new hires.

It is during remote onboarding when new employees learn the definitive scope of their role in your business. Show them that in your organization, you delegate responsibilities and have high regard for the value of accountability.

Preparation is key. Be prepared on how to onboard remote employees so that you will be able to communicate with clarity. Lead with confidence, speak with motivation and drive, and convey the importance of onboarding remotely.

When onboarding remotely, avoid sending out the wrong signals but instead, be clear in showcasing your standard of quality at work. Take the opportunity to try and instill in your new hires the values of transparency, having a purpose, taking initiative, and being punctual.

Onboarding New Employees Remotely in an Engaging Way

Onboarding new employees remotely may not have the more conventional in-office icebreakers. However, it does not mean you could not have a good laugh and good-natured, friendly overall interaction when you are onboarding remote employees.

You can create an engaging environment and seamless experience for new hires during remote onboarding. Invest in high-quality communications platforms that would not act up or break amid onboarding remote employees. Get a subscription to fun games and virtual learning activities, too.

These can help boost the enthusiasm and morale of your new hires from the get-go. It will surely be worth the investment.

How to Onboard Remote Employees

After having laid out the best practices for remote onboarding, let us have a walkthrough of the actual steps to take on how to onboard remote employees in an effective and engaging way.

Pre-Onboarding and Paperwork

There needs to be a seamless transition from contract signing to logging in on your new talent’s start date.

In this light, before the actual day of onboarding remote employees, you should ensure that everything they need is set and sent—from the company handbook and training modules to hardware if you are providing them.

If you can, a welcome kit with some company merch, trinkets, and freebies for new hires would be good to add, too.

Putting in a personal touch to welcoming each new talent is an excellent way of easing their way into your organization. It eliminates any apprehension, replacing it with comfortable facilitation of the upcoming remote onboarding.

Orientation and Introduction

The next phase of onboarding remote employees is assisting new talents to have a better understanding of the best practices and the ethics expected of them in their journey with your business.

This is the stage of the onboarding remotely wherein:

  • You provide the necessary explanation or any clarification about any documents you have previously sent prior to onboarding new employees remotely.
  • You give them details on the dos and don’ts when interfacing with colleagues and higher management.
  • You help them with the setup of work email, messaging channels, and video conferencing tools, as well as password management, cloud storage, and file-sharing software.
  • You can bring in IT specialists if they need further help with systems set up.
  • You arrange for their introduction to the different departments in your company so they can acquaint themselves with collaboration opportunities with their co-workers.

Training Phase

The final phase on how to onboard remote employees now includes the rollout of your new hires’ responsibilities.

It’s when you slowly, however surely transition from a new hire to becoming a motivated and driven employee. Now fully aware of the objectives and goals of the organization they are joining, the expected etiquette and the culture, it should be easier to usher them to the actual work and workflow.

This stage on how to onboard remote employees should enable them to deploy their skills and carry out tasks on their own while aligning with priorities, responsibilities, and expectations.

Checklist for Onboarding Remotely

While there is no actual one-size-fits-all system for onboarding remote employees, a good, comprehensive checklist remains essential in whichever way you plan to approach the process of onboarding new employees remotely.

Here are what you should tick off in the course of the remote onboarding:

  • Completed reference and background checks
  • Submission of all new hire requirements such as academic records and certificates of employment
  • Returned signed agreements and contract of employment
  • Send-out of welcome kit
  • Introductory calls prior to remote onboarding
  • Preparation of all your materials, visuals, notes, and even ice-breakers for the remote onboarding
  • Presentation of company information during onboarding of remote employees
  • Clarification of the new hire’s scope of work
  • Communication of compensation and benefits package in vivid detail
  • Encouraging your new talents to raise questions
  • Introductory remote meetings with the rest of the teams and departments
  • Ensuring seamless learning and development processes
  • Weekly follow-ups after onboarding remote employees, which can transition to biweekly or monthly

The Importance of Effective Remote Onboarding

The way you effectively take solid steps on how to onboard remote employees affects three important aspects of human resources and of the organization as a whole. This is why onboarding remotely is worth the investment of effort and time.

Employee Engagement

A good experience with onboarding new employees remotely increases the likelihood of keeping them engaged at work.

Aside from exciting activities to take a break from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day tasks and deliverables, employee engagement also acts as a qualitative measure of their enthusiasm, confidence, eagerness, and productivity.

‍Employee Performance and Evaluation

Assessment and provision of constructive, structured feedback to your staff about their effectiveness, the quality of their output, and the speed at which they complete their deliverables can be related to the quality of your remote onboarding process.

Onboarding remote employees the right way helps boost their confidence in the organization. Creating an optimistic environment and atmosphere from day 1 during remote onboarding can be impactful to employee performance, and thus to the company’s holistic goals.

Employee Retention

Properly onboarding new employees remotely instantaneously make people feel that they are appreciated and that you want them and their contributions to your business. Taking the correct route and making the right approach on how to onboard remote employees ready up your new hire for how their work and professional relationships will pan out in the long term.

Getting off on the right foot with your people is one of the deciding factors whether or not they will stay with your organization and for how long. A high retention rate and low attrition rate effectively mean excellent use of resources for you. You do not have to deal with constant employee exits and the long procedures of onboarding new ones.

Remote Onboarding: The Future of Remote Work

While remote work has its challenges, it is also a very welcome option for many professionals. In the digital age wherein the geographic location is not a hindrance anymore, remote work setup is here to stay and is looking to a bright future ahead.

Committing to a well-designed remote onboarding strategy is significantly influential to remote work in general. Make the most out of working remotely by first, creating a successful rollout of onboarding remotely.

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