Guide to Remote Onboarding – How to Onboard Your Remote Employees
Onboarding employees is already a difficult process that’s made even more complicated when you have to onboard remotely. Some companies bring remote new hires into the office for the first week to get them started. If that option is off the table, there are a few steps you can take to make onboarding remotely go as smoothly as possible.
Before Their First Day
Send New Hires Information Before Onboarding Begins
It’s always a good idea to send vital information to your new employees shortly after they accept the job offer. That gives them a chance to fully review the information and come prepared with questions for onboarding. This is also a chance for them to complete any HR documents.
Documents to Send to New Remote Employees Before They Start
- Employee Handbook
- HR Documents
- IT Instructions
- Relevant Login Info
- Orientation Schedule
Get Your New Hires Setup on Your Software and Tools
Make sure that your new remote employees have accounts set up for everything they’ll need so they can hit the ground running. That includes their work email, video conferencing software, workplace messaging apps, company intranet, and any additional software or tools they’ll need for the job. This will also help your new hires feel more connected to the company and their coworkers on their first day. Additionally, if you’re supplying hardware like a computer or telephone, be sure to ship that to your new hire well in advance of their first day.
Send Remote New Hires Company Swag
New remote employees can feel disconnected from the company because of a lack of face to face communication. One easy way to make your new hires feel like part of the team is to send them some custom merch with your logo. Some popular swag bag items include customized coffee mugs, t-shirts, office supplies, and electronics. If you don’t have a budget for custom merch, consider investing in new hire materials that make your new employees feel more connected with the company.
Remote Employee Orientation
Connect with Your New Hires Virtually to Begin the Week
Kick-off new employee orientation week by meeting with your new hires using your video conferencing software of choice. If you only have a few employees starting at once, it’s ideal to meet with them individually. The purpose of this call is to discuss the orientation schedule and expectations for the week, but make sure to start with introductions and a warm welcome.
Schedule Individual Video Meetings with HR
Set up personal meetings with each new hire and a member of your HR team to go over onboarding paperwork and answer any questions. It’s important to do personal sessions rather than group sessions in case a new hire has questions that they don’t feel comfortable asking in front of a group. If you sent out HR documents before orientation began then this process will go much smoother.
Have an Orientation Session with IT
Schedule some time for your IT manager to train your new employees on the software and tools that your company uses. This can also be a time to check in with new hires to make sure they have access to everything they need and are not having any technical issues. You’ll also want to provide them with instructions on changing their passwords from the ones that were used to set up their various accounts. End this meeting with a Q&A to make sure you covered everything.
Schedule Introductions with Your New Hire’s Internal Team
After your new hires have all their HR and IT obligations fulfilled, set up some time for them to meet their internal team. We recommend a one on one meeting with their direct supervisor and then a group meeting with the entire team. These initial meetings should focus more on getting to know each other than training or planning.
Give Recently Hired Remote Workers a Virtual Tour of the Office
Giving your remote workforce a virtual tour of your office is another great way to help them feel more connected to the company. Even if they won’t ever be stepping foot in your headquarters it’s still beneficial for them to be able to visualize the office environment. That way they won’t feel left out when people are discussing the office in messages or video chats. This can be as easy as walking through the office with your phone.
Preview Week 2 of Onboarding
By the end of the first week of onboarding, your new remote employees should have all their HR documents submitted, technology setup, and be familiar with all coworkers that they’ll be working closely with. If you have all of these bases covered then week 2 of onboarding can be solely focused on training and education. Depending on the role, you could expect to have a remote employee fully functioning in their role by week 3 or 4. Towards the end of the week meet with your remote employees to review week 1 of onboarding and preview what’s to come.
End the Week with a Virtual Happy Hour
New employees typically form connections with their coworkers during downtimes between orientation sessions or at lunch. These socialization opportunities don’t exist for remote workers, so it’s important to set aside some time to get to know them without an agenda. You can do this with a virtual happy hour. If you don’t want to have alcohol involved, do this in the morning instead and call it a group coffee break. Either way, some informal conversations, and fun are a great way to wrap up new hire onboarding week.
Now you have what it takes to be a remote onboarding expert! Remote work is on the rise, so don’t miss our video interview checklist and remote hiring guide for even more tips on remote staffing. Finally, be sure to check out our recruiting resources library for all the hiring advice you need.