Onboarding Employees When You're Remote

August 11, 2020


Team member onboarding a remote employee virtually
Consider these remote onboarding tips to ensure a welcoming and successful process.

In today's business world, creating a positive, personalized onboarding experience for new team members is paramount. Not only does a good day one experience help improve your new hire's chances of success, it's also a positive reflection on your overall company culture. However, with a global pandemic keeping more workers at home this year, businesses are being forced to adapt and learn new ways to onboard employees remotely.

Many teams are learning that remote onboarding is drastically different than in-person onboarding. The lack of face to face interaction between team members means HR teams have to come-up with new, innovative ways to welcome new employees and effectively immerse them in the company culture.

If your team is starting to onboard new hires remotely, the last thing you want is for your new employees to get off on the wrong foot. Consider these tips to ensure an effective day one.

Be Sure Hardware Arrives on Time

Your new employee is going to be eager to dive right into their new role, so it's important to be sure they have the tools they need to be successful from the very beginning. This means promptly shipping hardware (laptop, keyboard, mouse, etc.) and ensuring it arrives prior to the new employee's start date. Be sure to also include any hardware instruction manuals, since he or she won't have in-person IT support available to help.

Create a Thoughtful Welcome Package

In a remote work environment, welcome lunches and in-person orientations are no longer part of the picture, but there are still things you can do to welcome your new hire to the team. Create a thoughtful welcome package with some of your best company swag and ship it along with the hardware. Backpacks, t-shirts, water bottles, and stickers are all great items to include. If possible, throw in a welcome card signed by the new employee's teammates.

Schedule A Welcome Meeting

Face-to-face interaction among teammates is still important in a remote work environment. Schedule a video conference call with the new employee's peers, colleagues, and manager so that everyone has a chance to welcome them to the team. Your new hire should share an introduction as well as a short description of their background and hobbies. Be sure the new employee has ample opportunity to ask questions and get to know their teammates.

Leverage e-Sign Platforms to Complete HR paperwork

If you're onboarding employees remotely and your company hasn't gone completely paperless, now is the time. Collecting signatures on the HR-essential forms should be done with an e-sign platform such as DocuSign in order to make the process as streamlined as possible.

Establish a Mentorship Program

Assigning your new hire a mentor is a great way to improve the onboarding experience. A mentor should not be a direct manager, but rather a senior team member who can help the new employee adapt to his or her new role. Mentors should always be available to answer general questions and should make it a point to check-in with the new hire on a weekly basis to ensure things are going well.

A quick shift towards remote work is forcing HR teams to rethink their overall approach to employee onboarding. For companies to truly benefit from remote work and effectively scale the size of their talent pool, learning to create a positive remote onboarding experience is a must.

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