How to Onboard Remote Employees

How to Onboard Remote Employees

colleagues discussing on video call

According to a survey by McKinsey, 58% of U.S. workers work from home at least one day per week. As a result, employees increasingly expect remote work options. However, since remote work at this scale is still new, companies are continuing to learn processes like how to onboard remote employees. 


If your company is still mastering how to onboard remote employees, you’re not alone. Still, your company can take steps to make the remote onboarding experience smoother. Onboarding is your new hire’s first impression of life at your business. Therefore, a bumpy process is not a strong foundation for a long-lasting business relationship. 

However, with some HR expertise, you can create a seamless onboarding flow that sets the right tone and prepares your new hire to contribute as soon as possible. This blog sheds some light on a few best practices when you onboard remote employees. Whether your company is hybrid or fully remote, these tips are for you! 


Make the tech setup seamless

Remote work requires dependable technology, and onboarding remote employees is no different. If your company has an IT team, coordinate with them well before the start date to ensure your new hire can get started on time. Otherwise, the job of acquiring a laptop, email address, and other software licenses lies in your hands. 

Checklists can be your best friend in that case! Take some extra time to ensure the laptop you’re sending them will be powerful enough for them to do their job. Engineers, designers, and videographers require more powerful computers than a salesperson or administrator. Don’t leave anything to chance because a stilted start won’t inspire much confidence from your new teammate. 


Directly above shot of businessman on video call through laptop with male colleague during remote onboarding

Set clear expectations upfront 

Setting expectations early while you onboard remote employees is essential. Remote work requires trust and level setting regarding what that employee should be doing and how they should communicate with your team. For example, when is your team expected to log on every day? What’s your process for asking for time off? This can be easy to overlook, but establishing expectations from the jump reduces the chance of misunderstandings and friction down the line. 


Immerse them in your culture

Onboarding is the best time to immerse your new remote worker into your culture. Before they start diving into their work, show them what they’re working towards. Replicating the office culture is difficult in a remote setting, so find ways to make the virtual setting fun and inclusive. 

Schedule the new hire meetings with other co-workers to get to know them, and try to introduce them in team meetings. A virtual happy hour never hurts, either! On top of the fun side of things, introduce them to how teams work together in your company. 

Will they be expected to collaborate regularly across organizations? What communication styles do your coworkers prefer? Some of these nuances are harder to pick up virtually, so they’re a necessary consideration to help your new hire integrate seamlessly.


Give them some easy wins early on

The 30-60-90 plan is a classic onboarding framework to build your new hire into a contributor efficiently. While it’s a helpful framework for your remote employee onboarding plan, you can get results quickly by getting your new employee involved. 

Once they have some time to gather their bearings in your organization, don’t be afraid to start bringing them into project meetings and even delegating specific tasks. But, of course, you shouldn’t assign something overly complex if you can help it. Setting your new hire up for some small wins from the get-go will build up their confidence to hit the ground running. 


Business people video conferencing on laptop


Regular check-ins and 1:1s 

Don’t leave your new remote employee hanging. Frequent, open communication with new hires is critical. It’s natural for employees in the onboarding phase to feel unclear about what they need to do between their setup tasks and meetings. By taking the time to check in on them, you can help them feel involved, supported and even find some extra assignments to take on. This can be as simple as shooting them a Slack or having a quick chat over Zoom. 

Moreover, the 1:1s with their manager are a perfect time to gather feedback about the onboarding process. Encourage your new hire to share what they’re learning as well as areas for improvement in the process. Because they are currently in the thick of your remote onboarding program, they might unearth an insight into it that you otherwise wouldn’t have caught. Conveniently, this will also lay the groundwork for a more transparent relationship between that employee and their manager. 


Celebrate the end of onboarding

As with any process, onboarding a remote employee should have a clear endgame. So what does the completion of onboarding look like? Are they fully ramped after completing a certain amount of projects? Or is it a strictly timeline-based milestone, such as hitting the three-month mark? 

Whatever marker you decide on for this employee, make sure to celebrate their achievement upon reaching it. Though you don’t need to do anything too grand, a congratulatory remote happy hour or swag package lets your new hire feel like they’ve finally made it.


Remote Onboarding is easier with ADDA! 

Get your new hires up to speed faster, whether working from home, the beach, or even your office. ADDA’s consultants can help you build a better onboarding process, so click this link to find out how.

Fill out the form to learn how our business solutions can help you today!


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