Tips on How to Onboard Employees in a Remote Workplace

By  //  August 25, 2021

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There are a record number of people working remotely with no signs of slowing down. The process of onboarding new employees in a virtual space can be challenging. As a company, there are many important steps to take when onboarding a new employee so they feel confident about their new role.

To help onboard new employees in a remote workplace with ease and efficiency, we have asked the leaders of companies who are doing it best for their advice. 

Here are the most important tips to help you achieve success in the onboarding process:

■ Stay in constant communication using apps that allow face-to-face communication

■ Include company leaders in the process for a more personal connection

■ Set up team meetings to welcome new employees so they gain a sense of belonging 

■ Hold an orientation for remote employees introducing them to the culture of the company

■ Introduce them to company systems and be sure they have the equipment needed

■ Use a buddy system for guidance in the first few weeks and surveys for feedback

■ Be extremely organized providing all relevant material before their orientation

When it comes to onboarding employees in a remote workplace, there are new challenges that must be faced. Since you are unable to explain the operations and mechanisms of the organization in person, it is best to rely on Slack and other apps that will allow you to stay in constant communication with the new employee.

Zoom and Google Meet are a major component of our onboarding system because it allows my staffers to meet face-to-face, even if it is through a screen.

Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition MitoQ

Including company leaders in the onboarding process is a great way to introduce new employees to managers. This helps employees understand the organization of the company from the start but also helps new employees feel valued. Actually seeing the faces of company leaders instead of just their names creates a personal connection. This connection can go a long way in employee retention. 

Aidan Cole, CEO TatBrow

It is a great idea to set up team meetings when onboarding employees. This can make them not only feel welcome but get them up to speed on the company’s culture. It is also a great way for them to be able to ask any questions about the company they may have.

Susan Pirrie, Senior Director of Marketing Healist Naturals

When you are onboarding remote employees it’s a great idea to hold a role-specific/team orientation. This is an important step because it allows your new hires to get to know and interact with their team members.

This will help foster teamwork and a sense of belonging. It’s also beneficial for those employees in the department to get to know who the new hires are.

Omid Semino, CEO of Diamond Mansion Diamond Mansion

Onboarding remote employees is an important part of the new hire process. Start the onboarding process by introducing them to company systems right away. Since they are remote workers the company systems will be key for them to complete their job responsibilities. 

Justin Chan, Growth Manager JuneShine

When you are onboarding remote employees, always be sure they have all the equipment they will need to do their job. This will help make the onboarding process smoother and easier for everyone. Whether your company is providing specific equipment or the employee will be getting their own equipment, make sure that they are ready for day one. 

David Di Lorenzo, President Valentino Beauty Pure

When adding remote employees to the team, an orientation checklist is key in order to onboard efficiently and streamline communications. If the employee will be working remotely, it’s important to cover any important information regarding tools or applications required for daily tasks. We use various platforms at Flying Embers, so it’s important that our employees know which communication tools to use for their specific workstreams. 

Liz Tomic, Head of Effective Brand Building, Marketing, and Innovation Strategies Flying Embers

When onboarding new employees that are remote, it’s vital that they have the right equipment. Simply asking them if they have a computer is not enough. You need to ensure they have a computer that is capable of running programs they will need to complete their work. Make sure you know the specifications of their existing equipment if you are not going to be providing any equipment.

Eymel Daniel, Co-Founder ForChics

Working remotely can feel isolating, so using a buddy system for new hires can help them feel more connected during their onboarding process. Assign another employee who has been with the company for a while to help guide them through their first few weeks.

This can help new hires have a mentor to talk to about issues they’re encountering or how they’re feeling about the onboarding process.

Benjamin Smith, Founder Disco

One way to figure out if your onboarding process for remote workers is working well is to use surveys. This helps gauge how new employees are feeling about the onboarding they received and what recommendations they have to make it better. Using this feedback is important in optimizing the process for future new hires who work remotely.

Courtney Buhler, CEO & Founder Sugarlash PRO

Even when you have remote employees, it’s important to stay in consistent communication with them. Questions tend to come up along the way, especially as new hires encounter issues that they haven’t faced before at previous positions. Even between companies, roles can vary greatly, so being open to answer questions and how the workplace environment will work for them can be extremely beneficial. 

Cody Iverson, CEO VisCap Media Creative Agency

When onboarding employees remotely, it is vital to be extremely organized. Make sure you have emailed them copies of the relevant material for their orientation. Meeting over Microsoft Teams or Zoom or another app can also make the onboarding process go that much more smoothly.

Sheila Chaiban, CEO One Ocean Beauty

Virtual onboarding should never be a “one-and-done” video session or phone call. It needs to be conducted over multiple, interactive video sessions that provide an overview of the company and its products and services, and incorporates meetings with managers, team members and even business leaders like the CEO.

Sally Stetson, Co-Founder and Principal Salveson Stetson Group

The one area where we had to slightly evolve was new-hire orientation. We now have a completely digital orientation leveraging Zoom video conferencing that includes lots of guest speakers to connect with all of our new hires. ServiceNow’s virtual onboarding starts with a six-hour session on Day 1 with built-in breaks and opportunities for connection.

We bring in partners from across the organization, including product, global talent, finance, IT and sales, to name a few. We host another 90-minute session on Day 2, where employees can ask additional questions and hear from some other organizations within the company.

Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer and CHRO ServiceNow

Remote onboarding of new employees is not without its own challenges, many of which have not been faced before, but many of the goals remain the same as a physical work environment. Starting off right by giving employees a clear picture of what is expected builds a strong foundation for employee success.