7 Tips for Successfully Onboarding Remote Employees

Bryan Adelson
March 9, 2022

Over the past couple of years, more and more companies have allowed their employees to work remotely, rather than work from an office.  Human Resources departments have needed to adjust their onboarding processes for remote employees, as remote onboarding differs from onboarding an employee in person.  This blog will cover 7 tips that will help you successfully onboard remote employees within your organization.

1. Create an Onboarding Checklist

The first step in onboarding remote employees is for the employer to create an onboarding checklist plan prior to the start date of the new employee.  Why is this important for the employer?  The checklist will help the organization and hiring team ensure all necessary tools, equipment, and resources are in place for the new team member on their first day. There are many moving parts for onboarding a new employee, so this checklist keeps all tasks in order and creates a smooth process for everyone.  

The onboarding checklist is equally as important for the new employee as it guides them through the onboarding process and ensures they have the support to successfully transition into their new role.  

What Should Be Included in the New Employee Onboarding Checklist? 

Below is a list of 10 items that should always be included in your employee onboarding checklist:

  1. Secure and deliver new IT equipment to the new employee prior to start date
  2. Schedule first day and week outline and itinerary  
  3. Schedule new employee paperwork meeting with HR
  4. Schedule IT setup meeting
  5. Schedule a welcome call with manager(s)
  6. All important pre-scheduled and recurring meetings added to the new employee’s calendar
  7. Schedule meet-and-greet meetings with the employee’s new team members
  8. Define all training the new employee will need to complete
  9. Schedule time for the new employee to set up their accounts, gain access to necessary tools, and start reviewing specifics for their role 
  10. Schedule and structure end of day check in for the new employee and their manager

2. Implement a Mentorship Program

Starting at a new company and new position is a daunting task for any individual, but with the addition of being remote, it can become even more stressful.  Establishing and implementing a mentorship program will ease the stress of the new employee and help the transition through the onboarding process. 

The mentor that is nominated for this program should be a successful employee within the organization who is personable, knowledgeable, and can guide new employees through the onboarding process.  The mentor assists the new employee by sharing their own experiences – such as their experience starting in a remote setting – and answering any questions the new employee may have.  The mentor should schedule regular check-ins with the new employee and follow up on any outstanding aspects of the onboarding process.

3. Make the Experience Personable

Onboarding as a remote employee could come across as not being very personable.  It is different to onboard and work with someone virtually rather than in person.  An organization onboarding a new employee remotely will need to understand and think of ways to still make their onboarding process personable.  

Your organization can create a more personable onboarding by doing the following: 

  1. Send a branded welcome package to the new employee with company swag 
  2. Ensure meetings are all through video platforms (Google Meet, Zoom, etc).   
  3. Set up a virtual team lunch on the first day and/or a virtual happy hour at the end of the employee’s first day

4. Assist the New Hire With Setting Up Their Digital Workspace

It is important that a remote employee has a dedicated home office or workspace even if it’s less traditional than a standard office cubicle. 

If the organization provides company equipment, the equipment must arrive prior to day 1 for the new employee.  On the first day, as indicated on the onboarding checklist, an IT meeting should be scheduled to set up all of the necessary equipment and walk the new employee through the tools and systems.  Being remote, it is extremely important that everything is set up appropriately as the employee cannot just turn around and ask their colleague behind them for guidance.  The success of the remote employee will begin with ensuring they have the necessary tools and equipment to perform their job from day one.

5. Host Virtual Social Events

When working in an office, it’s easier to be social with your colleagues than you would be working remotely, however, that does not always have to be the case.  Organizations can host virtual social events to keep employees engaged during the onboarding process, but virtual social opportunities do not need to stop there.  

Some examples of virtual social events can include lunch with the team, trivia games, happy hours, and more!  These types of events bring co-workers together to generate team bonds and create stronger relationships, similar to relationships as if they were sitting next to each other every day in an office.

6. Set Up Weekly or Bi-Weekly Check-Ins

It is extremely important when starting a new role for the manager to set up weekly check-in meetings throughout the new employee’s first 90 days.  This is important for the manager and new employee to connect while catching up, checking on progress, and ensuring they are comfortable with all of the necessary tools to succeed in the role.  After the first 90 days are complete, the manager can adjust these check-ins to a bi-weekly basis.  Continuing these check-ins allows the new employee to have constant and regularly scheduled calls with their manager.  Being remote does not allow employees easy access to just walk into their manager’s office to ask a question, so these check-ins provide consistent, ongoing, and intentional support.

7. Work With an HR Consultant to Create a Seamless Remote Onboarding Process

If your HR department or organization needs qualified guidance and HR support creating a remote onboarding process, you can work with a talented HR consultant to put together a plan that will help both the employer and employee throughout the onboarding process.  

Red Clover and its HR consultants work together with our clients to ensure a smooth and seamless onboarding process for remote employees.  The team at Red Clover has worked with various clients in creating onboarding processes that are mutually beneficial to the organization’s purpose and the new employee while keeping true to the core values of the organization.  If you are in need of HR support, reach out to us, we would love to hear about your organization and how we can share our experience with you!

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