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Remote Onboarding: How to Successfully Onboard a New Employee Remotely

Maria Petit

We are sure you have been in the position of: I have new remote employees starting soon and I don’t know how to onboard them. First, congratulations on your new staff! Second, don’t worry. We got your back on your remote onboarding!

Yes, onboarding a new employee can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Not only will your new employees be productive sooner, but they’ll also feel like part of the team faster. This blog post will discuss how to onboard a new remote employee successfully. We’ll cover everything from automated systems to setting expectations on day one. 

Let’s get started!

The Process of Remote Onboarding: A Bit of History

Onboarding, or the process of bringing a new employee up to speed, has been around for centuries. In fact, the word onboarding actually comes from the nautical term “coming aboard.” Clever, right?

Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, is about helping new employees feel comfortable in their new environment and ensuring that they have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the workplace

In recent years, as remote work has become more and more popular, remote onboarding has become increasingly common. Nowadays, remote onboarding might seem like a new concept, but it’s actually been around for quite some time. In the early 2000s, companies started to realize the benefits of automating their onboarding processes. 

However, it wasn’t until the 2010s that remote onboarding really took off. This was due to two main factors: 

  • First, the rise of cloud-based applications made it easier than ever to access information and collaborate remotely. 
  • Second, the global recession led to a dramatic increase in remote work.

Today, remote work is more popular than ever before. In fact, back in 2012, a study by Gallup found that already 39% of American workers were working remotely at least some of the time. In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), this trend grew and between 1996 and 2016, the number of businesses offering remote work choices increased by a factor of three, meaning that remote onboarding became an increasingly important part of HR. 

What is Remote Onboarding?

Yet, what exactly is remote onboarding? At its core, remote onboarding is the process of helping new employees adjust to their job and company culture from a distance. 

The goal of remote onboarding is to help the new hire feel comfortable and confident in their role, even if they’re not physically present in the office 

This can include everything from sending them documents and links to orient them with your company’s policies to setting up video call meetings with their team members.  For example, look at LinkedIn’s Virtual Onboarding Program down below!

The Value behind Remote Onboarding

Remote onboarding can actually offer several advantages for both employers and employees. Let’s review its benefits!

Save Money on Office Space and Resources

By onboarding employees remotely, businesses can avoid the expense of renting office space and furnishing it with all the necessary equipment. 

In addition, remote onboarding can help businesses to reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating the need for employees to commute to and from work. 

Finally, by onboarding employees remotely, businesses can save money on travel expenses associated with conducting in-person training sessions. 

Reduce Employee Turnover

Turnover is a huge issue for businesses – it’s expensive, time-consuming, and can be disruptive to team morale. Yet, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, a great onboarding experience will lead to 69% of employees staying with the organization for three years. 

In this case, remote onboarding can also be a helpful tool in keeping employees engaged and connected to the company.

By providing new employees with the resources they need to be successful from the comfort of their own homes, remote onboarding can help ease the transition into a new job and reduce the likelihood of employees feeling overwhelmed or disconnected. 

Increase Employee Productivity and Engagement

A remote onboarding program can also help to increase employee productivity and engagement. 

By ensuring that new employees have all the information they need to be successful in their role, remote onboarding can help employees hit the ground running and avoid any delays or hiccups in their workflow. 

In addition, by providing employees with the opportunity to connect with their team members virtually, remote onboarding can help to foster a sense of camaraderie and collaboration from day one.  

Attract and Retain Top Talent

Remote onboarding can actually help businesses to attract and retain top talent. In today’s competitive job market, offering a remote onboarding program can help businesses to stand out from the crowd and appeal to talented employees who value flexibility and work-life balance. 

What’s more, remote onboarding can also help businesses to keep top talent engaged by providing them with the resources they need to be successful in their role – no matter where they are located.

Remote onboarding eliminates geographical barriers, making it easier remote work with remote employees

With more and more people looking for flexible working arrangements, remote onboarding allows businesses to stand out from the competition and appeal to a wider pool of job seekers. 

Virtual Onboarding Program Case Studies

There are a few different ways to approach remote onboarding. Some companies choose to create bespoke programs that are tailored to their specific needs, while others opt for off-the-shelf solutions. Let’s check some great case studies on remote onboarding!

LinkedIn

Leveraging an engaging remote onboarding experience is essential to LinkedIn’s success. After all, the company relies on its ability to attract and retain top talent from around the world. 

To achieve this, LinkedIn has developed a comprehensive remote onboarding program that helps new employees hit the ground running – no matter where they are located. 

The program begins with a “LinkedIn Welcome Kit” that is sent to new hires before their first day on the job. The kit includes everything from an overview of the company’s culture and values to information about how to get set up on LinkedIn’s internal systems. 

On their first day, new hires are given a virtual tour of LinkedIn’s offices and introduced to their team members via online calls!

Dell

Dell’s remote onboarding program is a great example of how businesses can tailor their remote onboarding experience to the needs of their employees. 

Dell’s remote onboarding program includes a mix of virtual and in-person meetings, which helps to ensure that new employees feel connected to their remote team from the very beginning. 

In addition, Dell’s remote onboarding program includes a dedicated remote work coach who helps new employees to adjust to working remotely and provides them with the resources they need to be successful in their role. 

Tetra Tech

Tetra Tech’s remote onboarding program is a great example of an off-the-shelf solution that can be customized to meet the needs of a remote workforce.

Tetra Tech’s remote onboarding program includes a series of online modules that cover topics such as company culture, remote work best practices, and team communication.  

In addition, the remote onboarding program includes a series of remote team-building activities and a virtual coffee chat with the CEO. 

If you’re thinking of implementing a remote onboarding program, there are a few things to keep in mind. Keep reading as we are telling you everything about it!

How to Successfully Onboard a New Employee Remotely

First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that remote onboarding is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every business is different, and as such, every remote onboarding program should be tailored to the specific needs of the company. 

That being said, there are a few key components that all successful remote onboarding: 

Plan Ahead

The first step to an excellent remote onboarding is to start early! Just as you would with a traditional in-person onboarding program, it is important to have a plan for remote onboarding. 

This means identifying the goals of the remote onboarding program and mapping out the steps that need to be taken to achieve those goals. 

It is also important to consider what resources will be needed to make the remote onboarding program a success. 

Set Up a Remote Workspace

Now, what’s a remote onboarding program without an actual workspace? This workspace should be comfortable and equipped with all of the necessary tools and resources that the remote employee will need to do their job. 

If you’re not sure what type of workspace would be best for your remote employees, we recommend offering a mix of options. The most common remote workspace is Google Workspace. Google Workspace is a set of tools that allows users to communicate and collaborate online. 

It includes a variety of tools, such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and Docs

Google Workspace is easy to use and provides a variety of features that make communication and collaboration easy. For example, users can easily share documents and files, and they can also chat in real-time using Hangouts.

Prepare an Onboarding Schedule

You’ve got the remote workspace set up, it’s time to start preparing an onboarding schedule!

This schedule should include a mix of virtual and in-person meetings, as well as a variety of activities and tasks that will help the remote employee to get acclimated to their new role. 

Always share this schedule with your remote employees to ensure that they know what is expected of them and give them a sense of structure during their first few weeks on the job. 

A typical remote onboarding schedule might include: 

  • A virtual tour of the company 
  • An introduction to the team 
  • A series of remote-based training modules 
  • A virtual coffee chat with the CEO 
  • A remote team-building activity 

Employee Portal

One of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful remote onboarding experience is to create an employee portal. 

This portal should be a one-stop shop for all of the resources that your remote employees need to do their job. 

The employee portal might include: 

An Employee Handbook 

This is where you can include all of the important information about your company, such as the company culture, remote work best practices, and team communication guidelines. 

Include a Company Directory 

A company directory will help your remote employees to put a face to a name and feel more connected to their colleagues. 

An FAQ Section 

An FAQ section is a great way to provide your remote employees with quick and easy answers to common questions. 

Create a Welcome Package

One of the most important things you can do for a new remote employee is to create a welcome package. This welcome package should include everything from an overview of the company culture and values to information about how to get set up on your internal systems. 

You can even ship a physical welcome package to the home of your new remote employees!

In addition, the welcome package should include a list of remote work resources that the new employee can use to help them adjust to working from home. 

Schedule Virtual Training

Having virtual training is a great way to provide remote employees with the information they need to be successful in their new roles. 

This training can cover a variety of topics, such as how to use your company’s internal systems, remote work best practices, and team communication guidelines. 

Schedule Regular Check-Ins

One of the most important aspects of remote onboarding is regular check-ins with the remote employee. These check-ins allow you to see how the remote employee is adjusting to their new role and answer any questions they may have. 

Assign a Welcome Coach

Finally, it is important to provide support throughout the remote onboarding process. This means having someone available to answer questions, provide feedback, and offer assistance when needed. 

The best way to provide support is to assign a remote work coach to each new remote employee. The remote work coach can help the employee to adjust to their new job position.

Bottom-line 

All these tips are great to welcome your new remote staff at any given time, as well don’t ever forget that remote doesn’t mean completely different!

A great onboarding process follows the four C’s: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.

Onboarding remote employees doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these tips, you can set your new remote employees up for success from day one! 

As well, if you’re looking for more information on remote work, be sure to check out our blog posts archive!

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