Esevel - remote onboarding best practices

8 Effective Remote Onboarding Practices for New Hires

But if designing an onboarding flow is hard, it is even tougher for remote companies.

Without the traditional in-person welcome, batched orientation, IT training and lunch with their managers, how does HR ensure employees are onboarded well?

Why is proper onboarding for remote employees important?

The unfortunate fact is that a poor onboarding employee experience often leads to confusion and stress at the start of a new employee’s career. This in turn causes unnecessary tension and even makes them wonder if they made the right choice in employers! They might jump to premature conclusions and the initial belief could permeate through and magnify subsequent negative experiences.

This is especially the case for work-from-home employees, as they lack the in-person interactions that can help convince them otherwise.

In contrast,  a good remote onboarding program helps a new employee transition into the new work environment more seamlessly. With the right training, they’ll be able to learn how the different processes and functions in the company work. They won’t be left feeling overwhelmed or stuck when they do not know how to proceed with problems.

So whether your company has always done onboarded new hires remotely, or you’ve just switched over to remote work, here are 5 effective remote onboarding best practices for new hires!

8 Effective remote onboarding practices for new hires

1. Set up a proper onboarding structure

Structures are what keeps any system from descending into chaos.

One must-have practice is to come up with a detailed guide or a checklist to keep track of the onboarding progress.

You’ll want to ensure that every onboarding tasks from introduction videos, and sending out the employee handbook to how to handle different processes such as leave application is covered. Don’t miss out little items, such as how to set up Microsoft Outlook account at home or how to access the company database.

It is also important to think carefully about how long employees need for their onboarding. It could take 2 weeks (as in the case of GitLab) to a month.

Within that period of time, allow the employee to familiarize themselves and learn as much as they can without the stress of work responsibilities. You can even set up training videos, simulations of calls with clients, or a list of courses they could take. Easing them into the process is a better way to get them started, rather than giving them deadlines from the start.

2. A welcome package

Esevel - remote onboarding best practices

For a holistic experience, remember to include a work laptop (with suitable accessories), reading materials from HR and swag in your welcome package.

While laptops are clearly essential, swag represents the fun part of being part of your company. Other than the requisite company t-shirt or mug, maybe you could include a thoughtful gift, like coffee capsules or even a little green plant. It’s a meaningful way to show employees that you care about them.

One reading material you’d want to include is the onboarding agenda. This way, new hires can be prepared when they start their first day. On that note, do also send out welcome packages once the hiring process is complete, before their first day of work. Giving a new employee a few days to prep helps them get ready and reduces any first-day jitters!

3. Assign a welcome buddy

A huge downside of remote working is the lack of organic interactions among colleagues. It is especially hard on new employees who do not know anyone. A great remote onboarding practice is therefore to assign a welcome buddy for each new hire.

This employee can be their go-to person to show the ropes on how to get a steady footing in the company. It’d be a plus if the buddy is someone who works within the same team, or someone they’ll work closely with. This will help the new employee uncover company dynamics faster than having to figure it out themselves.

Do make sure that the assigned buddy should not have too much on their plate to take on this role. The last thing a new employee need is a grumpy colleague who did not “sign up for this” in the first place. Get someone who would be happy to show them the ropes!

4. Have regular check ins

One of the hardest things to do as a manager in a remote setting is to check up on your new hires. Without face to face interactions, it is diffiult to tell how they’re actually feeling or what their progress is.

A great remote onboarding practice is to schedule regular check-ins with your new hires. Set aside an hour once a week, to have a one on one “no-agenda” call with them. Give them a safe space to be able to relay the difficulties they may be facing at work, or even their wins.

From there, as a manager, you’ll be able to gauge what are their struggles and strengths are, and guide them accordingly.

Establishing a good relationship with your new hires is an important step to ensuring a smooth onboarding process. It is also a great way to keep up the morale of the team as a whole.

5. Create a remote-friendly culture

6. Leverage interactive digital platforms

For instance, setting up a dedicated Slack channel for new hires allows them to ask questions and interact with each other and the wider team in a more informal setting. Integrating these tools into the onboarding process not only familiarizes them with essential work tools but also encourages active participation and a sense of belonging.

7. Personalized learning paths

Customize learning and development paths for each new hire based on their role and career aspirations. This approach can include a mix of online courses, webinars, and mentorship programs.

By providing access to a learning management system (LMS) where employees can choose courses relevant to their roles and interests, you help them feel more in control of their growth. Personalized learning paths demonstrate that the company invests in their professional development, which is crucial for long-term engagement and job satisfaction.

8. Feedback and improvement loop

Your team needs to establish a structured feedback mechanism where new hires can share their onboarding experiences. This could be in the form of regular surveys or feedback sessions. Use this information to improve the onboarding process continuously. Acknowledging and acting on feedback not only enhances the onboarding experience for future hires but also shows that the organization values employee input and is committed to continuous improvement.

Start on these practices today!

While it is never easy to design an onboarding flow, incorporating these practices within your current flow should help improve your new joiners’ experience.

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