Adding new members to your remote team? Here’s everything you need to know to execute a perfect remote onboarding. Read on!
What is onboarding?
Onboarding employees is an art that companies need to adapt skillfully for attaining employee satisfaction and achieving greater productivity. Almost all companies and firms strive their best in innovating new techniques in welcoming their new employees to generate a feeling of ease and comfort.
But there is a marked difference in onboarding employees in an office and remote onboarding. The real challenge is to create an atmosphere of harmony on the first day without a face to face interaction with the remote professionals.
Onboarding meaning defined
Onboarding is the process of smoothly getting the new members into their teams, the company’s processes, and culture. It involves a vetted process, quite a bit of handholding, and often the use of the right technology to improvise the overall experience.
Companies need to think of skillful processes to integrate remote employees into the company’s culture. In this article, we will discuss some of the best practices for onboarding remote employees which companies can follow to ensure a greater comfort zone for their employees.
What is remote onboarding?
Do you want to know what is remote onboarding? Remote onboarding is a process in which an organization or a company hires people and employees who can work from a remote location.
The remote onboarding process can be formal as well as informal. The formal online onboarding process can include a series of workshops, training sessions, video calls, and exercises. On the other hand, the informal online onboarding process can be on an ad-hoc basis.
Onboarding remote employees – Challenges
Following are some of the major challenges associated with the process of onboarding team,
- Monotonous process – company onboarding may seem a monotonous task for most managers. This may be because of the time taken for virtual onboarding. Remote onboarding can last as long as three months for many organizations.
- Delivery of the right support – it is important for companies to know how to onboard new employees, otherwise, they may not be able to offer the best onboarding experience. A new team member may expect lots of support from the organization and thus, the process may seem challenging to managers.
- Feeling of isolation – in the process of remote onboarding online, team members may feel isolated and it can reduce the overall efficiency of the organization.
- Lack of engagement – it is important on part of the managers and hiring authorities to use creative new hire orientation ideas so that the onboard manager can offer maximum engagement for the new team members.
- Culture of collaboration – most people don’t understand the actual onboarding process meaning. It is important for the company and the new member to have an adequate conversation before they are onboarded so that they can get to know about the company culture.
How to get the remote workers onboard?
It is important for organizations to have fun onboarding ideas so that it can be helpful for workers onboard. A remote onboarding guide can also help managers while onboarding remote workers. Sample onboarding plan for new employees include,
Pre-onboarding: This includes creating an onboarding plan template, setting up of meetings, and sending of video links.
Start up with small projects: Onboard companies should try to start onboarding experience for remote workers by collaborating on small projects.
Onboarding in cohorts: Remote onboarding in groups is one of the best ways to minimize the effort by completing onboarding paperwork all at once.
Onboarding process meaning
For people who don’t know the onboarding process meaning, it means the process of familiarizing a new employee to the organization as per the onboarding manual.
Remote onboarding activities begin as soon as an offer is made to the employees and until the employee becomes a productive member of an organization. Different organizations have different new employee onboarding ideas. The process includes,
- Collection of remote onboarding form
- Offering employee welcome packet
- Use of new hire paperwork checklist template to complete the hiring process
- new employee orientation games
- Training of new employees by using training new employees template
- Completion of remote onboarding process of virtual employees.
10 steps onboarding guide – a planned remote onboarding process
For a successful remote onboarding, organizations need to document the entire process which would eventually serve as the guide for new hires. It must contain mandatorily the remote employees onboarding checklist, listing the to-do activities to be followed by each professional joining the company.
Some of the key contents of the remote onboarding document must be,
- The pre-requisites to be adhered to before a remote employee starts working include the tax, insurance, and payroll forms, the rules and regulations to be followed.
- Welcome kit with email and user id details of the employee
- The mandatory training details every employee needs to attend
- A summary of the assignments and tasks to be executed by the employees
- The various collaboration and interactive tools each employee can utilize to coordinate with the team
- The assessment process of the tasks executed by each employee to determine the performance matrix
A structured remote employee onboarding process must also contain a training guide or manual with the training details like the training topics, dates, training content, and the mode of training. Training help in scaling remote teams by increasing their competency levels and awareness of the companies policies and procedures.
The remote onboarding document and the training guides must be available online or placed in a sharable location for the employees to access remotely without any trouble.
Did you know? People are now deviating from shifting to metro cities for employment due to the upcoming rise of working remotely. This ensures a reduction in the cost of living leading to an increase in savings and a comfortable lifestyle.
1. A heartwarming welcome to the new team members
While onboarding remote employees, companies must be aware of the fact that the employees need to stay motivated and comfortable during their work tenure. The process needs to start from Day 1 – The Welcome Greet and Induction into the Team. The employees must also be introduced to the existing team to generate a feeling of belonging within the company.
You can arrange a short video conference call with the new hire and the rest of the team to be acquainted with each other. A good approach while onboarding remote team members are to request them to provide a brief introduction of their skill sets, experience, what are their expectations, and motivational goals.
Tips: Never speak with a commanding tone while welcoming a new team member working remotely. The etiquette of onboarding remote workers demands to speak with a soft pleasing tone to gain trust and confidence on the first day.
2. Clear and transparent expectations
One of the essential aspects of remote onboarding is to communicate clear and transparent expectations to the employees. Remote professionals often remain confused about the qualitative and quantitative outcomes expected from them.
To avoid such a dilemma it is better to specify the objectives of the company and the team where the employee has been inducted along with the individual tasks and goals. If there are any mandatory processes or training that need to be attended, it must be specified clearly to the employees.
There must not be ambiguity in communication since we need to remember that we are dealing with employees who are not present in person. Any gaps in the expectations may lead to unnecessary confusion which may hamper the relation in the beginning.
Tips: As one of the best practices for onboarding remote employees, it is good to have FAQs in each document, checklists and training guides for easy reference.
3. Well established infrastructure facilities
As part of the process of onboarding remote team members, it is important to check out the infrastructure facilities existing at the location from where the remote professionals operate. The internet connectivity, communication facilities, and the necessary software installations must be in place to ensure proper collaboration from the beginning.
You can offer to provide proper guidance and support in case of any shortcomings with the facilities adopted by the remote workers. You can even offer to conduct a small test to verify the proper functioning of the collaboration and communication media. In this way, both parties gain confidence in the successful operation of the infrastructure facilities.
Tips: As one of the best practices for onboarding remote employees, you can associate a mentor with a group of newly hired team members. The mentor will eventually guide and support the remote team for any clarifications related to compensation, infrastructure, norms, etc. Mentors are also instrumental in instilling the company’s vision, mission, values, and culture within each employee.
Also read: How to work from home successfully?
4. Impressive welcome note
Professionals working remotely often fear being left out from the team and experience a feeling of disconnect. They nurture a feeling of being ignored or neglected from important decisions. Companies need to eliminate these kinds of apprehensions from the mind of the employees working remotely.
It is therefore advisable that as part of the remote employee onboarding process, organizations should prepare an impressive welcome note addressing the common concerns of remote employees.
It is sometimes observed that the first few weeks of remote onboarding are confusing for professionals since they struggle to be acquainted with the new rules and the team. To avoid such situations, companies must create a friendly and comfortable environment for them through frequent video calls and web conferences.
A fact to remember: For remote employees residing at the same location as the company’s office or in some nearby location, it is recommended to arrange face-to-face interaction on the first day of remote onboarding. Subsequent interactions may follow intermittently depending on the needs. It is one of the powerful tools for successfully onboarding remote workers.
5. A robust training program
An essential part of remote onboarding is scaling remote teams up to the company’s expectations, missions, and values. A robust training program with step-by-step processes of the courses to be undertaken should be prepared by the companies as part of its remote employee’s onboarding process. The program must comprise of the following,
- An induction to the company’s mission, vision, and values
- The Organization structure
- The Team structure
- The norms and regulations of the company
- Technical and Functional training curriculum related to the tasks and assignments
- Details of the different support groups
- Insurance and health premium policies
- Compensation and Performance evaluation processes
Tips: One of the best practices for onboarding remote employees is to ensure the training program is web-based and placed on the company’s internal website. The remote workers can easily access the website and attend the training at their preferred time.
Also Read: Remote working tools | A comprehensive guide
6. Establishment of the communication medium
Remote onboarding generates a common apprehension on the ease and frequency of communication. It is advisable to clear out the confusion at the beginning by specifying the mode and method of communication. Companies must include the communication aspect as one of their essential points in the remote employees onboarding checklist.
It not only would bring in comfort and confidence among the remote employees, but companies would also be able to track the status and progress of the work assigned. Video Conference calls, web conferencing, audio calls, are some of the common communication mediums prevalent among companies working remotely.
In addition to the communication medium, a fixed schedule must be set up every day for interacting and coordinating with the team. It is important to share the progress of the tasks and activities daily. Risks and problems must also be shared daily with the team for any future breach in the deadlines.
A fact to remember: Remote onboarding necessitates the flexibility to contact the team whenever needed during the specified office hours to ensure proper communication and coordination.
7. Build a strong remote office culture
Since remote onboarding does not facilitate frequent face-to-face interactions, companies must strive to build and develop a remote office culture. Normally when employees work together in the office premises, they have the opportunity to greet each other at intervals, move out for a coffee break or participate in various HR-related events and activities.
That fosters a sense of togetherness and unity. The privilege is not enjoyed by people working remotely. Creating an office culture remotely needs to be well thought of since you would be involving people from different locations and sometimes with different cultural backgrounds. Some of the common methods companies can adopt may be,
- Indulge in some quizzes and debates on some interesting trending topics online
- Send out company t-shirts or mementos as a token of welcome and appreciation
- Dedicate a few minutes from your daily work to engage in general chat with the remote employees
- Send out emails to greet employees during any special festive occasions
- Organize family day if it is feasible to create a face to face interaction once or twice in 6 months
Tip: Companies are advised to engage an HR personnel and a mentor to occasionally ring up the employees as part of the remote onboarding process, to enquire about any help and guidance required.
It not only creates a good relationship between the companies and their employees, but the employees are also relieved of any mental stress and anxieties which have a direct impact on their productivity and work quality.
8. Eliminating the feeling of isolation
Remote professionals seldom feel a sense of isolation and loneliness, is working at a different location at home or any coworking space away from the office environment. They may tend to feel disconnected from the usual office culture and interpersonal environment.
A constant disturbance of the fact that they are not part of the broader office atmosphere may hamper their concentration and dedication which is not beneficial for the company. Companies must, therefore, strive to ensure remote employees do not feel isolated by creating a friendly environment.
Other than office work, you can encourage them to share their interests or hobbies across the organization. They may even be part of some tournaments related to sports or some entertainment shows. Exhibitions to showcase their talents and skills can be another way of sharing their inner zeal and enthusiasm on subjects of their interest.
Interesting Fact: A human mind constantly dwelling on work with no breaks tends to follow a declining curve of productivity. Whereas a human mind with occasional breaks from the daily office work tends to be more creative and innovative following an upper inclined curve of productivity.
9. Constant Feedback
Success in remote onboarding depends to a certain extent on a good feedback process. Immediately after the completion of the onboarding process, remote employees must be sent out a feedback form to share their experiences, bad and good points of the process, suggestions for improvement, and additional support required from the company.
It will generate a feeling of understanding and confidence among the remote workers and a belief in the company’s goodwill. A feedback form essentially must consist of the following aspects,
- Ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 on the different dimensions of the remote onboarding process including training effectiveness, welcome kit, induction manuals, company documentation, etc.
- Improvements needed in the remote onboarding process to allow the employees to include the points for betterment
- Request employees to note down the drawbacks of the process which needs further enhancements
- Additional guidance and support required by the employees for induction into the company
Tips: The feedback form must be made available online on the company’s internal website or send across by email to the remote team. This practice must continue even after the onboarding process as a constant feedback mechanism
Also Read: Distributed teams | A complete guide
10. Hear concerns on specific associate or department
Remote professionals often may face hindrance in working comfortably with their peers, supervisor, or the support groups of the company. Companies must not discourage them to voice their opinion instead they must encourage them to share their concerns. They can either appoint a mentor or an HR personnel to hear out their discomfort.
The discomfort may be miscommunication or any lack of understanding which must be sorted out fast to avoid any further engravement of the situation. In certain cases, companies may involve a senior person from the leadership to intervene and handle critical situations.
Allowing a grievance to settle in without any conclusive resolution is dangerous for the company’s health. Hence it is advisable for the companies to devise a grievance redressal policy for the mutual benefit of the employees and the organization.
Interesting fact: Many companies create an online grievance redressal portal for the employees to record their concerns. An ethics counselor or a senior HR personnel address the concerns and sometimes arranges a video conference call for smooth resolution.
11. Constant improvements in the remote onboarding process
A well-defined remote employee onboarding process determines a company’s success while working remotely. But the process needs to undergo a review process once every 6 months for further improvements.
Surveys and feedback can be entertained by remote employees for suggestions and ideas. Senior leadership personnel with considerable years of experience can bring in innovative ideas for further enhancement in the remote onboarding process.
The welcome kit of remote onboarding process especially must be innovative and attractive for that first feeling of acceptance by the employees. You can include a small gift as a token of welcome with a personalized card.
Handing over the company’s notebook or diary or a pen can also be a way of welcoming the new employees. Likewise, companies must deliberate on new ideas and techniques to engage the employees from the first day.
Improvising web and online training materials to make it more interactive and interesting must be an ongoing process. New modes of training are now coming up in the digital era which must be genuinely explored and adopted by the companies.
Important facts: Right content development for training is a certain driving factor for effective training management. In the modern era, Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, Chatbots, Blockchain, and Machine Learning are gaining prominence.
Many employees judge a company’s intellectuality and future growth on the training content. Hence companies must have a good learning and training department or personnel for researching the modern advanced topics and provide employees the opportunities to build their competencies.
Remote onboarding process checklist
Most people who want to join remote working do not know the meaning of onboarding best practices checklist. The manager onboarding checklist helps in making the process of onboarding easier for new employees as well as the organization. The new hire employee checklist includes,
- Sending an email regarding new hire onboarding survey questions
- Preparing new employee as per the office and the organizational culture
- Welcoming of the new employee as per new employee welcome packet template
- HR documentation process as per HR startup checklist
- Virtual meeting with managers
- Completion of the onboarding process by offering hiring packets for new employees.
Onboarding process template
A thoughtful onboarding process by using a new employee onboarding checklist template can be helpful in retaining the employee for a longer duration. It is important for managers to use new employee onboarding template as it helps in the completion of each process with maximum ease.
Following are the checklist included in an onboarding template,
- Starting off with pre onboarding process
- Introduction of remote workers to other team members
- Familiarizing the new employee to the company culture and working process
- Providing necessary training
- Inclusion of new feedback
- Establishment of personal goals
- Guiding the new employee through their first 90-days.
Companies that want to hire remote employees should have knowledge about how to onboard a new hire and the paperwork involved. It is important for an organization to go through a new hire paperwork template for a smooth onboarding. Following are the major paperwork needed on part of managers,
- Preparation of employee contract
- Preparation of employment forms as required by the law
- Employee handbook acknowledgment forms
- Employee benefits documents
- Obtaining personal information of employees for emergencies.
Managers should be well-equipped with all this paperwork to ensure a safe and best onboarding process.
Onboarding remote employees may seem a challenging task, especially when it comes to the documentation process. But, it is important for employers to be well-equipped with onboarding documents if they want to go for a smooth onboarding process. Major onboarding documents include,
- Job offer email or letter
- W-4 and W-9 employment forms
- Signature on the internal form of organization
- Non-compete agreement
- Non-disclosure agreement
- Employee invitation forms
- Employee handbook
- drug/alcohol test consent agreement
- Job analysis forms
- Confidentiality and security agreements
- Employee benefit documents like life insurance, retirement plan
- Employees personal data document that may contain emergency contact details and medical history.
Top new employee checklist
A new employee checklist template can help managers and HR to make sure that they are covering all necessary steps to prepare for the smooth onboarding of the new employee. The employment checklist template can help managers no matter if they are hiring their first employee or 100th employee.
The new employee checklist can offer a formal onboarding plan. Failure at formalizing the onboarding plan can spell disaster to your organization. The formal new hire onboarding checklist can also support new employees as they will know what they have to do as per the culture of the organization.
New employee checklist
As per an employee onboarding template, employees checklist should include,
- Conducting a general job orientation on the first day
- Review of first-week tasks
- Review of complete company policy
- Explanation of company’s policies and benefits offered
- Offering new employee welcome packet
- Reviewing of position information
- Offering initial assignment on week 1
- Review of performance and goals for the first week
- Meeting with colleagues
- Invitation of a new employee to the company’s social media platforms
- Regular feedback till the first three months
- Scheduling of regular meetings to ensure that employees remain engaged.
- Informal performance report after the first three months
Work from home checklist
The creative onboarding ideas also include making use of the work from home checklist. Following are the major points that can help the managers in onboarding of new employees,
- Checklist for tools
- Communication tools like Microsoft teams
- Collaboration tools
- Project management tools.
- Checklist for security measures: like changing of passwords, use of VPN, and other security measures.
- Checklist for communication like response time, use of communication channels, and collaboration in real-time.
- Checklist for expectations like meeting for performance review, providing project updates, sticking to a deadline.
- Checklist for guidance that may include tactics for maintaining productivity.
Employee onboarding checklist
Managers can look for different new employee orientation packet template to get details about the employee onboarding checklist. Following are the steps that managers need to include in their new employee onboarding checklist,
- Submission of job requisition letter in the HR department
- Preparation of new hire workbook
- Procurement of devices and equipment for new employees
- Setting up of accounts and logins
- Scheduling of new hire orientation
- Sending of hire packet for new employees
- Performing a tour for the employee to know about company culture
- Assigning a peer mentor
- Sending a new employee welcome mail
- Scheduling of meeting with CEO
Also Read: Trust remote teams | A comprehensive guide
Onboarding checklist template
The use of an onboarding process template can be highly beneficial for HR managers as well as the company as a whole. The new employee onboarding checklist in the form of an onboarding template can be helpful in making the onboarding process smooth and hassle-free. The template includes,
Before the first day,
- Accounts and tools
- Workstation and hardware
- Guides and reading material
On the first day,
- Team introduction
- Virtual office tour
- 1-on-1 with the supervisor and the mentor
- Team lunch for better engagement
During the first week,
- First project
- Long-term goals and expectations
- Check-in meetings
New employee training checklist
If you are thinking about hiring new employees to your organization, the new employee training checklist is highly important. The new employee training checklist will include the following details,
- Open communication before the first day
- Company overview training that can include information about the history and mission of the company.
- Company policy training that can include everything that new employee need to know about the company
- Benefit package training that can include information about health insurance plans, flexible working hour options, and use of training and development options.
- Role specific training as per the need of the employee
- IT setup training for candidates with IT background jobs
IT onboarding checklist
The new hire IT checklist is a bit different as compared to the regular employee onboarding checklist. The IT onboarding checklist included,
- Information about the new hire like name, address, job title, and department
- Ordering of new equipment for a new employee like computer, laptop, mouse
- Determination of tools that new hire will use like company email, internal messaging
- Getting the equipment setup for the new employee
- Meetings to help new hires. This can include information about use of email and the company’s messaging platform.
- Explanation about judicious use of company’s equipment and software.
New hire checklist for managers
A new hire checklist template for managers can help managers as well as the new employee in understanding the needs as well as the company culture. The new hire checklist for managers includes the following points,
- Orientation outline for the new employee
- Information about employment contracts like job title, schedule, salary, benefits, etc.
- Legal requirements like W-4 forms, state tax forms, and anti-harassment documents
- The signing of company requirement documents like non-disclosure agreement and job analysis forms
- General information about the company like restroom, mailroom, and cafeteria.
- Information about benefits packages like life and health insurance, mobile plan, and disability insurance
Onboarding checklist template
An employee onboarding checklist is a must for all types of organizations. No doubt different companies may follow the different onboard definition, but the general onboarding checklist template included the following points,
- Employee biodata that can include name, post, and qualification of the employee
- Routine tasks and goals for the new employee
- Proper feedback mechanism by managers as well as team leads
- Complete paperwork for a hassle-free onboarding
- Preparation of employee’s workstation
- Sharing of required knowledge and information about the company
- Draft of onboarding plan to be shared with other employees
- Completion of onboarding
Also Read: Team communication | A complete guide
Employee welcome packet
A new hire welcome packet is also called an onboarding packet. The kit or the package is designed in such a way that it can make the hire feel like that is an indispensable part of the organization. They may also feel a part of the team and they may get the needed boost and motivation to perform to the best of their abilities.
Although this may seem a non-essential part, in the long run, your employee will appreciate the gesture. The use of these types of employment check list can also help in better levels of employee retention for an organization.
New hire welcome packet
The new hire welcome packet contains a list of items that a new employee may need at the new job. Freebies and welcome gifts are given on the first day of the office. It can include items like,
- Handwritten welcome letters
- Coffee mugs
- T-Shirt in case of an event company
- Water bottle so that the new employee can stay hydrated
- Employee handbook
- Nameplates that can be kept on the desk
- Glasses in case of an employee has to work for long hours on digital devices
- Office supplies
- Facemask in the present condition
- Kindle/other digital devices
New employee welcome packet template
The new hire packet template can help the employee understanding the company in a better way. It can also help the employee in getting acquainted with the new role. The welcome package can be sent to the new employee before they start their work to show that you are excited about their arrival. The new employee welcome packet template that you can use include,
- Copy of new hire email and press release
- CEO welcome letter
- Paperwork and forms for the new employee
- Information about culture and strategy of the brand
- Information about management and team culture
- Employee handbook
Google onboarding process – case study
Google onboarding process is a simple process that involves the introduction of employees to the expectation, skills, knowledge, and culture of the company. The aspects of Google onboarding new employees are quite famous and many companies around the world are using the process to date. The onboarding step by Google is pretty simple. It includes,
- Having a discussion about roles and responsibilities
- Match the new hire with a peer buddy
- Helping the new employee to build a social network
- Setting up onboard check-ins once every month for the first six month
- Encouragement of open dialogue
Top software offerings to improve productivity
When looking for onboarding ideas, it is also important to have software that can help remote employees to improve productivity.
- unremot virtual watercooler: This is a tool by unremot that aids casual, random social interactions among employees, leading to increased team bonding, belongingness, and productivity.
- Trello: This is a collaborative platform that increases efficiency and productivity.
- On the clock: this is an online time-tracking tool that can help managers know about the working hours of employees
- Basecamp: This is a software tool for product management.
- SaneBox: SaneBox is an AI-based email management tool
What does onboard mean?
Most people don’t know what does onboard mean. This is a simple process that involves effectively integrating employees into a new organization and familiarizing them with the culture and the working of the organization. The process helps employees as well as managers and improves the productivity of the organization.
How long does onboarding take?
Different companies may have different onboarding duration. But, as per general consensus among HR professionals, onboarding should take at least three months for an employee. But, much research suggests that companies can increase the retention of employees by extension of the onboarding process through the first year of joining of employees.
What is an onboarding process?
Onboarding is a process that is related to the Human resources industry. It refers to the process of introducing a newly hired employee into an organization. It is an important process that involves helping employees in understanding their new position and job requirement.
How to onboard a new employee?
To onboard a new employee, managers can use different onboarding tips. Many onboarding process checklists are available on the web that can help managers onboard new employees. It is important for HR managers to explain every little detail to the employees and inform the new employee about their jobs and responsibilities.
The emerging popularity of remote working speaks about its importance and advantages among many professionals in different parts of the world. But to ensure its success majorly depends on both the employees and the companies. Remote onboarding is one such important driving factor that determines the success of working remotely.