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10 Tips on Onboarding Remote Employees: Remote Onboarding Best Practices

Onboarding Remote Employees

Although we all agree that remote work settings have a lot of benefits for both the organization and the employees, one of the worst parts about it is the onboarding process. Employee onboarding is a hustle without being virtual in the first place, and remote onboarding only enhances the hardships.  

It’s not a surprise that remote employees have different needs, and it’s the same with virtual onboarding.

Whether you’re working in a hybrid setting or a completely remote one, we are sure onboarding remote employees is something you should work on. Your virtual new hires need proper onboarding experience as much as your office workers, and we’re here to help you ease the virtual onboarding process!  

You may ask “Why bother with all of this when you can send a welcome e-mail and move on?” and boy, wouldn’t you be wrong!

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A well-structured employee onboarding process will help the new blood in your organization to feel a part of the team and motivate them to work for your organization. First impressions matter in all aspects of life, including your remote onboarding process!

Imagine having a poor virtual onboarding process in the job you were once excited to start. Afterall, onboarding remote employees is tricky. Your workload looks stressful, your teammates make you feel unwelcome, and you don’t feel motivated to join this type of workplace culture.

We guess that you’d think you made the wrong choice by choosing this position over another, right? So, you don’t want that for your new hires. Don’t want that at all!  

If you want to hold onto that great talent your HR team discovered and decrease the chances of they will leave, start planning your virtual onboarding process.

It may seem like a lot of work, but we’re here to talk about the best practices for onboarding remote employees and how you can use technology to your advantage. Let’s start!  

Before the onboarding process:

Before we go on with our 10 tips on onboarding remote employees, there are some preboarding steps we recommend considering. Preboarding refers to the last step before the onboarding process starts where you can get things ready for your new hires. Let’s check out our preboarding tips!

Remote onboarding best practices

Send a welcome package 

You may not be able to see your new employee face to face –like at all, but a welcome pack can get it done for you.

Everybody loves free knick-knacks, and sending a fun package that shows your company culture will show your new employee they made the right choice and are ready to join the team.

Also, we’re almost 100% positive that they will post their new merch on their social media, which shows everyone how great it is to work with your organization!  

The employee welcome kit could include goodies such as: 

  • A welcome letter or video from the CEO and the team 
  • Company swag including mugs, sweatshirts, t-shirts, pens, etc.  
  • A fun gift for their workspace 
  • A notebook with your company logo 
  • A virtual onboarding agenda to follow 

Find a way to share company culture  

When virtual onboarding remote employees, it’s important to sprinkle some bits of company culture and values into their virtual experience, ensuring they really become members of the culture.

Now, sharing company culture and values in a remote setting may sound like trying to teach a fish to ride a bicycle. But we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves. 

Assuming you’ve already taken our advice and sent the welcome package now it’s time to host a virtual “Culture 101” session, where you provide remote employees with comprehensive information about your company’s culture, including its core values, mission, and vision.

We recommend doing this through a series of engaging presentations, videos, and written materials.  

You must remember that sharing company culture and values remotely may require a little creativity, but with the right mix of quirkiness and inclusiveness, our new remote employees will feel like part of the family in no time!

Assign some pre-onboarding tasks 

We’re not talking about bombarding your new employees during their first day of work with harsh tasks. The first day should feel like a breeze, and it should be all about smoothing out the transition process.

But as a part of your virtual onboarding, you can assign some easy tasks such as filling out HR forms, watching a video about your organization, or setting up accounts for collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams or Slack.  

Not only will assigning pre-onboarding tasks ease out the remote onboarding process, but also will give your new hire some confidence and motivation to start on the real thing.  

10 Tips for Onboarding Remote Employees

Now that we’re ready for the big day, let’s talk about the first day of remote onboarding. The first day of virtual onboarding sets the foundation for a new employee’s journey with your company.

It is a pivotal moment where you should make sure they feel welcomed, informed, and prepared for their remote work experience. That’s why you need to make sure everything goes as planned and your new hire starts their journey with high motivation.

1. Come up with creative ways to welcome remote employees 

Creating a warm and inclusive environment is essential even in a virtual setting. You should start the day by extending a warm welcome to your new hire through a personalized email or video message from the team.

Share enthusiasm about their joining the company and express excitement about their contributions. Team members can send LinkedIn invites beforehand to give the impression that they’ve heard about the new hire and wait for them to join the team. 

2. Give an overview of the company 

Your new employee will probably do their research and come prepared about the company with the information you gave them beforehand, but it’s always a good idea to give a better understanding by providing them with an overview of your mission, vision, and values.

You can share information about the company’s history, culture, and any significant achievements or milestones. Make sure to highlight the unique aspects of your company that make it a great place to work!  

3. Discuss remote work policies and expectations 

It’s easy to get carried away with workload and expectations in a remote work setting. We recommend talking about what you expect from your new hire, their job definition, and reoccurring responsibilities for a clear start. It’s also important to hear what they think about their role and discuss the possibilities awaiting them.  

Remote work guidelines can change from company to company, so you should explain your work schedule, expected work hours and availability.

Give information about the communication and collaboration tools you use for daily tasks and discuss any specific remote work policies, such as time tracking, reporting structures, and performance evaluation processes.  

Remote employee onboarding statistics

4. Training and Development 

Your remote employees might need more training than you anticipated initially. Afterall, each organization utilizes different tools from each other, and new hires cannot be expected to be familiar with all of them.

Preparing a training plan for your new hires is an essential part of the virtual onboarding process. When you’re onboarding remote employees, you can choose one member of every team to talk about their responsibilities and teach new teammates the tools their team use.  

One of the best ways to handle training when onboarding remote employees is to prepare guides about your built-in technology and tools for your new hire to read. You can also create pop quizzes to test their knowledge about the technology they will use for a little fun.

5. Assign mentors or buddies 

Navigating the remote work landscape can sometimes feel like exploring uncharted territories alone. That’s why we believe in the power of mentorship and buddy systems to guide you through the virtual wilderness and help you thrive. 

Assigning a mentor or buddy will help your new hire to feel at ease in their new role. A buddy is an experienced remote employee who has conquered remote work challenges. Buddies should be your new hire’s go-to person for any questions, concerns, or virtual conundrums that may arise.  

The mentor or buddy system isn’t just about professional guidance; it’s also about fostering connections and building a support network.

The buddy of your new hire should provide insights into the company culture, introduce them to key team members, and even share amusing virtual office anecdotes to lighten the virtual mood. 

6. Use employee onboarding software

For a seamless transition of your new hire, we recommend using all the tools available to you. Specifically onboarding technology. There are countless employee onboarding software choices out there, and using one will ease the process of onboarding remote employees.

Teamflect

If you’re using Microsoft Teams, Teamflect is the best choice for employee onboarding software. Choosing the right employee onboarding software can be a hassle, but if we’re talking about being easy to navigate and having seamless Microsoft Teams integration, you can’t find a better option than Teamflect.  

two employees conduct online meeting for onboarding remote employees

Teamflect is different from its competitors as being an all-in-one performance management software with different functionalities from 360-degree feedback to recognitions. You can use Teamflect in all aspects of your organization for a seamless HR management experience. Some key features of Teamflect are: 

Use the best onboarding platform for Microsoft Teams!
No sign-up required.
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7. Plan virtual team building activities

It can be hard to feel like you’re a part of the team as a remote new hire. That’s why we recommend planning some virtual team building activities such as virtual happy hour and playing online games for the first week of your new employee.

There are plenty of online games that can be played as a group, from virtual trivia nights to collaborative escape rooms and everything in between.

These games not only provide a fun and interactive way to bond with your teammates but also create a space to start practicing teamwork, problem-solving, and communication skills.

8. Check-in with them regularly

Regularly checking in with your new hires is important, especially in the first 90 days. The first 90 days of an employee is the part where they learn about their role, settle in with your company and become ready to be a permanent part of the team.

Our recommendation would be to hold 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day performance reviews to see if you’re new hire is performing, adapting and growing in their role.

You can also hold weekly one-on-one meetings with your new employee for a length of time to listen to possible problems, check if everything’s going fine, and just get to know them better. Having these regular meetings will ensure everybody’s on the same page and there are no difficulties in the virtual onboarding process.

Positive effects of communication and engagement

9. Encourage self-care and work-life balance

One of the biggest challenges of working from home could be the difficulty of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You should create a plan where you can encourage self-care time and work-life balance for your new hires, especially if your organization is working on a full-time remote schedule.

Share resources and tips on remote work best practices to help the new employee adjust to their new routine effectively.

As we mentioned in the set clear expectations part, it’s essential to emphasize expected working hours and talking about clear boundaries about response times for a healthy work-life balance.

Remind your new employees that taking care of their physical, mental, and emotional well-being is not only important but necessary for their long-term success. Encourage activities such as regular exercise, mindfulness practices, and hobbies that bring them joy.

10. Create room for growth

Our last tip for onboarding remote employees is to give your new hires a space to grow professionally where they can see what is waiting for them in the long run.

Make sure to create a roadmap with goals and personal OKRs for your new employee during the first month period. Discuss the role and responsibility that comes with their role together and explain how your new employee can develop professionally while also contributing to the company goals.

OKRs are one of the best ways to set and measure objectives since they give a sense of direction and purpose for both employees and teams.

Encourage your new hires to set specific objectives they would like to achieve in their role, such as mastering a new skill, completing a certification, or taking on additional responsibilities.

Conclusion

As our closing words, we must remind you: working remotely might come with its own challenges, but it is an effective, productive, and low-cost work setting.

With the right arrangements and approach, you can make your employees feel no less than they would in a fun, face-to-face office.

Our last suggestion is to implement employee onboarding software for a smoother remote onboarding experience and try to enjoy the first days of your new employee. If you’re interested in the best onboarding software for Microsoft Teams, you can:

FAQ

What to expect for remote onboarding?

Remote onboarding process could involve a virtual orientation, setting up necessary tools and communication channels, attending virtual meetings, accessing documentation and training materials, potentially having a remote mentor, participating in team building activities, and having regular check-ins.

How do I prepare for remote onboarding?

We recommend having a stable internet connection and a suitable device. Test your audio and video settings beforehand, and review any pre-onboarding materials or documentation provided by your managers. Try to stay active during the remote onboarding process and ask questions when you need to.

How can I make my virtual onboarding better?

You should actively participate and engage in virtual meetings and training sessions during virtual onboarding. Don’t miss any opportunities to connect with colleagues through virtual team-building activities. Communicate openly with your manager and team members, asking questions and seeking clarity.

What do you think is the biggest challenge when it comes to remote onboarding?

We think the worst part of remote onboarding is the lack of good old face-to-face communication. Remote work and onboarding make it more difficult to create personal connections, build relationships, and get a true sense of the company culture.

Written by Ezgi Cullu

Ezgi is a content writer and HR enthusiast working in Teamflect. Her goal is to provide creative uptakes on HR trends all over the world as a Gen-Z employee.

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