A Comprehensive Guide to Onboarding Remote Employees

December 12, 2023

As businesses continue to adapt and change, remote work has shown us that it is here to stay. For many HR departments, this way of working and onboarding has already become a standard practice, but for others, this means entering an uncharted territory. A 2022 study performed by OwlLabs reported that 16% of companies worldwide are fully remote. It is now imperative for HR professionals to stay ahead of the game and familiarize themselves with how to effectively onboard new remote employees. The faster and more practical the approach, the greater the likelihood that your new employee will integrate quickly and seamlessly into your team.

Here are seven steps your HR department can use to efficiently onboard new hires remotely.

7 Steps to help onboard remote employees efficiently

1. Create the best first day

First, start off on a positive note. Show new hires a compilation of all the company’s information that has been gathered and learned over time. Give them access to past announcements, goals, activities, updates, feedback and awards. We recommend providing them with the space and opportunity to learn more about your organization on their own before scheduling a formal meeting. Make material easily accessible by creating online learning and development courses.

2. Present the company’s handbook and highlight the key objectives

Next, guide employees through the handbook by focusing on your mission, pillars, values and key objectives. Ensure they can access this later for them to have it as a reference. Use their feedback to improve future editions.

3. Review employee’s responsibilities and expected work output

Create and share a document that lists all the responsibilities that will be required for the new hire’s role. This can be a mix of:

  • Quantitative data (measurable objectives such as scores, ratings, time and performance)
  • Qualitative data (subjective aspects like feedback, comments, impressions and stories)

These responsibilities are likely to evolve with the job over time. Measure whether employees are meeting or exceeding their requirements by tracking their long-term performance.

4. Introduce new hires to the rest of the team

The best option to complete this step is through a group video call. Keep in mind that some employees will naturally be more outgoing, while others may be more reserved. Implement this strategy as soon as possible so that new hires can begin to make connections and know who to rely on throughout their adaptation.

5. Consider implementing a buddy system

Context is a key element when it comes to remote onboarding. The role of a workplace buddy is to help new hires learn more about the company and get to know someone on a different team. This provides them with a network and can help boost their sense of belonging, which can lead to increased productivity.

6. Schedule regular follow-ups

Remote workers tend to struggle more when it comes to asking for help as they cannot rely on spontaneous, in-person interactions. Your overall objective will be to reduce the time it takes to fully onboard new employees, which means removing roadblocks fast. There are two types of follow-ups you can schedule:

  • Synchronous (time-sensitive and dependent on immediate responses via emails, calls and video conferencing)
  • Asynchronous (non-time-based responses that can be sent and received any time of day)

7. Onboard remote employees with Talentia’s Talent Acquisition software

Enhance the onboarding experience for remote workers and facilitate smoother transitions with Talentia’s complete HCM software solution. Provide new hires with access to key information within the employee portal, connect them to their teams and assign dedicated pathways to help them thrive and succeed.