The proper remote employee onboarding process can make or break an employee's first impression of a company. Not only that, it is what can ultimately lead them to either become a loyal employee and grow within the company or a willy nilly one, that is, haphazard and who will likely leave the second they don't like something.
With so much time and money that goes into a new hire, it's crucial that you have a solid remote onboarding process. Whether you're a small or large company, investing in the proper remote employee onboarding is key! We'll cover how to onboard remote employees, which considerations you need to make, and share with you a handy virtual employee onboarding process template so you don't have to start from scratch.
How do I remote onboard a new employee?
If you're asking, 'how do you onboard a virtual employee?', you're in the right place.
Onboarding a remote employee requires even more attention and care than onboarding an in-office employee. It's not impossible, but remote onboarding does require more effort, especially when trying to integrate new hires into the team and provide the right tailored support to them when they're not in the same room.
So, where do you start? Let's go through the main phases to remote onboard a new employee.
What are the 4 phases of onboarding?
In a remote employee onboarding plan, there are 4 main stages, all of which you'll find in this remote employee onboarding template.
The 4 phases of remote staff onboarding include:
- Pre-onboarding - Create a two-week plan that you'll roll out from the moment the employee accepts their employment offer. This will include planning meeting agendas for the orientation, as well as any remote 1-1 meetings they'll need to have with their direct supervisor and new team.
- Orientation - The remote job onboarding begins here for the employee, even though much of the planning for them happens in the pre-onboarding stage. During orientation, deliver all the necessary information to the employee.
Check out the remote employee onboarding checklist that follows this section to know what information they'll need.
- Initial tasks - Start by assigning a small project to them; if it can involve cross-functional collaboration, even better! This will help them get to know their team more deeply and start building a collaborative relationship with them.
- Ongoing Support - Detail the ways in which you will provide ongoing support. Also, plan how you will collect feedback from them as they make their way through their onboarding experience. Throughout the process, introduce them to the 30-60-90 day plan. This can be used to help them stay focused and on track and allow you to monitor and support them along the way.
Alright, so by now, you've seen the main phases of the remote employee onboarding process, but how do you make remote onboarding fun? It's all about attitude and the way you carry out your remote onboardings. Would you rather send a 100 page PDF document to your new remote employees containing all their onboarding details OR, would you make the experience more interactive?
How to Jazz up the remote onboarding process
Although sending off a PDF doc and having an employee read through it may seem like the easy route, it's a sure way to kick off a poor employee experience. Instead, make the remote onboarding process more interactive; here are a few ways:
- Assign a mentor (senior employee or co-worker) to the new employee through a buddy program. Have them show the new hire the ropes.
- Plan interactive training sessions
- Diversify the employee's onboarding experience so they are excited about what's next and not dreading what's to come.
- Inject the company culture into the onboarding
Remote Employee Onboarding Checklist
Some would say that part of the hiring process fits into the pre-onboarding stage, but for the purpose of this checklist, we will dive right into the steps once the employee has accepted the role.
- Have new hires complete required HR paperwork
- Provide access to the digital workplace: including logins, messaging apps, async meeting tools, etc.(Share this with the employee only on their first day, not before)
- Schedule their orientation and invite them to the calendar event. Send them the meeting agenda so they can prepare ahead of time.
- Send out any tech equipment the employee requires (ie. Laptop, keyboard, etc.)
- Present a personalized remote onboarding plan to them, with a communication orientation (where they'll have access to all relevant tools and learn how to use them).
- Introduce new employees to the team (organize a team bonding activity) so they can get a feel for their new environment and the company culture.
- Share the digital employee handbook with them. Allow them time to review all of this information.
- Send them video training on how to use async daily check-ins, and track goals virtually.
- Plan live trainings with the product and sales team.
- Conduct the initial role-specific training sessions.
- Assign the employee their first project
- Introduce activities to help them build cross-functional team collaboration
- Introduce their 30-60-90 day plan with them and review it at each interval.
- Plan feedback meetings where they can share their remote onboarding experience with management and/or HR so tweaks can be made if needed.
An efficient, purposeful, and well-thought-out remote employee onboarding process is essential to the success of your new hire and your company as a whole. Kick it off right with our remote employee onboarding template.