Vedran Ismaili Founder & CEO - chatbot builder, optimist and rookie skateboarder.

How to Onboard a Remote Employee

3 min read

Onboarding new hires is increasingly important in the workplace – from the hottest startups to more established companies, everyone is talking about it!

The general idea is unanimously accepted – give your new hires the best possible start. That translates into making the new hires experience amazing from when the sign their contract to several weeks and even months after their first day. Even though most companies understand the importance of onboarding the actual execution and ambition of the onboarding differs a lot. Some only have a checklist and other just an intro week. Most companies still have a long way to go when it comes to designing a process that maximizes employee engagement and effectiveness.

Onboarding remote employees amplifies the need to design a well-thought-out employee onboarding. It is unrealistic to think the hiring manager will be able to walk the new hire around the office and set up their desk. So how do you make sure to avoid a remote employee from feeling left out?

What are some best practices that help to maintain the same involvement and inclusion for a new hire? Below are a few points that are good to keep in mind when it comes to designing a good employee onboarding for remote hires.

Don’t slack on prepping for their start

Just like one prepares for a welcome of a new hire so should one prepare for a remote employee’s first day. Make sure to share detailed communication ahead of their first day, gather essential information and making sure managers welcome them ahead of their first day.

Paperwork

It’s hard to escape the paperwork! This is an essential part of hiring a new employee. To make the processes simpler one can use services like DocuSign or HelloSign. It makes the processes smoother and makes it easier to make sure that things actually get signed in time. There are several other services that help one do the same thing but we can really recommend digitalizing the paperwork, it will save you a ton of time.

Equipment

In most cases, you will also need to make sure to provide equipment to your newly hired remote employee, whether it is a cell phone, computer or something else. Just like it is important for an in-office employee to have their equipment on their first day, the same is true for a remote hire. Having them receive their equipment after there first day shouldn’t be seen any more ok than it is for a new hire at the office. To make sure to avoid that streamline the processes internally and make sure to send the things a bit in advance so shipping doesn’t cause any hiccups

Company Swag

Putting together a nice welcome package is actually even more essential for remote hires since it really enables you to communicate excitement, culture and care. This is the fun part where you can be creative and include personalized notes make the new hire feel a part of the team.

Face Time with the team

Remote employees aren’t in the office as much as the rest of the team so they are missing crucial aspects of their team’s culture, the chit-chat, and spontaneous discussions. This also makes it hard to notice if they are drifting away since you don’t usually interact with them as much as with other team members in the office. It is important to make sure to communicate regularly with the remote hires and sure to use video when it comes to meeting and other social parts.

Team Meetings / All-hands

Make sure to set the right expectations from the beginning. Even though they may be a remote hire they should be expected to participate in important team meetings as well as company and division wide all-hands meetings. Make sure to have a good video-conferencing tool, something that is simple, reliable and mobile friendly.

One-on-ones

Regular one-on-ones are essential even though the employee is working remote. It will give both the employee and the manager the opportunity to connect, get to know each other and even create a feeling of belonging if done well. These regulare conversations will break down the distance that may exist between the employee and the manager. Same principle here, use a simple, mobile friendly video conferencing tool.

Invite the remote employee to office events

Make sure to invite the remote hire when it’s time to grab a cup of coffee, eat birthday cake or even for lunch if it works with the time zones. The more of these events one can make sure to have with the remote hire the stronger the bond will be between the members of the team and the remote hire.

Remote, but still top of mind

By making a conscious effort to show the remote employee they are a part of the team even though they are out of the office you will increase engagement and crate a stronger bond between them, the company and their team member. Reach out to them personally every once in a while just to check how everything is going. The regulare check-ins open up the door for the employee to feel like they can trust and share their thoughts and they themselves will be less hesitant to reach out if they need to do so.

Vedran Ismaili Founder & CEO - chatbot builder, optimist and rookie skateboarder.