14 things to think about when onboarding remote employees

Remote is not just a trend but it is here to stay, shows a 2019 research released by Buffer. One of the benefits for organizations is that the remote workforce saves them more money according to a study done by the Global Workfore Analytics. With the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is more likely we will see more organizations putting tools and processes in place for working and hiring remote employees. 

The downside many remote workers experience is communication and collaboration. 17% of remote workers say that these are their biggest struggles. How to tackle that from the start? Put a robust and structured process in place! You can start by reviewing the current processes you have in place and adjust them where necessary. Although onboarding new hires completely remote might not be something you are used to, it is still about creating an outstanding, yet personal, onboarding program. This blog will provide you with 14 tips about how to improve your onboarding program for remote employees.

The first day remote

It’s needless to say, how you welcome new employees depends on your organization's culture, budget, and creative possibilities. But it is important to have a plan in place for their first day and the upcoming weeks. Especially for those people who are completely new to working remotely, things can feel a bit awkward and strange at the start. Make sure that your organization communicates appreciation all the way through onboarding, so your new hires stay enthusiastic and will perform at their best.

Since you need to host your complete onboarding program online, things quickly might feel impersonal. Therefore your organization, or better human resources, should invest a lot of time and effort into making sure the onboarding stays as personal as possible. We have composed a few tips to help you onboard remote new hires in a personal way.

  • Schedule a video call between the manager and the new hire to welcome her/him and do the first onboarding.
  • Show your appreciation by sending flowers, a goodie bag with company swag, a personal note or a team picture. Something that is in line with your organization's culture.
  • Let your new employee schedule virtual coffee dates with the key persons in your organization and for their role.
  • Schedule a meeting with IT to set up all software.
  • Schedule training sessions so new hires that are not yet familiar with all software can get up to speed.
  • Assign a buddy that checks in on the new remote hire on a regular basis to see how she/he is doing and transfer know-how the organization's culture and values.
  • And last, HR can schedule a catch-up call after the first week to check in and explain how, for instance, performance reviews are done. 

How you achieve a personal and fun approach can be read in this blog.


Immersing employees in the company’s culture

Onboarding is a process that never stops. Since you try to keep building an engaging relationship between your organization and it's remote employees you might need to make even more effort compared to a normal company. 

Start with the creation of a 30, 60 and 90-day plan for new hires, so they know exactly what is expected from them. Communication lines, work processes and expectations should be clearly communicated and established especially for remote workers, so they can start adapting their role as soon as possible.

But whenever this crisis has passed you may find that remote working has been beneficial to your business and want to continue giving your employees the flexibility to work from wherever they like. To support this you can put several occasions in place to keep immersing employees in the organization’s culture.

  • Organize daily standups for your teams to share what you are going to do
  • Schedule regular one on one meetings between the manager and employees
  • Remote team drinks or other remote activities to close out the week
  • Share with your team your win or fuck up of the week/month to enable learning by making mistakes and share successes.
  • Sessions to share achievements (to increase bounding) 
  • A periodic demonstration meeting, where everybody can demo/show whatever they achieved in the past weeks or period will improve the visibility of the work everybody does and how that contributes to overall success. Besides, it stimulates creativity and can be a source of inspiration for new ideas.
  • An ask me anything session on a regular basis stimulates conversation between all layers of the organization.

Don’t forget that onboarding is mostly about communication. So make sure somebody from the board shares your organization’s goals and KPI’s on a regular basis, so all employees know what targets or projects are valuable and contribute to the overall success of the business.


Are you ready to take your onboarding program to the next level? Appical proudly presents the Virtual Onboarding Conference 2020. Thursday the 7th and 14th of May we have companies like HP, OPCW and Amazon speaking about how they crafted an industry leading onboarding program. Interested?  Sign up, it's free! 

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