The Ultimate Onboarding Checklist for Remote Companies
Learn how to onboard your remote team with our checklist. We break down the process step-by-step so you can get started quickly and successfully.
Did you know that more than 50% of employees experience at least one mishap when starting a new job? There are various reasons behind it:
- the technology wasn’t properly set up,
- the necessary tools weren’t provided,
- the employees were not informed about company policies or introduced to their coworkers
These are just some of the many issues that can happen during onboarding.
Such onboarding mishaps can make your new hires form the wrong first impression of your company.
The situation gets even trickier when it comes to remote workers. The lack of face-to-face contact mixed with poor communication skills can really discourage a new hire from sticking to your company for as long as you'd want.
With nearly 70% of employees being more likely to stay with a company for 3+ years after a successful onboarding process, it’s vital that you make a good first impression, whether working from an office or remotely.
One way of doing it is by designing a flawless remote hire onboarding process. If you want to know what are the steps you have to include - we’ve prepared a detailed checklist for you.
What is a remote employee onboarding checklist?
A checklist for remote employee onboarding helps managers and human resource (HR) professionals welcome and onboard new remote employees properly. Going through such a checklist ensures that new hires have all the information and onboarding resources they need to become efficient quickly.
Onboarding checklists are useful in many areas, especially in HR departments and during the first few weeks at a new job. The remote onboarding process will help prepare any new hire for success, reduce your employee turnover and make your new hires happier about starting a job with you.
Benefits of having an employee onboarding checklist in place for remote companies
There are many benefits to having a remote employee onboarding checklist in place for remote companies. Here are some of them.
#1 Better communication
Remote companies can have a hard time with communication. Your employees and managers are mostly unable to see each other face-to-face. People are also more likely to lose contact with each other, for example, due to Internet or device issues.
This is where the remote employee onboarding checklist comes in handy.
It ensures that the process of getting to know each other and communicating is smoother and more efficient. This, in turn, helps with better communication.
By including at least some of these elements in your remote communication process, your employees will quickly appreciate your communication methods and create a stronger bond with your company:
- A welcome email from the company,
- A clear list of employee benefits,
- An introduction to the team members (with photos),
- A list of tasks that need to be completed upon joining,
- A virtual tour of the office space or facilities.
There is nothing better than effective communication, especially in a remote workplace. So do take this benefit into account.
#2 Improved remote employee experience
Having a remote employee onboarding checklist can help with improving your new hire’ journey at your company.
Remote work is becoming more and more popular in the business world. While it has many benefits to offer, there are also some challenges.
One of the biggest ones is that remote employees don't always have a clear idea of what to do when they start a new job. And without someone nearby in an office to help them, this can cause them to feel rather lost.
This can impact their employee experience significantly.
Having a solid onboarding process will ensure that all the important things are covered every step of the way. It will also help the remote employee feel more prepared for their new role - even if completely from behind their computer desk at home.
#3 Increased productivity
As soon as you implement a solid remote hire onboarding process, you will notice a quick increase in productivity: both yours and your new employees’.
Research by Brandon Hall Group found that companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hires’ productivity by over 70%.
With a remote onboarding plan, you will onboard new hires quicker - despite the challenge of it taking place through the computer.
This will leave you with more free time, resulting in better productivity levels.
The same applies to your new hires: once they get a clear idea of what’s happening every step of the way, they will become productive sooner.
Remote Employee Onboarding Checklist: 7 Key Elements To Include
Below you will find the essential elements to include in your remote employee onboarding checklist.
Before starting the onboarding process:
#1 Provide the pre-boarding essentials
When someone is new to a company, it's important that you give them the resources they need to be successful even before they officially start.
This includes providing them with the necessary pre-boarding materials that will help them get up to speed with the company culture and processes.
A company's pre-boarding materials could include:
- A company handbook including relevant information about your business,
- Your official policies and procedures on items such as sick leave, paid time off, insurance, etc.,
- Training materials relevant for their department and specific role,
- Frequently asked questions by new hires.
Most of these can be sent to your new hire through email. However, don’t be shy and consider going through these materials with the new hire over a video call, for example. That will give them a chance to ask you any questions they may have.
During the onboarding process:
#2 Arrange an introduction meeting
One of the first things you should do upon successfully hiring a remote employee is to schedule an online introduction meeting.
This meeting will give you a chance to learn about the person and their expectations of you. It will also give them a chance to understand what they are getting into.
Below we present some examples of tools that you might find useful for this purpose:
During a meeting like this, be sure to cover all the important matters for you, as well as answer any questions your new hire might have.
#3 Give your new hire a support contact
Starting a new job fully remotely can be challenging, especially if it’s your hire’s first job like this.
To make them feel more confident during the first days, we recommend that you assign your new hire a mentor buddy.
A mentor buddy should be someone your new employees can turn to whenever they have any questions. It can be a manager within a department or just a colleague with more experience at a company.
Such a “helpful hand” will be greatly appreciated by your hires and they’ll have someone to turn to for quick questions during the day. It means that they’re just a Slack message away from getting help.
#4 Host a virtual team-building event
Virtual team-building events are a great way to get remote workers to feel like they are part of the company. They also make it easier for them to get acquainted with their new colleagues.
Hosting a virtual event is beneficial for both the employees and employers.
Employees can take part in an event from anywhere in the world, which makes it easy for them to participate. As an employer, you can save on travel costs and time.
Do you have no clue what a virtual team-building event could include? Some great activities include:
- Digital Card Games,
- Coffee Breaks and Happy Hours,
- Donut Meetups on Slack,
- Online Trivia,
- Houseparty Games,
- Recipe Swap,
- Water Cooler Trivia,
While this has little to do with the technical aspects of a new role, it’s still a great practice. New hires can see their new colleagues as human beings first, and then as employees in a company.
#5 Provide your new hire with all necessary equipment and tools
Another thing you should consider doing is giving your new employees all the tools and equipment they need to be successful.
Some companies provide remote workers with equipment such as laptops or PCs, mobile phones, cellphones, printers, and so on.
Companies also equip remote workers with tools such as software that they need for their jobs. Examples include:
- company email,
- communication tools such as Slack,
- project management tools such as Asana,
- Office 365,
- HR/payroll system,
- cloud storage systems.
For more ideas on what your remote employees might need equipment-wise, check out our remote worker toolkit:
- Mobile hotspots
- Whiteboard and mind mapping tools
- Remote desktop software
- Project management software
- Note-taking apps
- Security tools
- Automation tools
- Team chat apps
- Video conferencing apps
- To-do list apps
- Screen sharing software
- Screen recording tools
- Cloud storage
#6 Provide role training and personal growth opportunities from the start.
If this isn’t on your list already, be sure to add it.
Companies like Siemens invest $500 million every year in employee training. What’s more, over 85% of remote workers receive regular role training, with 70% getting it from their companies, according to research.
Your remote employees will be glad to see you like to invest in their skills and growth. As a matter of fact, research shows that over 65% of remote workers like to be trained by their company.
So don't forget to take care of this step early on. Once you show you invest in your employees’ skills, they will be more likely to start. This, in turn, will increase your new hire retention. Win-win, right?
#7 Encourage feedback
Your plan for onboarding new, remote hires will only be good if they find it good.
Thus, as part of welcoming new employees into your company, be sure to collect their feedback about the whole process.
This type of feedback can help you figure out which parts of your remote onboarding are good and which could do with some improvements. What’s more, it can improve your relationship with new hires by 91%.
When it comes to collecting feedback remotely, here are some useful tips:
- create a “safe” and “convenient” environment for collecting feedback,
- schedule time for feedback,
- try to give the context of feedback for clarity,
- use feedback collection software, like YouEngage or Google Forms.
Considering that 88% of companies don’t onboard well, such feedback could really turn out to be useful to ensure your remote onboarding process is spot on.
Remote Onboarding Checklist Recap - Do You Have It All?
- Provide the pre-boarding essentials
- Arrange an introduction meeting
- Give your new hire a support contact
- Host a virtual team-building event
- Provide your new hire with all necessary equipment and tools
- Create professional development and personal growth opportunities from the start
- Encourage feedback
The Future Of Remote Employee Onboarding And Remote Work
Hybrid and remote work environments will continue to grow, there’s no doubt about it.
In Buffer's report - '2021 State of Remote Work', 59% of respondents stated that they would like to continue working primarily remotely, even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
With this sentiment around remote work, it’s become clear that employers will need to adapt their business operations to suit the needs of remote workers.
One of the ways to adapt is to create an effective employee onboarding process for remote workers. We hope that the above tips will help you do it.
A Successful Remote Onboarding Process With Sloneek
Together with the tips, there’s something else that might come in very handy. It’s called Sloneek.
Sloneek is an HR management software made for making your employee onboarding easier.
Our easy-to-use software allows you to do tasks like:
- make your well-executed onboarding process a great experience for everyone involved in the process,
- keep all Employee Records in one online onboarding portal,
- automate extra tedious HR tasks such as signup procedures, tutorials, onboarding templates, checklists, and competency assessments,
- have full visibility into the Employee Onboarding Process,
- onboard new hires with ease,
- cut onboarding costs,
Sloneek's employee onboarding tool makes creating and managing an effective remote onboarding program easy. So try it today for free and get ready to welcome your new, remote hires into your company in a way you haven’t done it before.
Start Onboarding Your New Remote Employees Effortlessly Today
As a hiring manager onboarding remote employees, you should care to ensure that your employees are happy from their first day - even remotely.
One way of doing it is by designing a spot-on, flawless remote employee onboarding process.
Thanks to the checklist we shared with you, you have a chance to really boost your employee experience and satisfaction.
We hope you enjoyed the article and learned something new.
If you would like to learn more about new employee onboarding, be sure to check our blog out for similar releases.
Other than that, thanks for reading and we hope that Sloneek can be of assistance to you in the near future. Good luck!
FAQs - Most Common Remote Employee Onboarding Questions Answered
In this section, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding remote employees and onboarding them into your company.
What is meant by “remote onboarding activities”?
Remote onboarding activities are all the things organized during the remote onboarding process. They include things like sending new hires essential resources for their job and assigning them a mentor buddy to help them during the first days.
What are some ways to make remote onboarding fun?
To make remote onboarding more fun for your new employees, you could arrange virtual hang-outs and ice-breakers with prizes to win. It’s up to you to decide how frequently events like this should take place.
You can host them weekly or monthly. As long as you don’t give up on them fully, your new employees will be amazed by this initiative.
What do new hires want from an onboarding program?
Research on new hires and their expectations reveals that new hires are often after:
- on-the-job training,
- assignment of an employee “buddy” or mentor,
- review of the company’s policies, like dress code and time-off rules,
- review of administrative procedures.
How many phases are in the remote employee onboarding process?
There are 4 phases to onboard your new remote employees and they include:
- role training,
- ongoing development.
Some also only mention 2 phases: pre-onboarding and onboarding phases. No matter how you name them, it’s vital you include all the elements we described earlier.
What is the difference between onboarding a remote employee and an office employee?
The differences between the two are not huge. In contrast to traditional onboarding, remote onboarding simply requires a different approach to doing the same tasks as traditional onboarding. The rest of the steps are more or less the same as in conventional onboarding - with the exception of the virtual part.
How can I onboard remote employees quickly?
Everything should begin with a solid and well-thought-out plan. Start with organizing your remote onboarding templates to make them easily accessible by new hires. Things should go smoothly from there. What’s more, it’s beneficial to use software for employee onboarding, such as Sloneek.
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