How to nail remote onboarding

How to nail remote onboarding

Practical advice to make them feel at home before they start, on their first day and at the end of their first week.

BY Business Chicks, 7 min READ

Thanks to our friends at Employment Hero

Cast your mind back to your first day joining a new team.

Does a memorable moment stand out? 

Maybe it was the welcome lunch with your new team, the tour of the office, or the welcome pack sitting on your desk. Or could it be that your experience was quite the contrary? Did your onboarding lack effort and thought from your new employer?

Whether you had a great onboarding experience or not, one thing is for sure… 

A successful onboarding experience will have a huge impact on the success and happiness of a new hire

Studies show that companies with effective onboarding processes achieve 2.5 times more revenue growth and 1.9 times the profit margin compared to those with poor onboarding strategies.

So, how do you provide a memorable and positive experience when you’re physically distanced from your new hire? We spoke to Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer at Employment Hero about nailing the onboarding process when working remotely.

We know that nailing your remote onboarding experience is easier said than done. It’s a whole new ball game and one that many of us weren’t prepared to play. Many employers aren’t sure how to provide the same experience as they would in the office, so the remote onboarding process is often pushed to the wayside – but it shouldn’t be this way… 

Alex suggests breaking it up into 3 main sections: before they start, on their first day and at the end of their first week. From here, you can clearly identify what you need to do and develop a strategy that will have your new hire feeling welcomed from the second they sign their contract. 

Prior to your new hire starting their role

All employers want to give their new hires a good impression of their company. With this top of mind, you should consider your onboarding experience from the moment they sign their contract. You should make the effort to encapsulate your culture in a welcome package for your new team member.

Stuck on ideas? 

Have a welcome box delivered to your new hire and include thoughtful things that show you’re excited for them to start. Think things like a handwritten welcome card from the new manager, snacks and a drink for their first virtual happy hour, and any branded swag you have such as a t-shirt or notebook.

Remember that your new employee may also be new to the concept of remote working so you should have everything set up for them from day one. You can do this by scheduling all key meetings in their calendar so they can see their first few days clearly mapped out, and locking in meet and greets with members from each team so the new hire can get context on the role of each department. You can also share their personal email address with your team and encourage everyone to send a friendly welcome note. It’s the small things that make all of the difference! 

On your new hire’s first day

On your new hires’ first day, you want to make them feel as welcome as possible. Take the time to set the scene and ensure your new team member feels totally comfortable with the tech you’re using, in particular the software for video meetings. Run through an induction session where you explain their new role in detail, share the company goals, policies and processes. 

As a manager, you should also set-up a virtual coffee one on one where you can talk to your new team member. This time is not to chat about work or their role, treat it as a “getting to know you” session.

At the end of your new hire’s first week

Within the first week, your new hire will have a good sense of judgement whether or not they can see yourself at the company long term. With this in mind, you should make sure the manager checks in with them at the end of the first week. Starting a new job can be overwhelming, and doing it remotely will only heighten uneasy feelings.

To make your new starter feel part of the team ASAP you could set-up a fun team virtual event for the whole team. You might not be able to do your usual welcome lunch and a virtual lunch can be a challenge as everyone is eating! Why not get the gang together and do an ice breaker session? Alex recommends an online game like Skribbl.io. These create a few laughs and help with team bonding, without making your new member the ‘spotlight’ for the event.

The final word

Putting in a little thought and effort for your new starter’s remote onboarding journey makes all the difference. Consider how you can make new employees feel welcomed, prepared and engaged from day one and you’ll see the benefits for months to come.


Want more tips on navigating the new way of working? Read on for practical tips on keeping staff engaged and productivity high when you’re not sharing an office space.

Employment Hero is an all-in-one HR, Payroll and Benefits platform that powers employee management from anywhere, anytime.


©2020 Business Chicks

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