A 10-Step Checklist to Make Your Remote Employee’s First Week Great [2022 Updated]

How to Onboard Remote Employees

Wondering how to onboard remote employees? No matter if you’re hiring your first remote employee or your 100th, don’t take the onboarding process lightly.

A new employee’s first day makes a lasting impact on how they feel about working for you.

During the early days of a job, new hires carefully assess whether they’ve made a great choice or a huge mistake.

They’re comparing the reality of the company culture and environment to how it was described during the hiring process—starting with how they’re onboarded.

This research found that companies with great onboarding processes boost new hire retention by 82% and employee productivity by 70%.

The onboarding process is an excellent opportunity to build trust with remote employees and prove to them that the company culture you’ve promised them is real.

This checklist will show you a few ideas for onboarding new remote employees.

The Challenges of Onboarding Remote Employees

Remote employee onboarding and training require a bit of a different approach. From the organization’s point of view, the main challenges with remote onboarding include:

  • Introducing new employees to existing team members
  • Setting up the necessary equipment and tools remotely
  • Keeping communication open, clear, and timely
  • Managing and signing digital HR paperwork
  • Communicating goals and objectives (team and individual)
  • Explaining company policies, benefits, and procedures

The main challenges that new hires might face are:

  • A sense of isolation
  • Getting to know their new team members
  • Not being able to get on-the-spot answers
  • Getting familiar with new tools

For someone who is new to your company and away from the office from the start, consider these tips for your onboarding checklist.

How to Onboard Remote Employees

Here are some remote onboarding best practices:

Tip #1. Start before the first day

There’s a difference between onboarding and orientation. Get all the essential formalities out of the way before your employee’s first day. Use Slack to avoid paperwork. If you get as many administrative tasks sorted as possible before their actual start date, your new hire can dive into doing the things they were hired to do. That’s a win-win for you both.

Tip #2. Give them early access to your tools

Sometimes, the most challenging part of a remote job is learning new systems and getting used to new technology. Whatever platforms you use, set your new hire up with access as soon as possible. 

Having some time to familiarize themselves with a new tool or platform will reduce their stress and increase their readiness to roll up their sleeves on day one – another win-win.

Tip #3. Get their name correct!

This should be obvious, right? Nothing is worse than being excited to join a team only to find your nametag and email address misspelled. Get the proper spelling and pronunciation of your new employee’s name and be sure to ask them what they prefer to be called. 

You’ll find that a good number of your employees may prefer to be called by a middle name or nickname.

Tip #4. Ask some fun things about them

Ask your new hire some fun, light questions that will help the team get to know them better. When you do your team introductions on the company group, include the basics like who they are and what their position is, but also add in some icebreaker trivia. 

Ask them what their favorite snack is on that paperwork they finished before their start date, then have it waiting on their desk their first day.

Tip #5. Make a Company-Wide Announcement

Send out an email introducing new employees on their first day. It breaks the ice and forms a connection with other employees. Introduce them to everyone at the company and let other employees ask them some fun questions.

Tip #6. Talk about your company mission and values

In your Google calendar of pre-set meetings, include one with someone qualified to talk about your company’s long-term vision, and how each department fits into the big picture goals. 

Knowing how all the department function leads to the ability to creatively problem-solve and helps employees feel more invested in the company.

#7. Gift new hires company swag

Help your new hires feel like a part of the team by sending them a welcome package including: A coffee mug or T-shirt, A welcome letter, or note from their team or your CEO. You can also send personalized gifts like headphones, a book, or gift cards from local or online stores.

Tip #8. Create a detailed plan 

Create plans each step of the way – weekly, monthly, quarterly … or whatever works best for your company – and schedule follow-ups to stay on track with individual and team goals. Schedule video meetings to check in on progress, celebrate wins, and brainstorm challenges together.

Tip #9. Make time each day to check in with new hires 

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and ask for honest answers. Make sure your new hire understands their role and responsibilities, and make sure you are clear on what your employee expects, too.

Tip #10. Ask their feedback

Probably one of the most effective things you can do as you onboard new employees is to track data and openly ask your hires for their feedback. Keep lines of communication open and directly ask your new employees about their experience. What did they find most helpful? What was the most challenging part about starting their new position? Was there enough training on software? Ask them about it all.

BONUS: Here are some tools and apps that will help you in the remote Onboarding process.

Slack: Get onboarding right—for the sake of your employees and your entire organization.

Greetbot: GreetBot is a friendly onboarding assistant that helps you welcome new members to your Slack workspace.

Gusto: Gusto comes with some attractive features that make remote hiring and training a lot more streamlined.

Asana: With Asana, share tasks with your new remote employees, manage shifting priorities, and get work done. 

WorkBright: WorkBright’s digital onboarding solution removes the headache of new hire paperwork and gets employees ready to work BEFORE their first day.

Zoom: Conduct a video conference with your remote team.

Icebreakers: Icebreakers helps teammates forge stronger connections by enabling people to learn more about each other and to share a laugh or two together.

Trello: You can use it to manage different types of projects you work on, including onboarding new employees.

ChiefOnboarding: It offers a possibility of onboarding your new employees through Slack with the help of their Slack bot!

Click Boarding: From onboarding and cross boarding to offboarding, configure workflows remotely & intuitively for seamless transitions.


How is onboarding a remote employee different than on-site?

It takes a special process and effort to onboard a new employee virtually. You need to set up technologies and equipment remotely and introduce a new member to the team virtually. You also need to make sure that they feel connected and valued. Read this guide for on-site employee onboarding.

What is the best way to organize a remote onboarding plan in 2020?

Read this complete remote onboarding checklist. Here you’ll find some amazing virtual onboarding ideas (Mentioned above).

Do virtual employees benefit from a remote onboarding experience?

It can be tough for remote employee to adjust to the your company’s culture and understand their team and work Especially if your new employee aren’t used to a remote environment. So a remote onboarding process can help you to build a connection with a new hire.

How do companies normally onboard remote employees?

Companies follow the same process they use for in-office hires – but digitalize the process. Use this checklist for onboarding remote workers.

What do you think? Please do share your thoughts in the comments section.

Free BONUS: Want to boost employee engagement at your office? Get a free ebook of 25 employee engagement ideas and activities (Includes examples from real companies)

Originally published on May 21, 2020 02:07 PM, updated Feb 22 2021

Pawan Kumar

I'm a Content Marketer at Springworks. I've been featured in many reputed publications and online magazines! I'm an avid reader and movie buff. Let's connect on Social Media.

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