Remote Onboarding: Top Tips For Bringing On New Hires in 2021

COVID-19 has introduced a lot of changes to the way we go about daily life and work over 2020/2021. While many of these changes have caused disruption and anxiety, one area where people have benefitted is being able to work remotely, in which remote onboarding plays a key role in success.

Since 2005, the remote workforce has grown by 173%, and as new technologies continue to make remote working possible for a wider range of professions, more people are experiencing the perks of working from home. Such benefits include a better work-life balance, increased hours of productivity and more trust between businesses and their employees.

Yet, this isn’t to say remote working has its challenges. Starting a new position remotely can be trying for both the employee and the employer. Below, we’ve put together some top tips to help with onboarding new hires remotely.

Create a pre-onboarding pack

Remote onboarding can be a daunting thought for any new employee. While you don’t have to figure out how everyone has their tea (*cue chuckle from our British readers), where the bathroom is or how to book a meeting room, remote working comes with its own set of challenges.

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Creating a pre-onboarding pack that new hires can receive before their first day will go a long way towards reassuring them and making them feel more excited to start. Your pre-onboarding pack could be as simple as a welcome email with information on how your employees work equipment will be delivered to them, an itinerary for the first day and a copy of the company values. You could also send over a branded box of goodies to ramp up the excitement.

Sort out equipment needs for remote working

Remote workers will require extra support with obtaining the equipment they need to do their job. It’s best not to assume that your new remote hire will have a home office set up, as they may feel reluctant to ask for supplies.

Consider setting a reasonable budget for new hires to ensure they can get their home office set up with everything they need, whether this is a comfy desk chair, an additional computer screen or wrist or foot support. You may also consider a budget to support with remote working costs like electricity, heating and WIFI.

Arrange virtual meet & greets

One of the biggest questions new hires have when starting a new role is ‘who will I be working with?’. Eliminate any anxieties for both your new hire and their team by setting up virtual coffee meetups before the first day. That way, your new hire can get a feel for the team and break the ice while there’s no pressure to get things done.

As a global organisation, it is especially important for the Leonid team to create a friendly environment for new team members. All our new colleagues begin having virtual coffee sessions with our teams across the UK and Barcelona from the moment they accept a position.

Create a remote buddy system

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If you want to go the extra mile, a buddy system is a great way to help your new hire feel more at home both before the big day and once they start. Connecting your new hire with a colleague before they begin the remote onboarding process could give them a chance to ask any questions and establish a connection that they then feel comfortable reaching out to once remote onboarding begins.

Once the new hire starts, the buddy system will ensure your new hire doesn’t fade into the digital abyss that can so easily happen when working remotely. It can also help your new hire to understand your organisation’s culture, including when people usually take a lunch break, what communications channels are used or who to reach out to for IT help.

Share your remote working policy

While 18% of the global workforce now work remotely full-time, working from home is still a relatively new concept for a lot of people. It’s important to establish boundaries early on to ensure your new hire knows what is expected.

As such, your remote working policy should offer advice on where remote workers can work (e.g., home office, in a café, from abroad), what core hours they must be available, whether the occasional office trip is required, and how equipment should be used and stored.

Utilise Employee Feedback to imporve the remote onboarding process

Each time you have a new hire go through the remote onboarding process, ask for their feedback on the experience. This could be invaluable in helping your HR Department to improve the remote onboarding experience for future new hires.

If you already have a new hire feedback process, consider adding a section on the remote onboarding experience. Remote onboarding means there may be some things new employees need extra help with that you would have otherwise noticed in the office, so getting their feedback could help future proof the process.

Create a memorable remote first day

The first day of a remote job should be just as exciting for your new hire as being in the office. Your new hires experience on their first day will have a significant impact on their attitude towards the job and the picture they get of your organisation and as such, you should go out of your way to make it a good experience.

Make sure your new hire has enough to do but not so many tasks that they become overwhelmed. Ensure there’s a clear process for getting them set up with the relevant technologies they need access to, as well as establishing what channels are used for communications and who your new hire can reach out to for help. These are just the basics though.

To create an extra special first day for your remote worker, consider organising a breakfast delivery for their team so your new hire can bond with their colleagues over a coffee and a croissant. Alternatively, you could send a care package to help with any stress or nerves.

If you would usually give new hires a tour of your HQ, consider creating a virtual walk-around video (a bit like google street view) so new hires feel like part of the bigger picture.

Ensure you have effective virtual training in place

According to Bamboo HR, 76% of new hires want on-the-job training. While this can be a little trickier to implement during remote onboarding, there is a range of technologies in place to help you deliver remote training.

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Some of the top remote training and development tools include Zoom, WalkMe, Slack, Trello, iSpring and Google workspace (previously known as G Suite).

While remote onboarding can be a challenge for many organisations, a little ‘outside the box’ thinking and utilisation of the latest technologies can go a long way in creating a smooth and memorable (the good kind!) experience for your new hire.

Leonid Consultants create lasting partnerships with our clients and candidates, meaning we don’t just disappear the second a candidate accepts an offer. We’re here to offer help and advice throughout the journey.

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