7 tips for onboarding remote employees smoothly

By Raquel Munuera
May 14, 2020
5 min read
Online hiring process

COVID-19 has brought many changes to the way we live, consume, and work. Among all the challenges that change brings up, organizations are having to re-think and re-structure their onboarding processes, especially in a remote environment. 

A recent Gartner survey with 800 HR executives around the world found that 88% of organizations have required or, at least, encouraged employees to work from home.  

Remote working is here to stay. That means company processes, such as onboarding need to be updated to fit this new normal.  

Research conducted by Glassdoor shows that “organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.” You need to make sure that your virtual onboarding process is as strong as your in-person one.  

How can you make a new employee feel welcomed to the team without the in-person interactions? Which tools can you use to revamp the process? 

Here’s what you need to know to digitize your internal processes for a smooth experience when onboarding remote employees:  

Help onboarding remote employees with these 7 tips

1. Welcome employees with the usual swag

If you usually welcome new employees with branded goodies like notebooks or pens, how about sending these over to their house? This gives a personal touch and an immediate positive connection.  

At IC, every new employee receives a handwritten card from the CEO. It’s a thoughtful, optimistic letter and a great way to start your first day. Small details make all the difference! 

2. Make sure they have the right tools  

When you welcome a new employee to the office, you usually make sure they have all the technological tools they need, computers, headphones, monitors, etc. With remote work being the new normal, you will have to pay special attention to these items.  

Does your new hire have all the tools the job requires? Are you asking them to use their personal equipment?  

When the decision was made that everyone was going to work from home to promote social distancing, the IC leadership team took the time to understand everyone’s needs. Not only computers were taken to the employees’ homes, but also monitors, chairs, and earphones.  

Showing your new hire that you care enough to get equipment delivered to their doors, will make them feel not only welcomed but appreciated.  

Why is employee engagement important, especially when working remotely? Read more here.

3. Facilitate face-to-face interactions 

Because you cannot go around and introduce the new team member to everyone in the organization, facilitate and encourage face-to-face interactions as much as possible. Have a “cameras-on” meeting with the whole team and encourage one-to-one calls. This way the new employee gets to know their peers on a more personal and deeper level.  

Don’t forget to facilitate calls with key people in the organization. It can include the leadership team, other team members they will collaborate with, or influencers in the organization.  

4. Leverage your intranet with fun activities 

There are multiple ways to use your intranet to boost your onboarding process. Your intranet is the best toolbox you can have; use the different apps and widgets to create a process that is self-intuitive, fun, and simple. 

Organizations like MHS Homes have included scavenger hunts in their onboarding process. The new employees must find specific pieces of information hidden in their intranet. You can include hints about other employees, company policies, or department information. 

Those activities will not only make the employee more familiar with the team, documents, and processes, but they will also make them more comfortable with the intranet.  

Intranet Employee Directory
Example of a staff directory on an intranet

Learn how to use your intranet for internal communication.

5. Utilize your intranet for formal requirements 

A big part of the onboarding process at IC happens on the Intranet. Even before the employee starts, there are some forms and checklists the hiring manager needs to fill out. This ensures the new hire’s workstation is ready, they are added to all relevant systems, and that their reporting structure is clear. 

There are then also activities and forms that must be completed by the new hire by the end of their first week, first month, halfway through the probation period, and within three months. This section of the intranet also includes information about the organization and useful links.  

Intranet Department Sites
Example of an intranet dashboard for HR activities

6. Make sure you include formal check-ins  

Since the employee cannot just knock at your door and ask questions, make sure you give them opportunities to do so in a more formal setup. At least in the first three months, weekly check-ins will help your employee understand the organization, its tasks, goals, and more importantly, how they are doing.  

Also, make sure you schedule enough time and do not rush them through the process. You can also use this time to get to know them better, so they will feel more comfortable asking questions or giving feedback. 

Tip: Feedback is not just important for new employees but should be encouraged throughout the organization. Learn how to create and nurture a feedback culture

7. Be understanding 

Give your new hire some time to figure things out and make the necessary adjustments in their personal life to be able to work from home. Always lead with empathy. 

Looking for more ways to digitize your workplace? Here’s a guide on navigating the digital workplace. For more insights on the easy onboarding of remote employees, book a FREE DEMO call with us today!

By Raquel Munuera

Raquel is a customer success manager at IC Thrive. She has a background in psychology and human resources and is passionate about helping companies achieve their business goals. With her experience in the technology industry, she is always available to help clients to go the extra-mile and be successful with their intranet.