Effectively Onboarding Remote Workers

Effectively Onboarding Remote Workers

Onboarding is a challenge for many companies and many get it wrong, luckily things are changing and companies are keen to improve their onboarding process. This is unsurprising when studies tell us that great employee onboarding can improve staff retention by 82%*. A positive onboarding process has a huge influence on a new employee’s feelings about their new employer, onboarding so it's important that it receives the planning, care and attention it deserves.

It's important to spend time on the onboarding process to ensure nothing is left out. It's a good idea to pre-empt any questions that new recruits might have and ensure that they have time planned in their diary with any people that they may need to get them set up with access to systems they may need such as email, intranet and any software that they need to carry out their role.

Why A Great Onboarding Plan Matters

First impressions count and it takes a long time to recover from a bad initial experience. Carefully planned and thought out onboarding reflects well upon the business and will ensure that new employees feel that their wellbeing and job satisfaction are the priority of the business.


How to effectively onboard remote workers

Properly onboarding employees helps to prevent mistakes being made. If a new employee has been properly trained, then it is less likely there will be issues. Mistakes can be costly and time-consuming to fix, but can also affect an employee's confidence or unfairly damage their reputation in the company. 

 Whether a new employee is joining you as an expert, or whether they are a junior hire, they will need a mentor to help them to navigate the company and get to grips with your processes and how you do things. Although the high-level responsibilities of their role would have been covered during the hiring process it’s also important to revisit this over their first few weeks to ensure that expectations are clear, but also so they have an idea of what they should be doing day-to-day and how their role fits into the wider company.

Onboarding Remote Workers

With many companies seeking to improve their processes when it comes to onboarding, the process for remote workers should be tweaked to reflect different challenges. Joining a new company where you work physically amongst your new colleagues can be daunting, the experience can be amplified when they're not working in the same space.

Building an onboarding plan for remote workers

Effectively onboarding remote workers can be made much more effective and simple when the company has a thorough and thoughtful onboarding plan. The first thing to consider is to create a process and ensure this is properly communicated to and then implemented by anyone responsible for onboarding remote workers.

Here are some of the key areas your onboarding remote workers process should cover:

How Things Work

All companies do things a little bit differently. Though a new employee may be familiar with some of your systems, processes vary between businesses. An employee contract should cover essential details such as information about salary, working hours, holiday entitlement, etc. Yet, there will be internal processes your new employee will need to become familiar with.

How to build an onboarding plan for home workers

Therefore, supplying new remote workers with a digital guide to how things work inside your business is ideal. This may be part of your staff handbook or could be a separate document. What is included depends on your company and the employee’s job role, but it may include such things as:


      • How to raise a purchase order
      • How to raise an issue or query with IT support
      • How to submit a holiday request
      • How to transfer calls to colleagues or other departments
      • How to submit expense claims
      • The company’s mission and values (including details on how they can support these)

Who Is Who

Technical glitches happen, even in this digital world we now operate in, it’s rare for someone to not need IT support in their first week on the job. Before the employee's first day, ensure that the tech team are aware of the solutions they will need access to so that it's ready for them on day one. Email addresses, logins, access rights and software licences should be set up in advance to reduce the amount of time that the new employee has to wait around whilst IT support gets them established.

Remote employees rely on systems and technologies to keep in touch, share work and manage projects so it's even more essential that remote recruits are given the support and attention that they need in those first few days.

Offering virtual tours of systems and solutions via video conference is useful in those first few days, bringing the technology that they'll be working with on a daily basis to life. Using screen share, you can help new employees log in and navigate the network with your hands-on support and advice. There may be some systems they are not familiar with so having somebody show them around using online video conferencing can be extremely helpful. This person could be in IT support or could be a colleague already familiar with the software and systems the remote worker will need, so this is also another great opportunity to connect with other co-workers.

Facilitate Relationships

Connection with other employees is all important for remote workers. The connections work offers us don’t just enable us to do our jobs better but can improve an employee’s wellbeing and enjoyment of their job.

As a manager, part of your role will be to facilitate relationships between colleagues, in your team and across other departments. Of course, in a virtual world, this doesn't tend to happen organically and therefore it does need to be managed in a more structured way.

Some remote employees may need to liaise with multiple employees across video conferencing for meetings but it is important they also have time to get to know each other in a more personal way. So, one solution can be adding an extra 5-10 minutes to the start of meetings where a new employee is present so that new colleagues can meet, chat and get to know each other a bit before the business talk commences.

Informal meetings online between colleagues can be a little awkward but they are so important. The better your employees know one another the better they will work together. When colleagues know who to contact for what and they communicate well with one another they can be even more productive.

Lastly, ensure your remote employees are made aware of and are included in events (both social and work-related), social groups and team celebrations. You may need to employ a little creativity for this as remote employees may not be able to join physical team lunches or attend work events if they’re unable to travel to the office. So you may need to reward them in other ways.

At Out Of The Box, we offer Bespoke Onboarding Gift Boxes. Some of the requests we get include stationery but also speciality teas and coffee blends, which new remote employees may use for these informal online meet-ups with their new colleagues.

Feedback When Onboarding Remote Workers

Clear communication is key when it comes to welcoming and training new employees, especially remote workers. Plan everything ahead of time so that remote workers, who may also be working on flexible hours, already have meetings in the diary (both business-related and get-to-know-each-other meetings) and know about any deadlines, training sessions or in-person meetings/events beforehand.

Ensure you catch up with your new employee regularly to see how their first few days and weeks have gone. Check that they’ve received the right training and provide feedback on their initial performance. These meetings should be planned out in advance so that your new team member has time to prepare any questions and feedback that they have for you, which will make the process much more constructive for both parties.

Little Extras That Have A Big Impact

You may find that since onboarding remote workers inevitably lacks the same personal connection that onboarding in-person can have, you need to manufacture this a little. Having proper processes in place and a plan, both for you and for your new employee, will help everything go smoother. It will also ensure they feel their introduction to your company, their ability to do their job well and their wellbeing, is a priority of yours.

A little extra welcome never hurts though, so why not make sure they immediately feel valued with an Onboarding Gift Set? We work with a number of customers who send their new recruits onboarding gifts just before they start, with a QR code directing them to the onboarding plan and employee handbook. This gives them a great head-start to their new role and they know exactly what to expect in their first few days. Gifts can include useful items such as stationery but also comforting and uplifting gifts such as snacks and hot drinks that reflect the company values that make them feel valued and appreciated from the offset. We have a wide range of sustainable gifts and can create a bespoke gift set to suit any new employee, choosing gifts that best reflect your organisation and have that personal touch.

Get in touch today to find out more about gifts for onboarding remote workers.

*source: Brandon Hall Group

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