How to Onboard New Starters Remotely

Written by Zoe Hollowell on 30/03/2020

Working remotely isn’t a new trend, plenty of companies have remote employees across the globe or a fully remote business. Although Covid-19 is impacting many businesses to now work from home, the recruitment process isn’t slowing down and onboarding new hires is still ongoing remotely.  Companies wanting to get their new starters equipped, set up and working as quickly as possible who aren’t used to this way of working will need to have a clear process in place to be successful. 

Here are some suggestions to consider:

Use online tools for HR forms and paperwork

Apps such as Docusign, Adobe Scan, Adobe Sign and Hello Sign are great for inputting electronic signatures and legally signing important HR documents. These tools are free and easy to use.

Make sure the right equipment is ready and available

This can be anything from a laptop, tablet or the tools they will need throughout the duration of their role. If you have an agreed date set with your starter you can prepare in advance to send equipment straight to their door. If time and constraints don’t allow this, chances are they will have a laptop or computer they can work from in the meantime. Any apps / cloud based tools and accompanying logins need to be provided and ready beforehand.

Supply them with all the documentation they may need including policies and a welcome pack – most companies have now gone paperless and host most of these documents on online portals or file hosting systems.

Introduction them into the business

Traditional onboarding processes now have to be adapted and transferred online. Introducing and integrating someone remotely into the team can seem like a difficult task when face to face meetings aren’t possible. However, video conferencing via Zoom, GoogleHangouts or Skype during an online team breakfast or Friday virtual drinks is a fantastic way to introduce a new team member and involve not only your new starter but all employees.

It’s key to get them involved in group meetings straight away so that they feel like a crucial member of the team and understand from the get-go how the business works.

Initially in the first week, it would be useful to have 1-to-1 calls set up with individual members to find out more about what they do. Each member of the team will be able to give an insight into company values and culture. It can be quite daunting to speak to a large team of people you have never properly met before and these smaller conversations will allow them to deep dive into more informative discussions as well as break the ice.

Training someone remotely

Remote training can actually be made quite simple via screen sharing and video demonstrations. Following tutorials or guides independently and reconvening together via video call at the end of the day will allow you to check in regularly and keep a steady eye on their development. Chances are, you won’t always be available immediately to answer emails or calls, unlike if you were sat on the same desk together. You might consider a mentor or member of the team who can be on standby for any questions they may have.

Providing a checklist and setting clear goals

Clearly communicating expectations and putting a structure in place, whether that’s a checklist or weekly/monthly goals to achieve will keep your employee on a clear path. There are some fantastic platforms out there for managing teams & their workflows remotely these include Trello, Asana & Jira.

Communication is key

Make a conscious effort to over communicate and keep in touch with your new starters, given the nature of remote situations, anything less could quickly and easily lead to a sense of isolation.

Reach out to them personally if there is anything going on directly related to them or relevant to their role, even if it’s just to ask for their opinion or give them a heads-up that X, Y, and Z will be happening.

When trying to successfully on-board a new starter, aim to make everyone feel like they’re a part of the team and that you’re doing everything you can to treat them the same way you treat all the other employees.

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