Successful remote onboarding requires careful planning. When done well, it has a lasting impact on employee retention. You never have a second chance to create a good first impression.
Creating a 90-day remote onboarding plan will assure a great experience for employees. It will instill a feeling of belonging and purpose in them.
What is remote onboarding?
Employee onboarding is a set of activities designed to introduce new hires to their team. Familiarize them with the company culture, values, procedures, and tools. When onboarding remote employees, the employer uses the same in-person onboarding procedure.
For employees, onboarding program is a process to adjust to a new workplace. It is also a wonderful opportunity for employers to discuss the prospect of success.
An effective onboarding experience resembles boarding an airplane. At the beginning of a journey, a designated person greets you. They assist you in locating your seat and learning how to adapt. So that your trip is comfortable and you arrive at your destination safely.
Although the remote onboarding process is identical to in-person onboarding.
Successful remote onboarding programs should assist new remote workers to:
- Comprehend their responsibilities and tasks
- Learn the company’s culture, regulations, and procedures
- Become familiar with the platforms and tools they will be using
- Acquaint themselves with their teammates
- Feel welcome
Things to consider when onboarding new employees in a remote environment
Before onboarding new remote employees, make sure to answer these questions:
- Does the new hire have previous remote work experience?
- Does the company need to make new documents to show internal processes and procedures or is it ready for use?
- What tools does the company have at its disposal?
- How much time & resources does the company want to dedicate to this process?
Things to keep in mind:
- An effective remote onboarding should equip new hires with all the tools for job success. It includes a thorough awareness of company culture, values, and expectations.
- Remote employees miss out on many of the informal interactions that occur in the office. Keep them informed about everything from workplace culture to project updates. Repeat the explanation when it feels needed. Social dynamics are opaque in remote work.
- Onboarding remote employees requires a major investment of time and resources. Have a detailed plan to ensure that everyone involved is aware of what must occur and when.
- Introduce the new employee to the team members during the first week of onboarding. This is also an excellent chance for managers to build relationships. It prepares to answer questions or concerns that may arise during the initial few weeks of work.
- Consider utilizing video call tools such as Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams for formal work meetings. Shift to a casual hangout space like Gather, Sprout or Topia for work socials.
- It is a good idea to offer a list of resources to remote workers. So that they know where to get everything they need to perform their jobs.
Communicating company values through the remote onboarding process
The onboarding process is a key moment to share the company’s core values. Communicating these can promote cooperation and teamwork. Help establish rapport, and improve collaboration with your remote team in general. You must explain your company’s core values as soon as possible. It will ensure that you and new employees are on the same page from day one.
Strong and open communication is the heart of every business. If this emphasis is not placed from the outset, you may face challenges such as:
- high employee turnover
- disengaged and unmotivated workers
To communicate the core values effectively, you need to:
Survey: Determine the employee’s awareness of your company’s values. Set aside time at least twice a year to create a survey. Employees may provide feedback and give you a better sense of improvement.
Train: Ensure that you provide the appropriate tools and information throughout training. Continue to refine them as your organization and employees progress.
Listen: Listening to your employees at all levels creates greater communication and trust. It may also lead to new business prospects and beneficial changes. But only if you are ready to listen to and comprehend what employees have to say.
Simply put, highly engaged employees are very productive. It’s important to communicate your company’s values from day one. It helps employees contribute even more to the growth of your company.
Team building activity ideas to onboard remote employees
New Hire Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Remote onboarding might not be as easy as in-person onboarding. This is where online team-building activities like a virtual scavenger hunt can help. With such activities, your new hires will have a better onboarding experience. It can help them break the ice and start long-term work friendships.
This scavenger hunt can take employees on a journey to help them get through the first 90 days (or beyond).
Employees can take images and videos of themselves fulfilling various “challenges”. It should relate to company culture, socialization, learning, and more. (Take Scafivy for example). You can also incorporate quizzes to reinforce essential information. Educate them about the organization in an automated, engaging way.
Check our list of 20 Virtual Team Building Activities for 2022 for more ideas.
Many businesses that used to work in the same office utilized lunch as a bonding opportunity. You can create this opportunity in your virtual space by sending each employee a gift card for lunch. Invite everyone to a virtual lunch, where they can socialize and unwind.
Have Fun in Virtual Office Games
When you have a new recruit on the team, team-building games are an awesome approach. It may be a fantastic way for your team to engage with one another. It reinforces existing relationships. And helps the existing team learn how to work with your new team members.
These kinds of activities help your new team members form new friendships. It allows them to get to know their coworkers while having fun.
Check out our favorite 10 Easy-to-Play Online Building Games for more ideas
Reflect and Focus with Breath-Work Meditation
Breathwork & Meditation for Productivity is good for team bonding. It demonstrates to new hires that you care about their well-being and for them as individuals. Invite your teams to take part in group meditations. Also, invite them to share their personal tips to manage stress during the workweek.
Relieving tension as a group can be a useful strategy. This type of activity can be a powerful way to foster meaningful relationships
Play Virtual Trivia Games
Almost everyone enjoys trivia. New employees can learn about their coworkers while having fun in team-building activities. You can also incorporate knowledge about their new job and the company culture.
Check out our 100 Fun Team Trivia Questions & Answers for Team Building 
Send Out Virtual Care Package
This is a wonderful way of providing new employees with a small, fun reward for joining the company. You can offer these new employees gift cards and virtual gifts.
Include a welcome letter and a welcome video from team members to make it extra special.
Remote Onboarding Tools
|Remote Worker Hiring Toolkit||LinkedIn and Facebook Groups are great platforms for sourcing candidates.|
|Video Calling Tool||Zoom or Google Meet are superb tools to seek visual hints during the interview. Check the applicant’s home office setup, talk and connect with the new hire during onboarding.|
|Emails||Google Workspace is the most used, perfect for work emails.|
|Chats||Slack centralizes all of your communication into one place, and integrates with your existing tools—perfect for distributed teams.|
|Welcome kits||Google Apps is a cloud-based suite of productivity applications. You can create and store spreadsheets, documents, and presentations of your welcome kit, making it great for remote onboarding.|
|Documents & signatures||DocuSign is a free document signing tool that allows organizations to manage essential agreements digitally. You can also use it for new hire identity verification during remote onboarding.|
|Checklists||TickTick is a task management app that operates across multiple platforms.|
|Employee database||Zenefits works best for paperless employee onboarding.|
** recommendations for remote workers where tax/contracts is easy to take care of across borders
|Deel or Wise work best if you have a team of international remote workers.|
|Learning & growth||Nuclino is an internal wiki creation platform that makes it simple to gather together knowledge, documents, and projects in one place.|
|Employee survey||SurveyLab is an easy-to-use survey and questionnaire tool with a multitude of features designed to assist managers in understanding the employee experience.|
|Task management||Monday.com can handle any project’s workflow management. It will allow you to assign and track assignments across teams and projects, as well as follow processes.|
|Asynchronous work||Miro or Notion provide an engaging, intuitive in-person collaboration experience with many options for real-time or asynchronous teamwork.|
|Synchronous work||Zoom/Google Meet is probably the best synchronous communication tool for managing remote teams.|
|Company knowledge base||Document360 has a user-friendly interface and search features, and it can be used to develop both internal and external knowledge bases.|
What Is The Remote Onboarding Process?
The procedure between contract signing and first-day login must be seamless. Remote employees will need uninterrupted access to email accounts, business, and training wikis. Offer them the tools and equipment they need to work without worry.
Remote or in-person, the purpose of onboarding is to ease new hires into your organization. A nice pre-boarding experience will energize your employee. Pre-boarding a remote employee eliminates all friction for a smooth onboarding process.
Before your new employee clocks in for the first time, they will have to fill out your company’s paperwork. Send their letter of the offer during the week leading up to the first day of work. The offer letter should explain:
- policies about time off
Send all legal and tax-related papers in the next step.
When you hire remote workers, you need to create local entities in the appropriate region. What you need:
- Generate contracts that follow local regulations.
- Follow local labor laws.
- Determine health benefits based on the employee’s country of origin.
Local authorities may pursue criminal charges if the above-mentioned issues are not addressed.
Third, set up their payroll. Finally, provide materials to assist them in learning the medical and other benefits.
Set Your Communication Preferences and Security Protocols
Teach your new hire how to communicate with their peers and higher-ups in the most effective way.
Provide step-by-step instructions for setting up:
- Email address for the company
- Tool for group messaging
- Conferencing via video
In the employee handbook, include information on communication dos and don’ts. Next, set up a remote meeting with the IT department for your new hire. Inform your remote workers about the company’s security policies. Train them how to use:
- proper file-sharing apps
- cloud backup software
- password management
- data encryption technologies
Orientation, Introduction & Training
When new employee arrives for their first day of work, they are usually happy and excited. Yet, it’s natural that your new employee feels stress and worry too.
For a remote employee, things aren’t as simple as they appear. Remote work relates to feelings of loneliness and isolation. It’s your job to make sure these things don’t happen to your new hire on their first day.
Here are three things you may take to ensure a successful remote onboarding process:
Assigning a mentor or a peer buddy to your new hire will ease both your and your new hire’s stress levels.
Conducting virtual introductions. Remote employees do not have the opportunity to meet their coworkers. As an alternative, a virtual happy hour or coffee break might bring them together. Encourage team members to introduce themselves in a traditional manner. Or, you may use social networking sites or a Slack channel and plan a game session to break the ice.
Create interesting virtual training sessions. A virtual training session necessitates the precise organization to incorporate fun and collaboration. Virtual training is usually pre-recorded in most businesses. New hires receive self-paced training materials or wikis to learn about the company. A well-planned training session should be part of your virtual onboarding process. Create interactive training courses using gamified content, such as quizzes and games. Pre-record product demos to use in videos to illustrate product features. After each training session, keep track of your new hire’s performance.
Draw Up a List of Responsibilities
An excellent virtual onboarding will transform your new hire into a motivated employee. They would have a solid goal and fit with the workplace culture, the etiquette, etc.
Managers must explain goals, expectations, and priorities effectively. Miscommunication can result in unwarranted anxiety. And working remotely does not ease the problem. Create a task log for your employee so they can comprehend the extent of their work. The tracker must communicate the timeline, duties, and priorities.
Let your remote new hire collaborate with a team member to prevent feelings of isolation. Collaboration occurs naturally in the workplace. Yet, remote work mitigates such occurrences.
Your onboarding strategy should make sure your new hire is ready for collaboration. Even if their job description does not call for it. Shadowing the duties of a cross-functional team can form an opportunity for collaboration.
Remember that your employees need help with many duties, so training should continue. With an effective onboarding procedure in place, they can complete duties independently. They will know who to contact and how to do so.
90-Day Remote Onboarding Plan
A good way to make sure that new employees get off to the best possible start is to have a 90-day onboarding plan. Studies show that a good onboarding process leads to higher retention and productivity.
So, let’s get planning. We will outline key actions to take within the first 90 days of your new hire’s employment. A well-planned onboarding will guarantee they become a long-term, valuable employee.
A week before Day 1: Introductions and early paperwork completion
Before their start date, you should:
- Send welcome email to your new hires.
- Begin by giving them a week-by-week schedule.
- If they have questions, make yourself available to answer them.
A little coaching before a new employee’s arrival can go a long way toward ensuring their success. You should also choose your new hire a mentor from your team. A more senior employee in a comparable role is ideal to become a mentor. Have them complete all the necessary paperwork beforehand. It will maximize your new employee’s time during their first week on the job.
3 Days Before: Assist remote employees in setting up their workspaces
Adjusting this procedure will save you and your remote employees a great deal of stress. The onboarding procedure should always be adaptable and evolve as the organization expands.
To help your remote employees set up their workspace, you need to do the following:
- If you ask staff to provide certain equipment, provide an interactive survey checklist. Google Forms is one free option. This will make sure they get what they need.
- Double-check when you are providing the equipment. Make sure that your shipping and verification procedures are foolproof and documented.
Always have remote employees test your video conferencing software in their home office. These gadgets may be the only means for remote workers to establish connections. Before they begin working, assist them in identifying and rectifying any technical problems. Like internet connectivity or CPU problems.
Day 1: Make new hires feel like they’re part of the team
Employees are more motivated to succeed when they feel like they belong on the team. Remote workers might be able to pick up on-site team vibes, but you should still let them know they’re a part of the team by:
- Sending the new hire a curated welcome kit and making sure that it arrives in time before their first day.
- Sharing a welcome video from your team. Take inspiration from Vidyard.
- Have a designated person to start a welcome party in Slack!
- Set up a personalized quiz with “get to know you” questions for new hires to answer. This will encourage senior employees to find out more about their new coworkers.
- Providing a virtual office tour. The formats can be interactive photos, static photo slideshows, or a video office tour.
You’ve noticed a pattern: the goal for a new employee’s first day should be to make it memorable. This implies no paperwork (which they should have done ahead of time anyhow) and no training. In the next few weeks, there will be plenty of time for the training.
Days 2 – 10: Training, Goal Setting, Help New Employees Build Relationships, & Initial Feedback
Training & Goal Setting
Now that the crucial first day is over, it’s time to get to work. Plan first training sessions on important tools and procedures. Conduct virtual meetings to go through their role and responsibilities in greater depth. Invite them to add goals that excite them. Use a task management tool to provide a good workflow and transparency. It will keep managers from over-checking. Make time to discuss your company’s history, culture, and values.
That last point is often ignored, yet it is critical for an effective onboarding process. Why? Because only 11 percent of new hires fail because they lack the essential hard skills for the role. The reasons are due to a cultural incompatibility in motivation, temperament, or communication.
Studies show employees who are culturally fit are more productive and more committed. Things to learn: don’t expect your new employee to fit in with your company’s culture right away—teach it to them.
Help New Employees Build Relationships
Solid work relationships improve retention and job satisfaction. The rules remain the same for remote teams, but the game has evolved. In this phase, it’s a good opportunity for managers to help new employees build relationships by:
- Participating in a virtual team-building activity at least once a month
- Have your new employee shadow working in different departments. This will assist them to grasp how your company runs as a whole and how their role fits into the bigger picture. It can also foster future collaboration across cross functional teams.
- Pairing the new employee with other team members for virtual tea/coffee. If your organization utilizes Slack, the Donut integration simplifies this procedure.
- Maintaining the regular manager check-in meetings.
Send out a survey to gather initial feedback on your remote onboarding process. It’s possible that you’re going too fast. Or your new hire is still confused by certain regulations or policies. You won’t know unless you provide your new hire the opportunity to tell you. This data can also help you enhance the onboarding process for the next employee.
Days 10-30: New Remote Work Routine & Ongoing Remote Team Building
New Remote Work Routine
In 30 days, your new hire should have enough understanding to begin the daily tasks. Even if they don’t contribute much, your new employee should have a routine of team meetings. Once you’ve established the trust, you can reveal your company’s strategy in depth.
Ongoing Remote Team Building
After the initial rush of onboarding, don’t allow your employees’ activity to dwindle. These employees will need ongoing virtual interaction to remain engaged. To achieve this, create a regular rotation of remote team-building experiences. Choose volunteers to ensure that consistent activities occur and to check participation.
Days 30-60: Collaboration, Employee Recognition & Career Planning
Important Work & Employee Recognition
The next plan is to keep remote employees involved by immersing them in important work. You can start by including them in urgent projects and other problem-solving events. In the second month, you should assign your new employee their first major project. They can collaborate on an existing project or start a new one with help from their mentor. Keep in mind that they must have someone supervise and check their work.
This allows new employees to prove their skills and feel like an essential part of the team. Provide ample recognition for accomplished activities and achieved targets. Recognition can help make remote employees feel valued.
Now, it’s time to begin planning for the long term. Discuss their career goals and figure out a possible path within the company. It’s important as most employees, especially millenials, value opportunities for career growth. Even if plans change, having a conversation can greatly improve new employee engagement.
Days 61-90: Independence, Performance Review, Final Assessment, Employee Happiness & Satisfaction, Celebrate the Completion of Onboarding
Review the first collaborative project. If everything went well, you can assign them their first solo project in the third month. Remember to assess project goals and communicate precisely what defines project success. Don’t allow any room for uncertainty.
Performance Review & Final Assessment
At the end of the first 90 days, do the first performance review with your new employee. This is a good moment to reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and where your new hire needs to improve in the future. It’s a two-way conversation. Your new hire should provide feedback on what works and doesn’t work about the onboarding too.
Employee Happiness & Satisfaction
Satisfied and engaged remote employees are our goals for this remote onboarding process. Find ways to measure the performance of your onboarding program. So that you can either celebrate achieving your final goal or make adjustments to reach it.
Celebrate the Completion of Onboarding
There’s a lot to be happy about once onboarding is complete. If you’ve met all your goals:
- Your new remote employees will know a huge number of individuals within your company.
- Have a thorough understanding of your business.
- Have worked on some significant projects.
Make a decision about how your company will conclude the onboarding process. Is the new employee, for instance, “completely onboarded”:
- After six months, regardless?
- After completing three high-level projects?
- When they complete a test or assignment?
Celebrate it in a way that’s aligned with your company’s culture:
- Virtual Gelato Party
- Virtual Gifts
- Virtual Happy Hour
- In-person Celebration
Quick tips for onboarding remote employees
Remote Onboarding Best Practices
Most Employees Seek On-the-Job Training with a Mentor
Usually, firms give wikis and SOPs for new hires to learn about the company, the industry, and their goals. Employees tend to get overwhelmed because of this.
This deluge of information increases their anxiety and makes them feel lost. As a result, you’ll need to assign a peer buddy or a mentor to help your new hire get started. Most of the time, virtual onboarding is a lonely experience. A mentor can assist your new hire in connecting to the organization.
Set Reasonable Expectations
Miscommunication is more likely during remote onboarding than during an in-person one. When you make a communication mistake, you send a lot of mixed messages. Remote onboarding that isn’t well planned can set the wrong expectations.
Best practices for setting clear expectations are communicating job descriptions and motivating employees.
An Immersive and Fun Experience
Onboarding a remote employee may be lacking in ice breakers and fun games. To increase your new hire’s morale and excitement, you may need to invest in remote team building.
These investments are worthwhile. The finest remote onboarding experience involves your employees from the start. Aside from explaining the goals and roles, a sense of purpose is important for new employees.
Things to Avoid When Onboarding Remote Employees
Having time and space to focus is one of the difficulties when you’re learning online. Don’t give your new hires too much information all at once; you don’t want to overwhelm them.
Always remember to keep your messaging focused and to the point. Offer your learners the space they need to get started with their onboarding process.
It is possible to become dependent on technology to the point of software weariness. Try to limit the number of remote tools and systems that new hires have access to. Only introduce new tools when necessary.
FAQ about remote onboarding
How do you welcome new remote employees?
First, formally introduce your new hire to the team and provide some background information. Ensure that the team understands the new employee’s position. To break the ice, organize some team games or activities involving the new employee.
Is onboarding similar to training?
Onboarding is different from training. Onboarding refers to the process of introducing new hires to management and the team. The process includes fundamental technologies such as project management and communication apps. Training is the longest and is the more difficult work of educating an employee on the ins and outs of their role.
How do you conduct virtual employee training?
Create easy instructional videos for the tasks they need to master. Hold one-on-one discussions with them to lead them through more complex duties. Request the help of other team members in teaching them.
What makes for an effective onboarding experience for remote employees?
An effective remote onboarding experience should lead to satisfied and engaged remote employees. The optimal experience guides new workers through:
- many engagement funnels
- including goal-setting
- meeting a large number of people
- jumping directly into work
- learning about the organization
How should a remote onboarding plan in 2022 be organized?
A checklist format is an ideal way to organize a remote onboarding plan. It explains the steps of onboarding and what you need to complete in each phase. (We designed a free one for you in this blog post). You don’t have to worry about where or how to begin when you use a simple sequential checklist.
Is a remote onboarding process beneficial for remote employees?
A remote onboarding experience helps remote employees:
- Learn about the organization
- Get excited about coming to work
- Feel a sense of belonging to their distributed team.
The onboarding process is critical to establishing those feelings. It helps minimizing remote loneliness and poor communication.
So there you have it, a step-by-step guide to onboard remote employees in 90 days. What are your thoughts on the onboarding process for remote teams?