Essential Tips For Remote Onboarding Employees

Essential Tips For Remote Onboarding Employees

A big domino fell on May 12, and a chain reaction is likely to follow.

Twitter announced that its employees will be allowed to work from home forever, according to Buzzfeed News. We expect many companies to follow Twitter’s lead.

The remote work movement is not simply a temporary solution. Rather, it’s quickly becoming a new way of work-life for companies across the globe.

This article offers some tips for creating a company culture that is conducive to remote work. But what about hiring new employees who never set foot in the office? What is the best way to approach this?

Below are our suggestions.


Plan ahead

A big part of job satisfaction is feeling like you have the necessary resources to do your job well. Create an onboarding checklist for new employees, and list all of the software and hardware that needs to be ordered and configured. A VPN may be necessary for employees to access your network.

Also, provide remote employees with an updated toolset for communication (i.e. Slack, Zoom, etc.) and workflow (i.e. Asana, Notion, Monday, etc.). Beyond that, write detailed instructions on how your company expects employees to use these tools and who they can contact for support. Be ready to walk through this with new hires to avoid confusion.


Establish rules of engagement

It’s one thing for new employees to understand the scope of their jobs, but think about how they will learn about standard operating procedures, company culture, and the so-called unwritten rules of your company. In an office environment, employees can pick these things up through observation. For remote workers, these need to be spelled out.

How should employees handle being offline during work hours? Which forms of communication are OK? How do issues get escalated? Is it acceptable to send work emails during off-hours? Do computer cameras need to be on for meetings? What are the different layers of decision-making at the company?

These questions and many others may not be in your employee handbook. They should be addressed for remote workers.


Set goals, create accountability

One way to avoid having to babysit remote workers is by establishing goals. A supervisor can avoid worrying about superficial signals of “activity” if s/he knows their employees are on track to hit their designated goals.

Define specific deliverables that employees are responsible for beyond the goals, and identify the cadence for each deliverable. It’s easy in a tool like Asana or Evernote to create a checklist.

A 30, 60 or 90-day plan for new employees also is important. This helps to avoid miscommunication whether an employee is remote or not.


Build bridges

Remote employees may feel like they’re operating on an island. To avoid this, introduce new employees to other team members. Facilitate 1×1 meetings with new employees and their colleagues. Create a manager and team welcome video.

It also is helpful to list important contacts outside of a new employee’s department. This goes beyond HR, accounting, etc. Think about knowledge points inside the company.


Schedule essential meetings

On Day 1, a new employee should schedule 1×1 meetings with their direct supervisor. Their calendar also should include any departmental and company-wide meetings.

Don’t wait for a meeting to contact new employees. We recommend multiple check-ins throughout the day as s/he gets ramped up. These can tail off over time, but initially, the check-ins should be frequent.

To mimic the in-office environment, some companies are going beyond virtual meetings and keeping their video conferences on throughout the workday so they can see their colleagues working from home. This may seem extreme, but it illustrates how much value companies place on interaction and facetime.

Are you looking to scale your remote workforce? If you’d like to set up an appointment with one of our recruiters, email us at