This remote onboarding checklist can help you assemble and use the best plan of action, coordination, and tools for welcoming new hires.
Here's what you need to know:
- Onboarding new employees virtually is something companies can do with the right amount of planning, coordination, and proper tools.
- Make sure to create a new virtual process, including communication with the new hire and hardware setup and delivery.
- Modify your content for virtual learning, including welcome binders and onboarding presentations.
- Hyper-plan the new employee's first 5 days.
Remote employees have become more commonplace in the past couple of years. A trend that started out of necessity has shifted so that many new employees prefer to work from home. Businesses have found that a good onboarding program for remote workers is absolutely essential. And many have discovered the value of a remote onboarding checklist.
It’s nice to start by sending out a welcome letter to your recently hired team members. This brings them into your fold, but there are many more tasks to complete. Moving to remote processes can be challenging, but planning and a thorough checklist, you can create a great experience for your current and future hires.
Our comprehensive remote onboarding checklist can help to guide you and your new remote employees every step of the way. If you’re considering taking your onboarding plan completely online, there are a few areas to consider as you map out a new hire’s entry into your organization.
Creating a new process
Before you commit to onboarding new employees remotely, meet with all departments involved in the onboarding process and develop a realistic plan of action. Items you’ll have to agree upon include:
Communication with the new hire
You can’t communicate with new remote hires the same way you do with people on-site. You’ll have to decide who will be responsible for sharing information with them regarding their first day, including providing a virtual version of your company orientation program. The remote onboarding checklist should include these items:
- Links to join video conferences and video calls.
- A clear agenda of what they should expect for their first few days.
- The device your new hires should use. They may need to connect through personal devices as you help them set up their work device.
- What time their onboarding sessions will begin and end.
- Instructions on how your remote employees can prepare for work. For example, they should have a strong WiFi connection, a quiet space to work, and a functioning camera.
This may be the first time the new hire is working remotely, so be as explicit and instructional as possible throughout your remote onboarding process.
Hardware delivery and setup for remote workers
Since this new hire won’t be in the office on their first day, if ever, you’ll have to ship their laptops to their home. Your checklist should cover:
- Naming who is responsible for shipping their hardware.
- Configuring some systems for the new employee before shipping it. How long will it take to set up the hardware and ship it? Before promising any start dates, you’ll have to take this time into consideration.
- Determining how much of the new hire’s laptop setup and profile logins you can complete before shipping the hardware. Setting up systems over video conferences can be a painful experience for new employees. The more you can do in advance, the better.
- How to share passwords and login credentials safely.
Essentially, you want to provide your remote hire with all the tools and messaging apps they’ll need for real-time online communication. Give your new team members everything they need to get off to a strong start.
Shifting new hire paperwork to remote processes
Hiring managers and HR staff who are working to onboard remote employees have a lot of essential d to complete as a part of the onboarding program. Working remotely doesn’t change this, but it does alter how you’ll do it.
Items you can shift online include:
- Signing tax documents and an I-9 form.
- Choosing employee benefits.
- Signing company-specific documents or agreements (including NDAs and non-compete forms).
- Signing the employment contract, along with other legal documents or company-mandated forms.
Modifying your content for virtual onboarding and learning
If you have an onboarding process, you might need to modify your content to make it accessible for virtual workers. Here is some of the content you might need to rework:
If you typically hand new hires a welcome package or binder full of useful documents, these will now have to be organized into a PDF-style document and sent out digitally.
Onboarding presentations for employees’ 1st week
If you typically introduce the company with an in-person presentation, you’ll have to modify that to suit virtual learning. For example, if you usually stream a YouTube video in class, remember that the video might not stream properly over screen sharing and thus won’t provide a good experience for the learner. Make sure to include visual aids on your screen if you’re explaining anything out loud so the employee can follow along and have a more positive onboarding experience.
Instructional eLearning to help virtual employees succeed
If you typically have the learner sit with a coworker to review tools and systems, consider replacing that with short eLearning instructional videos. You can still provide your employees with a welcome buddy or some other go-to person to answer questions and give directions.
Planning the first week for new team members
If your new hire is starting remotely, you’ll have to work with your managers to hyper-plan their first 5 days, because they won’t have colleagues around to point them in the right direction. Consider scheduling the following events over video conference:
- Individual introductions to each of their teammates
- Overview of company culture
- Team virtual lunch
- Introduction to leaders in their team/cross-functional teams
- Introductions to support teams
- Assignment of 2-3 tasks they can complete over their first week
- Team meeting to discuss the team culture and expectations
Following a remote onboarding checklist will help to avoid a situation in which new employees are sitting at home alone wondering how they are going to fill their first few weeks of work.
As you deliver any content or presentations to new employees over video conference, check every couple minutes to make sure they are still engaged and participating. The onboarding process will set the tone for the new hire’s experience with the company, so it pays to invest in making your company orientation a great one!
Planning for remote employee onboarding benefits all parties
Proactively planning for remote onboarding benefits both the employer and the employee. Using HR onboarding software can also help the process go far more smoothly. It’s a worthy investment since remote work is almost certainly here to stay at some level.
Want to learn more about transitioning to remote work, onboarding remote employees, or other important topics small businesses should know? Visit our Workest blog.