Onboarding Remote Employees

Attract, develop and retain the right talent with collaborative live onboarding & training experiences.

Take a Tour

The days of winging it or throwing an onboarding together at the last minute are over. Virtual onboarding and at-home operations are here to stay. Companies around the world were pushed over the past two years to accommodate their employees as they grew accustomed to working at their kitchen tables and attending Zoom meetings in their pajama pants. 

Today, many companies prefer working with and onboarding remote employees rather than going back to a full in-office team. Companies in most industries have discovered valuable ways to incorporate at-home employees even as they return to normal operations. Many employees also prefer to work at home in those fuzzy pajamas, creating a larger remote workforce than we have ever seen before. 

That’s probably why you’re here, ready to learn how to onboard a new employee virtually. Perhaps you’re ready for your first virtual onboarding and know that flying by the seat of your pants is no longer an option. Doing things online simply requires more structure and planning, right? 

Maybe you’ve tried your hand at a virtual onboarding, and it didn’t go as smoothly as you hoped. That is happening to businesses everywhere, but don’t let it discourage you from trying again. Even if you have years of virtual onboarding experience, you know there are new strategies and technologies that can improve your process. 

The secret to successfully onboarding online is to have the right tools. More specifically, have all the right tools in one convenient location. That saves you a lot of time and ensures a more rewarding virtual onboarding experience for each of your new employees. 

It’s true that onboarding remote workers takes a bit more planning because you can’t just walk them around the office and allow them to shadow other employees to get the lay of the land. You have to present everything from a distance and keep those remote workers engaged. 

Luckily, it doesn’t have to take as much time as you might think! 

With one powerful tool and a bit of time setting it up, you can create a winning onboarding strategy that sends the right message to each new employee.

See how Filo takes events, workshops and meetings to the next level.

Take a Tour

Benefits of Remote Onboarding 

There are some real benefits of remote onboarding, even if you do feel overwhelmed at the thought of making it all work. 

  • You don’t have to recreate the experience for every new employee. Videos allow members of your team to make one contribution to the onboarding process that is replayed for every incoming employee. Create the content once and use it until an update is necessary. 
  • Orientations, meetings, and training sessions will never disrupt work happening in the office. You can hold an orientation with 50 or more new hires without impacting any of your current employees because it’s all happening virtually. The days of parading new hires through the office and forcing everyone to stop working and say hello are over. 
  • Creating your content in advance allows you to rewrite, rethink, re-record, and adjust all content until it’s perfect. You may still have some live components where mistakes are possible, but you have a lot of control to perfect much of the content before welcoming your new employees. 

Those are just a few of the universal benefits of virtual onboarding. You will likely find many additional benefits specific to your company as you work through the process and learn a few tricks for success. 

Tips for Onboarding Remote Employees 

Every company should develop their own remote onboarding best practices that reflect their unique industry, goals, and culture. That happens naturally over time as you gain experience onboarding remote workers. While you’re in the beginning stages, it helps to work off a set of effective tips for onboarding remote employees.

Let’s get started right now with a few powerful tips for the virtual onboarding process: 

  • Before creating your virtual onboarding system, write down exactly what you want to accomplish through the onboarding and how you want your new employees to feel at the end. You can then brainstorm activities, tasks, and features that will help you reach those goals. You now have a checklist that serves as the framework for your onboarding process. 
  • Establish communication prior to day one. Once a job offer is extended, your new employee will start to prepare for their first day. They will feel uneasy if they don’t hear from you until the night before and that communication includes only a link to click the next morning. It’s better to give them more time to prepare by sending an email or perhaps even a video to explain how your process works. Give them a warm welcome before they even login for day one. 
  • Incorporate members of your team from all levels. It’s common for new employees to watch a recorded greeting from the CEO or another member of the administrative team, but don’t leave it at that. Greet your new employees on day one with videos or live talks and question and answer sessions with employees at all levels of the chain. You want the new hires to feel connected and part of the team. 
  • Use technology to make sure every aspect of the onboarding is contained in one convenient place. It’s best to customize a virtual workspace where each new employee can follow all components of the onboarding seamlessly. 

Each time you hold a successful onboarding online, take an afternoon to start developing your own virtual onboarding best practices. As you add detail and refine those best practices, you will create an onboarding system that is time and cost-effective for your company. 

Virtual Onboarding Process – Getting Your System in Place

The days of throwing an onboarding together at the last minute or winging it when the new employee walks in the door are over, right? That means you should start working through the virtual onboarding process at least a week or two in advance. If you intend to create unique video content, then you may need even more time. 

The good news is that you can refine your onboarding system with time. Get it as close to what you want as possible before your next onboarding, and then continue to adjust and add until it’s perfect. You will still need to make occasional adjustments because nothing ever stays the same in business.

Consider this quick virtual onboarding checklist for an overview of what planning for onboarding virtually looks like in real life: 

  • Make sure your new hires have everything they need prior to day one. If you’re sending laptops, headsets, or other equipment to your employees, reach out to make sure they have all received and setup that equipment. You may also want to ensure all human resources paperwork is filled out to satisfaction and all pre-employment checks and verifications are complete. 
  • Write out your remote work policies. Many companies don’t have policies specific to remote employees, and that often leads to confusion and conflict. Take the time to establish clear policies for all aspects of remote work and prepare to share that before or during the onboarding. Make sure all expectations are clear.
  • Send a welcome email to each new hire’s personal email address. Include clear instructions on signing into your platform for day one. You may also want to give them access to company email and other programs that they will need during onboarding or to do their jobs after their introduction. 
  • Coordinate with all members of your team who will play a role in onboarding. Schedule meetings to create pre-written or recorded content, and make sure their schedules are free for live onboarding appearances. 
  • Create all onboarding content and determine the flow between pre-created resources and live sessions. Make sure every component flows together and there is a clear schedule for your new hires on day one and beyond. 
  • Make sure all training and other assignments are put together in an intuitive manner. You don’t want technical difficulties as your new hires work independently after day one. 

You can add items to this remote employee onboarding checklist to make it work for your company. 

Creating Your Remote Onboarding Culture 

Do you have an identifiable culture for your company? What about the vibe when someone walks into your offices, reads your company blog, or interacts with members of your team on social media? Culture is important because it helps define a brand and pulls employees together as one cohesive team. 

You want to create a remote onboarding culture for the same reasons. A bad onboarding experience could leave new hires with a negative view of the company. That in turn may lead to employee retention problems down the road. 

You will gradually build the culture of your onboarding experience just as your company’s culture evolves over time. In the meantime, start by acknowledging your biggest virtual onboarding challenges and asking for virtual onboarding feedback from recently hired employees. 

Tip: Use your company culture as a guide for your onboarding process. Aim for consistency whether an employee works in your office or from afar. 

Don’t Forget the Onboarding Email to New Employees 

It’s important to send a follow-up email for onboarding process. We mentioned this briefly earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. Don’t leave communication to day one or the night before. Send a detailed onboarding email to new employees that states when and how they can access their day one onboarding and any training to follow. 

Start this email by telling your new employees how happy you are to have them on board. Show your enthusiasm for expanding your team, and use their first name to make it sound genuine and personal. 

When you’re ready to craft the email, look for a sample reply to welcome email for new employee online. You’ll find some great ideas for keeping it professional and brief while still getting your new hires excited for day one. 

Are you ready to start using the one and only tool you will need to create an amazing remote onboarding experience? Learn more about Filo.co and schedule your demo to get started.