Onboarding Remote Employees? Here Are 5 Best Practices You Need to Know

You already know that effective onboarding can increase retention, performance and job satisfaction. But does your onboarding program offer the same for your remote employees?

More than half of Americans (58%) are able to work remotely at least once a week, meaning that now is the perfect time to optimize your remote onboarding process if you haven’t already.

To help, we gathered five expert tips for onboarding remote employees to help you to create a meaningful and beneficial experience for your remote workers.

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1. Reduce the Distance and Get Connected

Remote working benefits both employees and their employers, but it can also pose its own challenges. For example, employees may feel disconnected from their colleagues or manager. This breakdown in communication can have a knock on effect on productivity.

Next time you’re onboarding remote employees, be sure to provide plenty of support to help them create strong connections within the business. For example, you can:

Provide Introductions: Make a warm welcome a fundamental part of your remote onboarding process. Whether they join you in the office for some initial training or it’s entirely virtual, making lasting connections is vital for developing a sense of community in your business. From a simple ‘Getting to Know You’ email filled with fun facts and a short bio, to a team lunch held in person or over video call, the more face time they get with their team and manager, the better.

Hold an In-Person Training: give your new remote employee a bit of time in the office while you show them the ropes. If you can schedule in-office time on a regular basis throughout the year, even better! At BambooHR, even if we’re onboarding remotely we still invite our new remote employees into the office for two weeks of training. Then, all our employees get together twice a year for an off-site meeting for teambuilding and training.

Use Tools For Digital Connection: Make the most of the tech you have available. Software like Teams, Yammer and Slack are great for speedy communication and building important relationships between team members. Having a platform where you can share vacation snaps, a video of your toddler’s first steps or a social invitation is just as important as project management tools like Asana and Jira.

2. Start Things Off Right with the Perfect Welcome Email

When it comes to remote onboarding, communication is key. Make new employees feel included in the team with the perfect welcome email. Not only will you make them feel like a valued member of the business, but this email will help their colleagues get to know them a little better.

Include this template on your remote employee onboarding checklist:

Hello team,

We are excited to welcome [employee’s name] to our team! [Employee’s name] will be starting on [starting date] as a [employee’s job title].

[Employee’s name] brings a lot to our team, [talk about experience and qualifications here]. They love to [add some fun facts/hobbies here].

We are lucky to have them and are looking forward to working with them! Be sure to introduce yourself!


[Your Name]

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3. Experiment with Remote Onboarding Activities

Feeling like the new kid at school can be tough. When you’re working remotely, it can feel even tougher. When you’re onboarding remote employees, try using some remote onboarding activities to keep people engaged. Something as simple as scheduling a call just to chat about life or listening to a collective playlist can be enough to make your team feel more connected.

Here are some other games and activities you could use for remote employee onboarding:

» Learn More: 40+ Fun Team-building Activities for Work

4. Save Time and Get Organized

Bringing new hires into the office for their inductions and training is a great way to make onboarding remotely feel less impersonal.

However, it also means that you probably have quite a limited amount of time to get everything done. As soon as they become fully remote, it can be more difficult for them to gain access to certain files, sign documents, complete their training and get timely answers.

When time is of the essence, try to keep these ideas in mind to help organize your remote onboarding sessions:

5. Establish Regular Feedback Loops

One of the most important things to any team member is employee feedback. This can sometimes slip through the cracks if a team member is working remotely.

Without proper communication, a remote employee may feel like their progress is stunted, leaving managers frustrated.

As part of the process for onboarding new employees remotely, be sure to set and manage expectations and provide opportunities for feedback throughout. Some key tips include:

Onboarding remotely can be a challenge. However, with the right planning, the right software and the right attitude, you can save time and help your new employees make lasting connections. Follow these remote onboarding best practices and you’ll soon have a positive, hard-working and satisfied remote employee.

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BambooHR helps you build an effective onboarding process with customizable onboarding checklists, welcome emails, and new hire packets—so every new hire feels welcome on day one.

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