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Learning & Development Blog

remote onboarding

Best Practices for Remote Onboarding

If you have any experience in the L&D field, you probably know that successful onboarding is one of the most important steps to ensure new hire success. Onboarding provides an array of different benefits to new employees, from helping them align with company culture to getting them performing in their roles sooner. Previously, onboarding was often intertwined with other new hire norms, such as meeting coworkers around the office and attending in-person meetings. Given the state of work today, many of these organic integration opportunities are suddenly non-existent. Remote teams need to find new ways to onboard employees effectively. Fortunately, we have developed a resource to help solve this issue, saving your company money, time, and effort when adding members to your team.

In its simplest form, onboarding is a new hire’s opportunity to become familiar with their team and learn more about their new employer. Companies benefit from exposing new hires to a variety of different activities that allow them to grow as a professional and feel more comfortable in their new role. Remote employee onboarding has all the same goals as regular employee onboarding but is focused on employees who will be joining the team in a completely remote role. As you may assume, this provides a unique set of challenges that must be overcome to ensure successful onboarding.

Unlike a simple employee orientation, which typically lasts a few hours, onboarding is an involved process that can last anywhere from two weeks to six months. Because this is such a large undertaking for you and your company, it is easiest to break it into four separate phases: pre-onboarding, orientation, first tasks, and performance support.

1. Pre-onboarding consists of everything up to the first day on the job. Much of this phase is about introducing the new employee to their role, getting them in touch with future coworkers, and ensuring all of the paperwork is completed. Furthermore, creating accounts for the new hire in your communication, collaboration, and productivity software should be done here. This is also a great time to introduce information on the company values and culture.

2. Orientation should provide your new hire with all the information and resources they need to begin work in their role. This is a great time to have meetings with the team as a whole and an additional 1:1 meeting with their manager. In these meetings, work to set goals for the first few months of employment and ensure any outstanding questions are answered. Finally, consider providing your new hire with training that is tailored to their role, but also provides a “big picture” view of how things are done within the company.

3. First tasks should focus on cross-team collaboration and knowledge discovery. What does this mean? Try to help your new hire find ways to contribute without throwing them in blind. This is a great time to increase collaborative spirit, knowledge of company processes, and build confidence.

4. Performance support is the best way to ensure information sticks. You cannot put your new hire through several weeks of training and then completely cut off their help lines. Performance support is about more than just saying “let me know if you need anything!” It is about ensuring that your employee has the tools available to them to solve problems and complete tasks.


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Doing all of this in a virtual work environment can be tough. We recommend developing a plan for all new hires that will save your company time, effort, and money. By making the decision to create a training program now, you will be saving yourself the stress of onboarding new employees later. One great way to start is by developing a virtual orientation that can be used for new hires across your organization. Unlike the full onboarding process, orientation can typically be broader, focusing on the company and its processes as a whole. If you are looking to fully support your new hires, conducting a training needs analysis and understanding the needs of each particular role within your company or team is a great first step.

Throughout the onboarding process, it is important to keep in mind that your new hire is just as familiar (or unfamiliar) with remote work as you are. This means that it is essential that you continue to grow and adapt to ensure that new hires are getting the information and resources they need to succeed.

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