The People Experience Blog

Making remote onboarding successful

May 2, 2020 4:42:15 PM / by Raj

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Disclaimer: At Engagepulse we remote onboard our own employees and our product has been created to make remote onboarding and managing distributed teams easier.


Hiring employee remotely or finally decided to take the plunge? Here is what you need to keep in mind.

An effective onboarding process is even more critical with remote employees as they don't get the opportunity to organically integrate with your company processes and culture.

It is important to differentiate between orientation and onboarding. Orientation can be a one time event when new hires are welcomed to the new organization, are introduced to the company mission and vision, fill up mandatory paperwork, learn about benefits, code of conduct, policies etc. Onboarding is a series of events spread over an extended period of time and ideally tailored to different roles. Orientation is just the start of the onboarding process. An extended onboarding period positively impacts retention. 


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We have written about the key elements to cover during onboarding here and discussed extended onboarding here. In this post, we revisit some finer details to keep in mind while welcoming a remote hire to your organization.

  1. Ensure there is a friendly spoc preparing the new hire for his/her first day. In a remote onboarding process your tonality on the phone and body language on the video call becomes even more important. After all the effort your company has put into its branding, the proof of it all for the new hire, is the voice on the phone or the person on the video call - so put your best foot forward!

  2. Ensure all onboarding documents can be accessed and signed with just a web browser - your new hire might not have a functional printer at home to print and sign. Have a system of records in place so that all mandatory documents can be read and signed in time. If you don't have something like this in place yet, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by using our digital onboarding workflows with Engagepulse.

  3. Try assigning an official email id prior to the first day at work and share the upcoming schedule on calendar. It is a good idea to do a dry run before the first session starts to ensure all systems on both sides are functional.

  4. You might end up using new tech for remote onboarding and keeping an IT resource handy will help you smoothen out last minute issues or guide a non tech savvy new hire.

  5. It's a good practice to have the org chart handy, ideally with images of other employees among other details. As a best practice, encourage employees to add their pics on chat handles etc. as that can help breed familiarity.

  6. A good way to break the silence during virtual introduction sessions is an ice breaker question. At Engagepulse our guys came up with "mention one embarrassing moment from your childhood". We got answers like "once I was bitten by a very small dog" and that kickstarts the series of questions and comments that follow!

  7. While using instant messaging for communication, keep it to one medium and limited channels. Too many channels of information can overwhelm and confuse the rookie. Do not hesitate to use emojis in your communication. Engagepulse offers you an always on communication platform to keep your Zoomers engaged.

  8. Videos make for more engaging onboarding content than word documents. Try incorporating videos in your onboarding process or you can just use Engagepulse.

  9. If you are feeling generous, arrange a surprise gift to arrive on the day of joining. If logistics is not your thing, you can send an Amazon gift card or use services like Evabot.

  10. Conduct constant check-ins to ensure everything is going smoothly for the new hire. Engagepulse helps you ask contextual questions during the onboarding period and beyond. You can covert feedback to action items and build trust along the way while improving your existing process.

  11. Share a checklist that is easily manageable between you and the new hire. You can do this and also manage goals and OKR's(Objectives & Key Results) with Engagepulse.

  12. Ensure that your managers have also adapted to the remote way of managing their teams. A robust feedback and OKR system can play an important role here.

  13. Pair the new hire with a mentor early on and involve him/her in team activities.

  14. One size does not fit all. Ensure your onboarding workflows are relevant to the needs of different roles and departments.

  15. In case your company has multiple locations, make sure the onboarding content is relevant for the new hire in a particular location.

    Employee Onboarding is a continuous process and a strong onboarding process will pay you dividends in long term retention. While we have covered just a few items, there will a lot more that can be added with the evolving definition of the workplace and the expectations of employees. You can either print out this checklist or just check out Engagepulse - we do all this for you in one system

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Tags: Employee Onboarding, Company Culture


Written by Raj