How to Onboard Remote Employees

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve already gone through the first couple stages of hiring a new remote employee. Or, perhaps you’re preparing your self as you navigate new hiring processes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Either way, we’re here for you and can help your new recruit transition into your company as seamlessly as possible.

The key to a successful onboarding plan is to set clear expectations and boundaries. Although many of us are just starting to fully embrace 100% remote work, those companies who have been doing this for a while always have their own set of values and policies. Make sure you are very transparent about yours when onboarding a new team member.

A good way to do this is to write up a detailed onboarding checklist with all the information your new hire will need to transition into the company smoothly. Here are some key points to discuss:

1. Work schedules
Be clear about specific time blocks during which your remote employees must be online and available. Some companies don’t care when their remote employees work, as long as they deliver quality work on time. Others have less flexible policies when it comes to defined work hours. This is especially true for remote companies that rely on collaborative team efforts and constant communication. To avoid any misunderstandings with new hires, make sure to communicate your company’s work from home policies off the bat.

2. Time zones
When discussing expectations concerning work hours, it’s easy to overlook time zones. As an employer, make sure new hires have a solid understanding of where in the world their coworkers are located. This will eliminate any confusion or frustration when it comes to team collaboration, task management and availability. Consider providing a team map or cheat sheet that lists each employee’s time zone and availability. Another great tip is to create a shared or public calendar to display employee availability to everyone. Trust me, it makes scheduling meetings so much easier.

3. Communication agreements
Many fully remote companies use multiple different platforms for communication and task management. During the onboarding process, make sure new remote employees understand which forms of communication require an immediate response, and which ones are less urgent.  When writing a communication agreement. It lists various forms of communication platforms used within a company and the corresponding levels of urgency.

This agreement clearly states that any messages sent within the Slack platform should be responded to immediately, and so on. Simple, clear, and concise.

4. Video chat and record meetings
To reduce any chance of miscommunication or misunderstandings during the onboarding process, use video chat and record conversations whenever possible.  Communicating “face-to-face” with your new remote employee will help the onboarding process feel a lot more natural. Simulating in-person interaction is key for making new hires feel comfortable in a new job, welcomed and part of the team. For the best user experience, convenience and ease of use, Remo is the perfect tool for this.

Recording the onboarding process can also be very useful for new remote employees.

5. Productivity and task management tools
Have a list of the core tools and apps integral to the functions of your company. It’s best to decide which tools your new remote employee will need before onboarding. This way, your new hire will be set up and ready to go the minute they start working.

6. Frequent check-ins
Joining a new company can be intimidating, especially if your new remote employee is entering an unfamiliar space. Check-in often (biweekly or weekly) with your new hire to see how they’re doing. Frequent check-ins will help new employees feel supported and keep them from feeling overwhelmed.

7. 90-day roadmap
When onboarding a remote employee, it’s good to set clear goals to keep new hires from feeling lost or overwhelmed. A 90-day roadmap plan is a great way to keep new hires feeling engaged and productive while working toward a clear and defined objective. You may format the roadmap any way you like, it just needs to have a list of actionable tasks that the new hire can complete within those 90 days.

The roadmap approach also allows an employer to give recognition to a new hire early in the onboarding stage. This gives new hires a space to shine succeed early on, which has been known to boost confidence and improve longevity with the company.

Over to you!

Now you have a plan for successful onboarding new remote employees. After all, executing a smooth onboarding plan is only possible if you have the right tools.