Remote onboarding done right

During and even now after the global pandemic, the concept of remote working, and thus onboarding, has swiftly transitioned from a novelty to a necessity.

As businesses must embrace flexible work arrangements for good and geographical boundaries blur more and more, mastering the art of welcoming new remote employees has become quite paramount for success. While the challenges can seem daunting, implementing effective strategies can ensure that a seamless integration process for new hires, regardless of their physical location, can reliably happen. Here’s the best way to do remote onboarding.

Clear communication and comprehensive training

The absolute cornerstone of a successful remote work environment lies in establishing clear communication channels and providing comprehensive training materials. Utilising a mix of video conferencing, instant messaging platforms, and email ensures that new hires can easily connect with their colleagues and access essential information.

Meanwhile, comprehensive training materials, including instructional videos and written guides, empower employees to familiarise themselves with company processes and expectations at their own pace. Communication and accessibility should always be prioritised, laying the groundwork for a smooth onboarding experience that sets new hires up for success in a remote work environment.

Make sure to work as transparently as possible, too. Businesses should review their strategies; be that benefits, salary, or career development – basically all things HR. Communication is and will always be a two-way street. Issues can be dealt with, of course, as they develop. But from a business perspective, it’s always better to have a working framework in place, to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Connection and support through interaction and immersion

But beyond logical considerations, effective remote work still requires a human-centric approach focused on fostering connection, support, and cultural immersion.

“We have, after all, become very accustomed to looking each other in the eye and talking things through, making sure people are communicating at the same level,” says Brian James, Global Director of Employer Services for RSM Netherlands. “There is a challenge to doing this at a distance through digital realms.”

Interactive onboarding sessions, featuring virtual icebreakers, team-building exercises, and collaborative projects can and should still support facility engagement and camaraderie among remote teams. Implementing a virtual buddy system further enhances support by pairing new hires with experienced team members who can offer guidance and insights into the company culture.

They are important steps to foster a sense of belonging and shared identity among employees. Regardless of their physical location, and without the usual platform of being able to hold small talk or general interpersonal interactions.

Flexibility, adaptability, and recognition

A well-executed remote onboarding involves embracing flexibility, adaptability, and a genuine commitment to recognition and celebration. Recognising the unique needs and circumstances of each new hire, businesses must tailor the welcome and inclusion accordingly, accommodating different learning styles, time zones, and personal preferences.

Moreover, celebrating milestones throughout the onboarding journey can equally foster a sense of accomplishment and appreciation among new employees – demonstrating the organization’s commitment to supporting their growth and development. The goal needs to be to create a welcoming and inclusive remote experience. Something that empowers employees to thrive in their roles from day one.