How You Can Optimize Employee Onboarding in a Remote Workspace

Nikita Agarwal

Nikita Agarwal

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: August 25, 2021

COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of the remote working environment. While we are all trying to get back to ‘normal,’ one thing that is unlikely to change is going back to the office.

According to Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report,” 1 in 4 Americans will be working remotely in 2021.

Remote work has its own perk. For instance, businesses save money in terms of transportation or renting big offices. In fact, employees enjoy greater flexibility in terms of work-life balance.

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However, transitioning to a work-from-home model requires an unprecedented shift. There has been a change in how companies onboard new employees.

An effective onboarding process can improve retention. Companies are looking for ways in which they can add new hires to the mix.

Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees


The onboarding process is the key to building an engaging and productive workforce. And yet, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their companies do a great job onboarding employees.

Instead of focusing on the employees, companies focus too much on paperwork. Let’s look at some of the tips that can help improve the whole process of onboarding employees.

1. Start With Pre-Boarding

After a full virtual hiring process, a new employee might not feel comfortable if you aren’t proactively communicating with them.

Before their first day at work, you can try to make your new hire feel welcome. One way to do that is by sending them an onboarding package.

An onboarding package might include a welcome email, information about work culture and their team members, and more.

Text Welcome aboard on the blackboard on the desk

When you are starting off remotely, it’s easy to feel disconnected. To overcome uneasiness, a company named Adeva adds its new employee to its Slack network. Along with information about company culture, Adeva also shares projects that they will be working on prior to their start date.

This is a great way to start with the right foot and ensure a smooth onboarding process. The new hires will know what is expected of them over the first few weeks and who their mentors are.

2. Share Digital Employee Handbook

This is where you convert all hard copies of common employee handbooks into the digital version so that they can be easily shared via the web. Some of these resources include employee documents, company policies, culture decks, training modules, and much more.

It will help your employees better understand your company and what is expected of them. In fact, many companies go a step ahead and create onboarding videos that go along with each document.

These video explainers are easy to consume and understand. It helps create a personal relationship with them. Besides, make sure to keep all the digital copies at a single platform so that it is easily accessible.

3. Get Their Set-Up Ready

Due to pandemics, many companies were forced to digitize the process of onboarding employees. However, remote onboarding is here to stay.

To ensure smooth onboarding, it’s essential to get all the equipment that needs to be sent to your new recruits as soon as possible. Create a checklist of the items you need to send them — whether it’s a laptop, smartphone, video camera recorder, or anything else.

If your new hire doesn’t have the right equipment to start the work, it might delay their onboarding and waste everyone’s time. Besides, it’s equally important to give them access to the company’s digital workplace. Make them a part of messaging apps, video conferencing software, and others so that they don’t miss an important update.

4. Personalize Remote Onboarding Plan

It might not sound feasible to create a personalized onboarding experience for every employee. However, studies have proven that new hires with proper support during onboarding are 54% more productive than new hires.

With remote hires, it can be difficult to build a personal connection with them. Remote employees actually look forward to building a one-on-one relationship with their management. Without meeting the individual face-to-face, it can be hard for your manager to get to know the person properly.

It can leave your new employees feeling lost. Maintain a weekly one-to-one call with new hires to check in and offer support. In fact, these calls are a great way to clearly explain their goals and what’s expected of them. Don’t let these calls end after a week of the onboarding process — keep them coming.

You can even ask all your employees to turn on their video when conferencing. This can help with fostering team connection.

5. Have a Training Plan Ready

Interestingly, a survey found that 33% of employees already knew in their first week of job whether they would stay at their company long-term or not.

The first week can be critical to retaining your employees. This is where having a firm training plan can come in handy. When you are working from home, it’s easy to get distracted and end up watching your favorite shows for hours. Staying on task can be a challenge, especially for new hires if they don’t know what they should be doing.

Create a training plan, and it should be job-specific. Have a schedule made out and ask them to stick to it. You can prioritize what is more important to learn for each hire.

Make sure that your new employees have all the resources that they need or can easily access from your database.

6. Introduce Them to the Team

In a normal office setup, you would normally take the new employee around the office and introduce them to the teams they will be working with. You might even organize a group lunch or set up a team-building activity to break the ice.

But with everyone working remotely, there’s a need to set up digital events instead. You can set up introductory calls with different leaders and teams or even plan a virtual coffee break. It will allow the new hire to get to know the people they are working with and vice versa.

Letting your new hires build relationships with other team members will lay down a foundation for long-term success in your company.

7. Create Feedback Loops

This might not look important at the time of onboarding but get your new hires into your feedback system right away. Now, feedback is an effective way to understand your employees’ expectations, what they think about your work culture, and how important training and development is for them.

Feedback should be a part of your onboarding process from day one. When you collect feedback from new hires, you can customize the onboarding experience to the individual needs.

It also helps you improve the onboarding process for future recruits and learn how you can make them successfully integrate with your company.

Some of the ways to collect feedback during onboarding are via one-on-meetings, performance management software, and others.

Wrap Up

Onboarding employees in a remote setup doesn’t have to be so challenging. Establish an open line of communication to build a strong connection with your new remote employees.

Nikita Agarwal
Nikita is a SaaS copywriter and content marketing expert with almost five years of experience. She creates engaging and high-quality content for businesses that want to see their Google search rankings surge. When she is not writing, she is busy following the search industry news to stay updated on all SEO tactics.

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