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Best practices for onboarding remote employees

Best Practice

by Paul Ford

Make your new employees feel welcome and allow them to get productive quickly

With the global pandemic and current lockdown, one unique challenge, among many, is onboarding new employees in a way that is both effective and in keeping with the company culture, extending a proper welcome while ensuring an employee can do the job remotely from day one.


Check with your IT team to make sure that the proposed start date is do-able. What technology does the new starter require to do their job? Do you have it available or can you get it in time? How are you going to get the equipment to the new employee and when? Check with the new employee about their wi-fi capability. The best equipment in the world will be next to useless if the signal keeps dropping out. Let the new starter have the contact details of your IT support team well in advance so that they can sort out any issues quickly. Perhaps even allocate a dedicated individual within that team as their IT liaison.

There would normally be documents to sign and complete and some form of basic induction on the first day. How are you going to work around that? Use some form of software application such as Docusign? Provide links to a web-based ‘Welcome’ walk-through? Speak to HR.

Remember to give the new employee all the information and contact details they might need in advance. The team structure and who’s in it, other key contacts across the business, passwords and links. But also remember the human side of things. This is a person going into a new job under extraordinary circumstances. If there was a certain amount of anxiety, who could blame them? So, reassure them. Send a welcome email a few days before they start, saying how much you’re looking forward to having them as part of the company, and that if they’ve got any concerns, talk to you. Set up a ‘buddy’ within the team they’re joining to be on hand to answer all those day-to-day queries about how things actually work.


You know why you’ve brought this new employee onboard, and they know why they’ve been employed. Question is, are those the same things? Provide clarity, objectives and expectations so everyone knows what is happening. Schedule a zoom call or a meeting for the day they start, welcoming them to the company but providing them with a chance to voice any first day questions. It also gives you the chance to outline your expectations. Clearly defined deliverables over achievable timescales. Arrange follow up calls, meetings with the wider team not just to check on progress but to provide a channel for feedback. Have they got everything they need to do the job? They bring experience from elsewhere, would they do things differently? Would they recommend a new tool for the job? New thinking from new entrants is part of the lifeblood of successful businesses.


Communication is always key in getting and keeping a project, a business proposition or an individual on track. Once the new employee is up and running, then keep in touch but it shouldn’t become intrusive. Nobody likes a micro-manager. If training is required, discuss what is going to covered and what is expected after, and ensure that they know that coaching, support, learning and development are vital parts of your employee value proposition. Don’t forget to ask for feedback on the training provided.

One vital part of the company’s culture is the social aspect. A recent survey indicated that the interaction with people at work was a powerful driver in staff retention. The current situation makes that difficult to replicate, but not impossible. You can use video-conferencing tools to create a social event. Have a quiz night, a movie night or an after work drink, all from the comfort of your sofa. It might take a little arranging, but at least when it’s over you haven’t far to get home.

A new starter will always progress more quickly if they know what it’s expected of them, they have the ability to deliver and quickly feel like a trusted member of the team. Much of that will be down to you. Remote working might make things more complicated but there’s no reason why it should prevent a successful onboarding.

If you would like to discuss your staffing requirements and bespoke recruitment solutions for your organisation, please contact Volt today: