Four critical steps to onboarding remote employees

Onboarding employees is one of the most important and challenging roles for an HR executive.

The process is one of a new employee’s first interactions with their company, and if you want to retain talent, it’s critical to make a good impression. Unfortunately, that often doesn’t happen; according to a 2017 Gallup® report, only 12% of workers had a positive onboarding experience.

The task becomes even harder when your new hire is remote—no face-to-face introductions, training, office tours, or team social outings. Having a structured plan is critical to keeping your employees engaged during this demanding period. Here are four tips to onboard remote hires successfully.

Ship them equipment in advance

Make sure your employees have the devices they need before their start dates, and have your IT department help set them up. This will ensure they’re ready to go on their first day of work. It’s also a good idea to send them company swag to welcome them to the team and get them excited for their new gig.

Give them a detailed onboarding plan

Workers often feel overwhelmed when starting a new job. But knowing what to expect during their first few weeks will help calm their nerves. Items on the onboarding plan should include:

  • A meeting with their manager to discuss the company, culture, and job expectations.
  • A review of the communications tools and other programs they’ll need to know.
  • An all-hands team meeting to introduce them.
  • One-on-one meetings with members of their core team.
  • A review of the team’s current projects and regular meetings.

Since the new hires aren’t in the office, you’ll want to put enough on their calendar to keep them involved and connected.

Streamline the process

New employees have many activities to complete during their onboarding process. Add that to trying to learn a new job, and it makes for a stressful experience.

Instead, have them focus on the tasks that are critical for new workers. If some seem unnecessary or can be done later, remove them from the list. Remember, they don’t need to learn everything the first week.

Assign a team mentor

Your new hires will have questions, need help, or just want to talk to someone as they start their job. To ease their transition, provide them with a buddy or mentor. This person can help remote workers feel less isolated and learn more about their new company and coworkers.