Remote Employee Onboarding: 5 Steps to Success

With online jobs gaining more traction, processes like recruitment and onboarding are also being performed remotely. At first glance, it seems convenient — employers do not have to organize a workplace and prepare an office. However, remote workers often feel frustrated during remote onboarding without a mentor by their side, which can greatly affect their productivity and desire to work for a company.

How can employees be helped through the remote onboarding process? This step-by-step guide will help you make things easier for both existing and new team members.

Step-by-step guide on remote employee onboarding

Step 1: Start with pre-boarding preparations

Pre-boarding is everything that happens from the moment of hiring to when a new employee starts their first day on the job. At this stage, your main task is to familiarize this person with your company and its corporate culture, as well as to make your cooperation feel comfortable from the beginning.

So, before the first day of work, make sure:

  • Send all basic documents: e-signatures, corporate guidelines, contracts for employee manuals, etc. Consider adding to this list anything you believe might be helpful for your company to dive into. These documents can save your HR staff and consultants many hours as it allows them to focus on more important tasks rather than explaining the trivial.
  • Create a 3-month onboarding roadmap. It should outline the main milestones for a new employee to be successfully introduced to your organization: calls with colleagues, tests, and lines of communication and establishing performance goals. And don’t forget to revise mediators during these months – they will help you assess the new hire’s strengths and weaknesses.

Pro Tip: Create an introductory online course that includes a welcome video, materials about your company’s mission and culture, an overview of your products/services, and compliance guidelines. Tests and quizzes will help you memorize all this information.

Step 2: Organize calls with colleagues

Depending on the department the new hire will work in, you may need to introduce new employees to specific people in the company. Perhaps, prior to step 1, they spoke with HR, the CEO, or department team leadership/heads. Now is the time to get to know the other people your new hire will be working with on a regular basis

During these conversations, you can discuss job descriptions as well as communication strategies. This is a great opportunity for newbies to ask you some questions.

Step 3: Tailor Onboarding and Make it Collaborative

In addition to sharing educational content, your team members should participate in the onboarding process to reduce the learning curve for new hires. How can this be done? Encourage employees to ask questions and share expertise and recommendations in your communication channels. It will also improve the relationship between colleagues.

Be sure to structure the onboarding process with enough time and freedom for employees to digest new information and dive into tasks. Not everyone is a quick learner, so adjust the pace accordingly. To make sure a person navigates well through onboarding, use the interactive checklist. Here is an example:

Pro tip: Organize virtual team-building events, such as quizzes or online games. They will help the new recruits to get used to the colleagues and establish flawless communication with them.

Step 4: Get feedback and improve

Tracking the progress of a new hire and receiving timely feedback is essential to ensure things are running smoothly Plus, their feedback will help you understand what’s working well and what can be improved in your onboarding program.

Ask open-ended and specific questions to get detailed answers – these will help you nip and refine problems in the bud and increase engagement and motivation.

Step 5: Evaluate success with onboarding metrics

Finally, introduce some metrics to evaluate the performance of your new employees. These numbers show how well a person manages to work at home and complete related tasks.

What types of metrics could these be?

  • KPI
  • Number of jobs completed
  • Time to Productivity Metrics
  • Retention rate

Finally, introduce employee happiness and satisfaction metrics. New staff members can be assessed by asking them to complete surveys.

Remote onboarding challenges and how to overcome them

Remote jobs have drawbacks, including a more complicated onboarding process. From lack of quick communication to emotional overloading, there can be various issues that spoil the company’s persona and discourage people from working in new companies. Let’s observe some common challenges and ways to handle them.

  1. Setting up a workstation. Some jobs require more than a personal laptop, and because employees don’t commute to the office, they fail to set up all the hardware themselves. You can help them by shipping all the necessary equipment and providing a tutorial on how to set it up. If problems arise, schedule an IT session where you can help your new hire troubleshoot those issues.
  2. Too much information. Considering that new hires have to manage large amounts of information on their own, they can feel overloaded and frustrated. Help them by forming materials and providing them in parts.
  3. Virtual communication problems. A normal workflow can only be established when colleagues communicate effectively, so make sure they don’t have too many channels to communicate with. A chat and a work platform (like Trello or Asana) should be enough to collaborate in real-time and reply to messages quickly.
  4. Seems detached. Remote workers often lose connection with their colleagues because there are no real-life coffee breaks and conversations. How can that be made up for? Schedule one-to-one calls and assign a mentor who will guide and support a new employee through their onboarding journey.


The onboarding process is often underestimated, and the biggest mistake you can make with remote workers is to let them handle it themselves. By taking the steps mentioned above, you can ease their challenges and make them valued and welcome members of your team.

Featured Image Credits: Mart Productions; Pexels; Thank you!

Helen Coleman

Editor and Content Strategist for iSpring Solutions