Human Resources

Onboarding Remote Employees: 8 Stellar Tips to Boost Your Process

Published on April 14, 2022 • Updated on April 26, 2022 • About 8 min. read

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New company member onboarding remotely

What happens if you don’t have a strong remote onboarding strategy? New hires will resign early and you’ll be left struggling to fill the gap.

In 2021, 42% of employees said that they didn’t feel supported in their first week of work, when surveyed by Talmundo. That’s a pretty shocking statistic, but your organization doesn’t have to fall into it.

The best virtual onboarding process will embed new hires into the company culture and keep them engaged with their work from day one. With this guide, get everything you need to support remote employees during those crucial first months at your company.

Let’s dive straight in.

6 Steps to Onboard Remote Employees Successfully
How to Onboard Remote Employees
How to onboard remote employees ebook cover
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How to Onboard Remote Employees

Read this handbook on remote employee onboarding to learn how to source, hire, and onboard remote employees.

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What is remote employee onboarding?

Remote onboarding is a method of getting new staff members trained and engaged when they aren’t in the same physical location as you.

Onboarding new team members, whether remote or not, means orienting them within their role, showing them how to use new systems and tools, and making sure they understand what’s expected of them from day to day.

Remote orientation is the same, you just need a few digital tools to help you communicate and organize workflows across distances. Before we get into recommendations on which tools to use, let’s look at the different types of onboarding and their benefits.

What different kinds of employee onboarding are there?

There are a few different kinds of employee onboarding, including traditional in-person onboarding, hybrid onboarding, and fully remote. Here’s how they differ:

  • In-person onboarding sessions take place onsite, requiring the employee to physically attend the workplace. This is best for workplaces where remote onboarding isn’t an option.
  • Remote onboarding is becoming increasingly common. The employee experiences entirely virtual onboarding activities and isn’t required to visit the workplace in person. This is best for completely remote workplaces.
  • Hybrid onboarding allows employees to carry out most of their tasks remotely, while some onboarding events happen in person. This is best for hybrid workplaces, where your employees may work from home on some days and from an office on others.

What are the key benefits of remote onboarding?

  • Save time. Remote onboarding means there’s no need to book meeting rooms or be present at a physical location, saving you both admin and travel time.
  • Cut costs. For the same reasons, you and your new hires will encounter fewer costs with a remote onboarding process.
  • Adapt to suit your employees. Remote processes can be followed by anyone regardless of whether they are fully remote or hybrid employees.
  • Automate processes. Once you’re familiar with remote communication tools, you’ll be well set up for automated employee onboarding, which is scalable and ensures consistency across all your onboarding processes.
Livestorm's onboarding process steps

Once we’ve looked at the key challenge of remote onboarding below, you’ll find tips on how to welcome a new team member virtually.

How to Onboard Remote Employees
How to onboard remote employees ebook cover
Ebook Ebooks

How to Onboard Remote Employees

Read this handbook on remote employee onboarding to learn how to source, hire, and onboard remote employees.

Read more

What’s the biggest remote onboarding challenge?

The biggest challenge for HR teams onboarding remote employees is early resignation. Especially since 2021, when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics saw resignations rise to 4.5 million, the highest they’ve ever been.

A staggering 20% of staff churn occurs within the first 45 days of employment, while the biggest concern among new remote hires is experiencing “communication issues and feeling out of the loop”, according to Talmundo.

But research from the Brandon Hall Group suggests a positive onboarding experience will increase employee retention by 82%. Plus, it can increase productivity by 70%. So, to keep employees engaged long-term means you need to maintain strong communication throughout the onboarding process.

8 remote onboarding tips and best practices

Livestorm has been onboarding remote employees since the company was established in 2016, so we’ve got years of experience making sure our employees get a warm welcome!

Try these top tips and best practices from Laure Saintpierre, Employee Experience Team Lead at Livestorm.

Automate everything

When important onboarding steps happen automatically, all that reduced admin time frees you up to support your new hires one-on-one.

“Automation gives you more time to focus on the human aspect of onboarding new team members,” says Laure. “And your whole team will have a smoother experience because they won’t be worried about any steps being missed.”

Don’t forget pre-boarding

Pre-boarding shows employees that you're getting ready for their arrival and helps establish a line of communication to resolve any questions or concerns.

“Onboarding doesn’t start the day an employee joins the company,” Laure advises. “At Livestorm, we start onboarding from the day they accept the offer.”

A good pre-boarding phase also gives you a head start with employee paperwork, as you can request payroll information and personal details for contractual documents.

Deliver their equipment on time

Prevent missed deadlines and reduce new hire anxiety by ensuring they get all the necessary equipment to do their job before their first day begins.

If you want to really make your newbies smile, you can also include a small welcome gift.

Livestorm welcome gifts

Assign an onboarding buddy

“At Livestorm, new team members get assigned a buddy who acts as a go-to person to help them integrate and answer all the questions related to the company and culture,” says Laure.

An onboarding buddy is a vital source of support for your new hire and takes the pressure off busy line managers. Pick a buddy who has at least one month of experience working in your company and is in a good position to answer questions about the role.

Always start with a live meeting

Remote work can be isolating, so use online meeting software like Livestorm to help employees feel connected to the people they work with. A virtual 1:1 with the onboarding buddy and line manager encourages team building and shows your new hire where to get support

Record your employee onboarding videos

Face-to-face meetings are crucial to encouraging employee engagement and a building sense of community in your workplace. But on-demand webinars and pre-recorded videos are valuable resources too.

Livetsorm lets you track analytics for your pre-recorded onboarding videos.

Include recordings such as product demo videos in your remote employee onboarding kit so that your employees can access and revisit training materials at their own pace.

Pro tip: new hire videos are a fun way for employees to introduce themselves to the company without finding time to meet 1:1 with everyone. Ask your new hires to record a 2-minute video that can be automatically shared via Gmail or Slack on their first day.

Don’t disappear

Once a new employee meets their manager and starts working through the onboarding steps, you may be tempted to disappear and focus on other things.

But checking in with your new hire after a few weeks is a good way to show continuous support—and get feedback on the onboarding process.

“After their first month, I meet everyone for a 30-minute meeting to review their progress with the onboarding and understand if everything is going well or if we need to make adjustments,” says Laure. “It’s a chance to see if they’re happy with their mission and if it meets their expectations.”

Give everyone the same level of support

Reduce early resignation by giving everyone a great introduction to the company and a consistent level of support, regardless of their contract type.

Whether you plan to onboard interns remotely or run orientation for hybrid employees, giving everyone the same experience means no one will feel lost in their first weeks. Plus your onboarding process will be easier to scale and automate.

At Livestorm, we’ve built a strong onboarding experience for anyone who joins the company,” says Laure. “Every new employee gets the same general onboarding because you always need to understand the company, the systems we use, and the teams you’ll be working with.”

What are the best tools for remote onboarding?

The best remote onboarding tools are the ones that will facilitate great communication and integrate with each other to allow for seamless automation.

Here’s a quick look at the onboarding technology used at Livetorm to welcome remote employees:

  1. Livestorm to host team meetings and record training webinars.
  2. Gmail to communicate with employees from pre-boarding to progress reviews.
  3. Typeform to collect important details like payroll information and home address.
  4. Juro to create administrative documents and collect electronic signatures.
  5. Slack to communicate internally and build a workplace rapport.
  6. Asana to create shared to-do lists and introduce your new hire to their responsibilities.
  7. Notion to host your internal knowledge base.
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Remote onboarding checklist

“The top tip I can give for remote onboarding is to automate everything, plan it all in advance, and don’t forget to create a human connection.” says Laure.

Use Laure’s remote onboarding checklist to help you prepare:

  1. Send a welcome email
  2. Create the contractual documents
  3. Deliver the necessary equipment
  4. Create company log-ins for communication channels and other systems
  5. Appoint their welcome buddy and connect them via email
  6. Send pre-recorded videos introducing the company and CEO
  7. Schedule 1:1 meetings during their first week using a platform like Livestorm
  8. Introduce them to their colleagues via a company announcement
  9. Send training materials such as manuals and pre-recorded webinars
  10. Set up a digital to-do list to introduce them to regular tasks and responsibilities
  11. Schedule a progress review after four weeks
  12. Send a self-assessment form to inform discussion at their progress review
  13. Create an anonymous survey to collect accurate feedback

Get ready for remote employee onboarding

Once you’ve optimized your onboarding process for remote employees, your HR team will be better prepared for every new hire, and employees will be singing your praises on Glassdoor.

Livestorm can help you build a rapport with new team members and make them feel supported through live virtual meetings. You can also track new employees' progress by checking the analytics dashboard for pre-recorded employee onboarding videos.

Whether you’re going hybrid or fully remote, virtual onboarding activities will help you give employees a great onboarding experience, boost employee retention, and automate your processes for seamless hiring.

Frequently asked questions about remote onboarding

Is remote onboarding a good idea during Covid?

Remote onboarding is a good idea during Covid-19.

1 in 4 employees quit jobs during the pandemic due to a desire to work from home, according to a survey by Conference Board. Even now lockdown measures have eased in most countries, people may prefer to work remotely to accommodate their personal needs and caring responsibilities.

How does remote onboarding differ from onsite?

Remote onboarding uses digital tools to communicate information and organize tasks regardless of the employee’s physical location.

Onsite onboarding may still incorporate the use of some digital tools, but relies on in-person meetings and training sessions, so it can only take place if the employee is physically present at their workplace.

Do employees benefit from remote onboarding?

Employees benefit from remote onboarding because there’s no need to travel, so it’s more flexible, cost-effective, and time-saving. Remote onboarding can also be automated, which benefits employees by ensuring that no crucial steps are missed.

How long should onboarding last?

Onboarding can last from one week to six, depending on your organization. At Livestorm, we recommend a six to eight-week period to cover all four phases of onboarding, including pre-boarding and reviews. A comprehensive onboarding process is the best way to reduce early resignation.

How to Onboard Remote Employees
How to onboard remote employees ebook cover
Ebook Ebooks

How to Onboard Remote Employees

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