Onboarding Remote Employees the Right Way

Recruiting Tips
Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016
Onboarding Remote Employees the Right Way

You’re a booming company that isn’t afraid to take a few chances, so you’ve decided it’s time to break from the boundaries of local hiring and expand your horizons remotely. Why wouldn’t you? Remote employees are 50 percent less likely to quit their roles because they’re so satisfied working from home in their own environment. Though, the most productive have one thing in common, they were onboarded into their roles the right way.

Being the progressive company that you are, there’s no doubt you have a sophisticated employee onboarding software in place that helps you seamlessly transition candidates into productive new hires. But the process of onboarding remote employees presents new obstacles you haven’t foreseen, so you may struggle in determining best practices to help new hires located far away assimilate to your culture.

Believe it or not, you’re not alone, so we’ve listed a few steps to help your company tackle the challenge of onboarding remotely.

“Come on Down!”

Gaps in distance can easily equate to gaps in participation and motivation, so it’s critical that your program maximizes engagement and facilitates a strong first impression with your company culture. There’s no way to replicate the experience of your office environment, so it’s probably wise to invite remote new hires to visit company headquarters for an extended stay early on in the process. Because your supporting onboarding software substitutes the hassle of paperwork with efficient electronic forms, you can rest assured that even before your first in-person meeting, remote new-hires will be identically situated in the onboarding process as on-site employees. Once present, they’re afforded the rare opportunity to connect with their managers and peers face-to-face, establish onboarding goals and receive an up close feel for day-to-day business operations. It’s likely to be one of the few times they’re local, so it’s important to have ready a structured working itinerary for the duration of their stay (however long it may be). This should serve as a bonding period meant to strengthen faith in both your hiring managers and remote employees as they begin a new and exciting career.


With ambitions of branching out remotely, your company should already support internal communication systems and a virtual office network. Whether it’s a video or instant messaging service, like Skype or Slack, that allows real-time company-wide communication, or a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows computers outside of your corporate network to access internal resources. With this digital infrastructure in place, remote employees are equipped with the tools they need to competently work alone or collaboratively in groups right from day one. Managers and peers have a direct channel of contact with them pertaining to on-going projects or even just a friendly banter. And with advances in cloud computing, remote employees can easily contribute to central file or document repositories, like Good Docs or SharePoint, to share their work or contribute to team projects.

Stay Consistent

Altering the onboarding process to accommodate your off-site new hires shouldn’t drastically change your onboarding approach. In fact, it’s probably best to instill as much stability here as possible. There’s a reason why 77 percent of new hires who’ve hit their first performance milestone had formal onboarding training, it’s an integral part of the process and a sense of normalcy with remote employees will go a long way. Ensuring a well-rounded onboarding experience is significantly aided by new hire portals, which allow remote employees to manage all their onboarding objectives, align with company values, benefits and policies, and review training schedules all from one central location. With a successful blueprint in place, remote new hires are positioned for success with the click of a mouse from day one.

When you take a step back to observe the challenges ahead, recognize that onboarding remote employees affords your company the opportunity to experiment and see how far beyond the office your culture can reach. Rest assured that sticking with easy to use software is paramount, but it begins and ends with the candidates you’ve selected to embrace that culture, wherever they may be.