When hiring remote employees, make sure you offer a structured onboarding. Use this HR checklist for onboarding remote workers to get new hires up to speed on their roles, your business and key policies.
How to onboard remote employees
Send new hires IT hardware and manuals. Order computers and other hardware remote workers need well ahead of their start date. Confirm they have received all necessary equipment for their work and ask your IT department to assist them with setup, if necessary. Make sure new remote workers have the following to get started:
Gift new hires company swag. Help your new hires feel like a part of the team by sending them a welcome package. You can include:
Personalized gifts they’re likely to enjoy (like headphones, a book or gift cards from local or online stores)
Help new remote employees complete HR paperwork. Having your new hires sign employment contracts and other legal documents can be time-consuming if they need to print, scan and email all copies or send them via mail. Consider using an e-signature tool, like HelloSign or DocuSign, so that employees can add their signatures digitally and share contracts with you in a secure environment.
Get them up to speed on your company culture. Remote employees are part of your culture, despite not being in the office. To help them understand the culture, share:
Any presentations or literature on your company values
Pictures and videos from all-hands meetings
Ensure new hires understand how to use your communication tools. Describe the best ways to contact team members and how to troubleshoot communication technology. Also, if relevant, provide manuals on how to set up:
Group messaging tool
Video conference software
Prompt hiring managers to set specific goals and expectations. Remote workers should not wait until their manager is online to learn what their next tasks are. Make sure hiring managers:
Develop and share a task calendar after new hires’ training and onboarding sessions
Define short-term and long-term goals
Schedule weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects, progress and resolve potential issues
Set up meetings with their team members and other key employees. These meetings could be one-on-one and/or group calls. During their first days, remote employees should meet with:
Their manager and direct reports
Employees from other departments they’ll work closely with
Arrange role-specific trainings. It’s often challenging to train remote employees, as real-time communication is usually limited. To effectively train remote workers:
Use interactive training courses that are user-friendly and include games and quizzes to boost engagement
Record product demos to better explain features through video
Follow up after each training session to answer questions
Arrange a training with your IT department. Remote workers should get familiar with:
File-sharing applications and cloud backup software (like Google Drive, Dropbox, Carbonite)
Computer security (for example, how to lock laptops and install anti-virus software)
Password management and data encryption tools to protect their devices
Schedule calls after their first week, month and quarter to touch base. These calls will help you understand if they’re facing any difficulties and whether they’ve settled into their roles.
Arrange an in-person meeting. If your new hire is based near your office, consider having them work from your offices during their first week. If that’s not feasible, invite them on-site as soon as possible, so that they get to know coworkers in-person. If you have distributed teams and all employees work from home, make sure to schedule quarterly or annual events or retreats, where entire teams get the chance to meet.