Case Study

The Ultimate Guide to Remote Onboarding Your New Team Member

July 18, 2023

If you're reading this, chances are you’re looking to nail your onboarding process.

In this handy-dandy guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to create the perfect onboarding experience. So, grab a coffee, and let’s dive in! Trust us, you’ll have a good time…

What’s the Big Deal with Remote Onboarding? 

Onboarding is similar to a first impression – it's your opportunity to make a positive impact. But it isn’t just about making your new team members feel welcome – according to a study by Glassdoor, a good onboarding process increases employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. That’s some serious ROI! 

Step 1: The Pre-Onboarding Planning 🎉

Before your new employees' first day, you’ve got a bit of homework. Think of it like an event – you want everything to be just perfect when the guest arrives!

A. The Onboarding Kit:

  • Welcome Email: Think personalized, warm, and inviting. A hearty welcome email signed by the team, capturing your company's spirit and values, will surely pump them up for their first day.
  • Inform The Team: Let your team in on the new talent joining the ranks. Maybe they can drop a welcome message on LinkedIn. Trust us, a little goes a long way in making someone feel like part of the family even before day one!

  • Swag Alert: Who doesn't love a little bit of swag? Sending over some branded items, be it a notebook, or even a pen! All of these can stir up a sense of pride and belonging in the newbie.

  • The First Week Itinerary: Prepare and Share the schedule for the initial weeks. Make sure to include orientation sessions, team intros, and training. It's like their personal roadmap, easing any anxieties about what to expect.

B. Let’s sort out the gadgets and gears:

  • Hardware and Software: Make sure they have all the tools they need to get started. If the company is providing any hardware, get it shipped in advance. As for software, send over the login details and any necessary licenses.
  • IT Support: IT to the rescue! Have your IT team ready to guide them through any setups and troubleshoot any issues.

  • Account Setups: Time to create their email accounts, company portal access, and anything else they’ll need. And remember, a quick guide on how to set up, and who to call for help, can save them from tech panic!

C. Plan the First Week:

  • Orientation Sessions: Line up sessions that'll give them a crash course about the company. Whether they're live or recorded, just make sure they know when and how to access them.
  • Virtual Meet and Greets: Plan some casual online meet-and-greets with the team. A relaxed environment can work wonders for building rapport.
  • Training Schedule: Chart out the training schedule for the first few weeks. Clarity on what to expect and who will be conducting the sessions will keep any anxiety at bay.

Step 2: A Warm First-Day Welcome 🎉

Starting a new job can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. Ease your team’s first day by crafting a warm and inclusive environment that instantly makes them feel like a valued member of the team. Let's set the stage for success right from the beginning.

A. Kick-off with an Engaging Email

Fire off a warm, enthusiastic welcome email to your new team member to kickstart their day. Remind them of how stoked the team is to have them on board and map out the itinerary for their first day. Let's keep the vibe real and positive, and wrap up with a standing invitation for any queries or support they might need. Remember, this email is setting the stage for their first day, so make it count!

B. Virtual Tour 

Next up, plan a call for a walkthrough of your digital workspace. You can share your screen and guide them through the various tools and platforms your team depends on. Demonstrate how each tool is used, and provide some tips and tricks on how to use them effectively. Also, make sure to introduce them to the social channels on Slack or Microsoft Teams, where your team engages in lighter conversations, shares funny memes, or posts cute pet photos.

C. One-on-One with the Manager

Next in line is one-on-one with their direct manager or supervisor. This isn't just a casual chit-chat—it's a crucial conversation where the manager lays out the details of their role, talks about the current team projects, and sets initial targets. But it's not all one-sided. The manager should also encourage the new hire to ask their burning questions or express any concerns they might have. This interaction is key—it's about setting clear expectations and establishing an open line of communication right from the start. After all, open dialogue is the cornerstone of effective teamwork.

D. Welcome Bash!

Next on the agenda, how about setting up a fun-filled, casual virtual meet-up with the whole team? This could be a laid-back virtual coffee break, a team lunch, or even a round of online trivia! This event offers the new hire a chance to mingle with everyone in an informal setting, allowing them to start weaving their network. Encourage team members to spill the tea about their roles and share something intriguing about themselves—it's all about breaking the ice in style.

E. Meet the Buddy

Got a buddy system? We at Athyna are big fans too! This is the perfect moment to introduce the new hire to their buddy. This trusty guide will be there to answer questions, offer guidance, and help new hires find their feet in their first few weeks. Think of the buddy as a friendly go-to person for all those "Hmm, how does this work?" moments.

F. Wrapping Up the Day

Finally, let's end the day with a check-in call. It could be their manager, the HR person, or a buddy on the other end. Ask them about their first day—what they loved, what puzzled them, and anything else that's on their mind. Remind them that they've got a whole support system backing them up. This kind of wrap-up helps ease any first-day jitters and gets them excited about Day Two!

Step 3: Training for Success 🚀

Real training sets your new team up for a productive, rewarding experience at your company. An effective training program should educate your new member about their role, the company, and the tools they'll be using, all while fostering their skills and professional growth.

A. Sharing Your Employee Manual 

This one is crucial! An employee manual is an excellent resource that encapsulates everything a new hire needs to know about the company. It's a go-to guide for company policies, procedures, benefits, company culture, and more.

If you already have an employee manual, make sure is always up to date so you can share it with the team early on in the training process. This allows them to familiarize themselves with your company's practices and ethos at their own pace. It also provides a reliable reference they can turn to throughout their tenure.

However, if you still need an employee manual, building one might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. We have a comprehensive blog post that walks you through the process of creating an effective and engaging employee manual. It provides helpful tips, inspiration, and guidance to help you get started. You can find all about Remote Employees Handbook here.

Remember, your employee manual isn't just a collection of rules or policies. It should also communicate your company's mission, values, and culture, and serve as a roadmap for your old and new employee's journey within your organization.

B. Continuous Learning 

Knowledge is power! The learning shouldn't stop once the initial training is over. Foster a culture of continuous learning and development. Provide access to resources such as online courses, webinars, eBooks, and podcasts that are relevant to their role or industry.

You can also set up periodic skills development sessions, workshops, or ‘Lunch and Learn’ events. Encourage the new team member to attend conferences or industry events, if possible.

In fact, try to regularly check in with them to discuss their progress, identify any knowledge gaps, and discuss their professional development goals. This will make them feel supported in their growth journey and inspire them to keep learning. 

And speaking of learning, our Workplace Learning Trends article might come in handy if you are thinking of leveraging online training for your teams. 

C. Performance Feedback and Evaluation 

Feedback is an integral part of learning. Try to conduct regular performance reviews and provide constructive feedback on the new hire's progress. Recognize their achievements and provide guidance on areas they can improve on.

Remember, feedback should be a two-way street. Encourage them to share their thoughts on the training process and suggest improvements. Their fresh perspective could provide valuable insights.

Step 4: Communication… The Lifeline 📞

Communication is the glue that binds your remote team together. Creating an environment where communication is encouraged, respected, and easy can make a world of difference.

A. Encourage Open Communication 

From day one, foster a culture where communication is open and transparent. Encourage the new team members to ask questions, share ideas, and voice concerns. Let them know they can reach out anytime, whether it's for help, advice, or even just a chat.

B. Regular Check-ins 

Weekly check-ins are crucial for keeping tabs on the new member’s progress and addressing any concerns. This dedicated one-on-one time can be a safe space for them to share their thoughts and challenges and for you to provide guidance and feedback.

C. Collaboration Tools 

Equip your new hire with tools that streamline communication and collaboration. Whether it's Slack for instant messaging, Zoom for video calls, Google Meet, or Trello for project management, introduce them to the platforms your team uses and ensure they know how to navigate them.

In fact, we have this list of Google Chrome Extensions that will make your life waaaaaay easier!

Step 5: Goal-Setting… The Roadmap 🚀

Setting clear goals can help your new hire stay focused, motivated, and aware of their role in the company's success.

A. Clarity is Key 

Ensure your new team understands their roles, responsibilities, and how they fit into the bigger picture. Use concrete examples and clear language to ensure there's no confusion.

B. Goals & Expectations 

Work together with the new employee to set realistic yet challenging short-term and long-term goals. These can be tied to their personal development or to the company's objectives.

C. Performance Evaluations 

Walk them through the performance evaluation process, including the criteria and expectations. This can help them understand how their work will be assessed and what they can strive for, and for that, we have some tools to recommend. You should definitely check tools like Lattice and CultureAmp for employee engagement, performance, and development tools and insights you need to build a category-defining culture. 

Step 6: Building a Virtual Culture 🌐

It’s no news that a strong, positive culture can make your remote team feel connected and valued, even when they're miles apart… so don’t neglect this!

A. Virtual Team Activities

Set up activities that foster team bonding and fun. This could be virtual coffee breaks, online games, or team-building exercises. These informal gatherings can strengthen bonds and create a sense of belonging. Give a try Gartic PhoneKahoot, and with your team and tell us what you think… we’re sure you’ll have a great time!

B. Reinforce Company Values

Consistently communicate and live by your company’s values and mission. Show the new team how their work contributes to the company's vision and impacts the larger community.

So there you have it – your blueprint for a stellar remote onboarding process. It's about striking the right balance between being professional, yet warm and welcoming.

As you pave the way for your remote team members, remember that onboarding is just the beginning of their journey.

Feel free to share your experiences or thoughts in the comments below, and let's learn together! Cheers to successful onboarding!

Typical US Salary
With Athyna
Celeste Bono

Content Creator & Media Producer. The official voice of Athyna.

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