8 Onboarding Tips for Remote Teams

Aug 03, 2021
8 Onboarding Tips for Remote Teams
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Onboarding remote employees is a challenging process as it is, which has now been accentuated by the social barriers of the pandemic.

The hiring manager and team are now expected to train, oversee, and integrate new hires without ever meeting them face to face. This same team is also expected to maintain the quality of the onboarding process, considering how crucial it is for the productivity of the workplace. In fact, the Society for Human Resources Management has highlighted that employee job turnover can reach a whopping 50% within 18 months, a statistic that we would all ideally like to avoid.

While this might sound like an impossible task, there are many different tips that can help make the entire process a lot smoother. Here are 8 different tips to make the virtual onboarding process much less stressful.

1. Keep Important Documents Centralized

The company purpose, the brand guidelines, the step-by-step training, the documents, and policies…

As you are already aware, there are a plethora of documents that need to be shared with your new hires. While you probably already have digitized copies of all of them, sending these documents over via email will not be the most efficient process. You may end up spending a lot of time uploading the same documents to send to different people, or you may even forget to send over some of the documents at times.

This is why it is highly recommended for you to upload all the necessary documents onto a single, centralized platform. That way, when you onboard new employees, you can simply give them access to the platform where they can then familiarize themselves with your company.

2. Don’t Neglect Pre-Boarding

You have all the documents centralized, but that won’t be useful to you if your new hire doesn’t have access to a laptop that can read the software.

This is why the pre-boarding process is as essential as onboarding. A study done by Aberdeen Group has highlighted that companies that carry out pre-boarding improve their employee retention within the first year by 11%.

Once your candidate accepts their job offer, you have the opportunity to begin organizing matters to ensure a smooth onboarding process. This includes identifying any technological needs that could potentially hinder their ability to work efficiently. Have they downloaded and familiarized themselves with Zoom? Can they access the centralized platform that you use? Is their laptop in good shape or do they need a new one? These are all very important questions to consider before beginning the remote onboarding process.

Once that is all said and done, onboarding checklists and schedules can be sent to the new hires so that they know what to expect on the day.

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3. Set Goals

It is really important that your new hires know what to expect throughout the onboarding process to eliminate any stresses and confusion. Setting daily or even weekly goals (depending on how long your process is) for both you and your employees during your team meetings will help keep everyone on the right track and improve the onboarding experience.

4. Create Video Guides

Spending hours on a video call to familiarize your new employees with the internal processes does not sound feasible. Similarly, having to read hundreds of “how-to” pages and guidelines may be less than ideal for your new hire, especially on their first day.

Fortunately, there are online platforms for businesses that allow your uploaded content to be in the form of videos, images, and even GIFs. This means that after reading your brand guidelines, the employee can quickly switch over to watch a how-to video on one of their tasks. Videos are a great way to help newcomers internalize all the necessary information so that they’re ready to get started and add value to your company.

Having different forms of content is engaging, and placing them all in a single platform is convenient. Combining these methods together is a guaranteed way to make the remote employee training process a lot simpler.

5. Prioritize the Training

In an office setting, it is a lot easier to oversee your new hires and ensure that they’re on the right task at the right time. Alternatively, remote working could make things a little confusing. How would they know what to watch, read, or do first?

You could perhaps list the tasks in the order in your slack channel or write it down in a document somewhere. An easier method, however, would be to sort their tasks directly so that when one is completed, another one would come up in order.

Fortunately, there are tools to help you with this. Waybook is an online platform in which you can upload, sort, and share your documents and processes with all of your employees. The new hires will easily be able to complete a step-by-step training process in order. Better yet, the content can be in the form of images, videos, and even GIFs, which will facilitate a smoother onboarding process as expressed in the previous point.

6.Host a Virtual Event

Even though you won’t be able to welcome the new hires in person, it is crucial to host a virtual welcome event for them as part of the hiring process. A survey created by Clutch has found that 63% of employees spend less time socializing with their co-workers during the pandemic. While this might be fruitful in terms of increased productivity, the isolation may play a toll on their mental health and lead to burn-out. This is especially true for your newcomers, who are more susceptible to feeling alienated when joining a new company.

Hence, hosting a virtual event will break the ice and help the newcomers build relationships with their teammates. This would also give your new team members the chance to relax, network, and understand the company culture a lot better. As you already know, company culture integration is a necessary part of the onboarding process. What better way to help your employees feel aligned with your company culture!

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7.Monitor the Training of Your Employees

This title could be a little confusing. You might be wondering how it would be possible to track the progress of your employees when you’re not in the same place.

Checking in with the new hires in an office is simple. You or someone else would most likely oversee the training as it is happening. But how does this work in a remote working environment?

Perhaps you could set up times to virtually meet with them every so often. However, that might not be so efficient.

Instead of having to worry about checking in with the newcomers and ensuring that they’re completing the necessary training, there are tools that could track their progress for you. Waybook enables you to see the progress of your remote workers as they complete each task. You can even set deadlines for completion so you won’t have to worry about reminders- and test their knowledge after each section!

8.Don’t Forget to Smile

Yes, you may be alone in your room right now. But that doesn’t mean you should refrain from having fun throughout this process. Integrating new people into your company is fun and exciting in many different ways.

Hopefully, the previous tips have given you the opportunity to relax and expel a deep sigh of relief.


Although remote onboarding sounds stressful, it really doesn’t have to be.

There are many different tips to eliminate your worries and give your new employees the smooth transition that they deserve. The online platform mentioned (and the power of technology) can make this entire process easier than ever before- even when working from home!

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About Author:

Mike Bandar is the co-founder of Waybook: the onboarding, training and reference tool for growing businesses and remote teams. It has features covering the recommendations for remote onboarding made above and is used by thousands of teams to easily document their knowledge, systems and processes in order to keep their business on the same page. https://www.waybook.com/

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