The Essential Remote Onboarding Checklist

Time to Read: 4.9 minutes

Updated: June 7, 2024

Onboarding is one of the most important factors in determining an employee’s long-term success with your company. The shift to remote and hybrid working models has created new challenges for employers when it comes to truly embed a new hire or a large number of hires into your organization. Having a standardized remote onboarding checklist you can use to onboard all new remote hires will mean each one gets the same introduction to your organization, the same access requirements, and the same welcome to their teams, creating better effects while driving efficiency.

By providing a great remote onboarding process, one that focuses on improving every stage of the employee lifecycle from pre-hire to exit interview, you not only set employees up for success but your business too. Research has found that employees who have good onboarding experiences are 2.5x more satisfied at work and 80% less likely to leave.

What Are The Challenges of Remote Onboarding?

Businesses and organizations have had many years to perfect their in-person onboarding processes, however, translating those processes and strategies to the world of remote working poses unique obstacles to success.

Here are some common challenges you might face when onboarding remotely:

1. Technical Issues

Getting essential tech and tools set up remotely can be challenging, particularly for employees working in the technology or healthcare industries where security protocols and compliance are complex.

Shipping delays can leave employees without key equipment, if you add set up time to this too you can create a stressful environment as new hires will worry about the productivity time lost. Ensuring technology setup is done as part of a preboarding process before an employee’s first day can give them the time and space they need to get prepared for their first day.

2. Negotiating Virtual Communication

Communicating remotely is hard and many businesses have responded by utilizing numerous communication channels and tools, including email, chats, video calling and more. This can be confusing for new employees. They may not know which channel is appropriate to use and this can make it hard for them to access support. Setting clear expectations at the outset can be helpful.

3. Difficulty Building Strong Team Relationships

A sense of isolation is one of the most reported concerns amongst remote workers and the disconnect between employees working in disparate locations can make building a cohesive workplace culture difficult for organizations. Scheduling both formal and informal chances for new employees to meet managers, teammates, and colleagues from across the business can help build relationships.

How Long Should Remote Onboarding Take?

Many organizations have different approaches when it comes to the length of the onboarding process. Common periods are two to four weeks, but research suggests that after a month new employees are still working at 25% of their potential productivity and only 29% feel fully prepared for their role. Gallup found that it took 12 months for employees to reach their full potential.
The best onboarding strategies encompass plans that cover the first 20, 60 and 90 days of an employee’s time with the company with levels of support and oversight tapering off as time goes on and can even last a full year.

Your Customizable Remote Onboarding Checklist

Putting together a remote onboarding strategy that works hard for you and your employees requires some thought and preplanning, but strong onboarding will improve your talent retention, increase your hiring ROI, and improve your organization’s productivity.

This remote onboarding checklist takes you through five stages to ensure every step of your onboarding strategy gets new hires up to speed as quickly and efficiently as possible:

Stage 1. Preparation

Before you even post a job description you should be spending some time designing the policies and processes your onboarding will encompass, creating a data bank of key information and setting out what successful onboarding will look like for your organization.

  • Outline logistics and expectations through well documented policies and processes
  • Create a handbook or repository of key information for all employees
  • Decide how you will measure success during the onboarding period

Stage 2. Pre-Boarding

Once you’ve made your new hire this essential step will ensure they have the technology and resources they need for a smooth first day. Liaise with other departments such as IT, finance, and HR to streamline this process.

  • Assign an onboarding buddy or mentor
  • Create accounts in company tools, groups, and networks
  • Provide and set up any tech needed to perform the role

Stage 3. Orientation

An orientation stage prevents your new hire from being overwhelmed with large volumes of information all at once. This is the perfect time to establish working relationships with other team members.

  • Cover common logistical questions regarding pay, benefits, holidays, IT etc.
  • Set up one to welcome meetings with key contacts across the organization
  • Encourage informal communication within the team

Stage 4. Tasks

This stage is the bulk of your onboarding. The tasks each employee will need to achieve in their first months will vary considerably depending on the role and the experience each new hire brings to the table.

  • Develop a clear plan of tasks that cover 30, 60 and 90 days
  • Go through the tasks and outline clear goals for these periods
  • Customize learning plans to the role and personalize training and tasks to employee’s individual learning needs and speed

Stage 5. Ongoing Support

Congratulations, your new hire is performing well and integrating successfully into your team!
But onboarding shouldn’t end there. Regular check-ins will make sure you identify and address any potential problems quickly making for a happier, more fulfilling experience for you and your new employees.

  • Schedule regular check-ins
  • Collect ongoing feedback like what worked and what didn’t, will help you scale the process for growth
  • Refine as you go

If you found our remote onboarding checklist useful, explore more resources, insights, and industry best practices on our Resources page. To discuss your volume hiring requirements, book a call with one of our solution experts today.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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