Chris Russell

3 min read


Remote Onboarding Best Practices

Without a doubt, the biggest impact of this year’s pandemic has been the forced move to fully remote work. The traditional 5 days a week, in the office mentality is likely not coming back and if it does, a more hybrid approach to work hours may take its place. The practice of onboarding this remote talent has suffered a bit as companies struggled at first to deal with the new reality. Some have adjusted, others have struggled.

According to a recent Promoleaf survey, nearly 35% of all respondents wanted to be contacted by video at least once a day by their manager in the first few weeks of starting a new job. 

Another 26% preferred contact 2x-4x weekly, while another 18% wanted weekly calls. Only 7% wanted less frequent calls. These numbers underscore the importance for frequency of contact between a new hire and their boss. It may not matter whether you choose to use text messaging, video calls, slack or something else… just stay in contact with new hires if you want to retain and motivate them. 

Send Welcome Swag

Perhaps the biggest impact for a new worker feeling welcome is getting swag from their new employer. Promoleaf says “91% of those who received swag felt effectively welcomed to their new company”. Sending off a shipment of t-shirts, hoodies, stickers and a coffee mug is a good start. It’s one of the activities that also happens in person and can be easily replicated in a remote environment. So be sure to add swag to your employee onboarding checklist.

Besides swag, there are a number of other things companies can do to make onboarding a great experience.

  • Hold regular virtual happy hours every Thursday or Friday.
  • Implement a buddy system for new employees by assigning a veteran coworker to show them the ropes virtually.
  • Introduce them to the team during a dedicated Zoom event. You may want to make it a group event if you have multiple hires starting the same day.
  • Give your new employee an allowance to setup their remote work environment with a chair and desk of their own choosing.
  • Allow them to sign paperwork electronically instead of having to print, scan and send. 

Transparent and frequency of check ins will be vital to your new employees well being. In the survey mentioned above, 38% said their company needed to do more when it came to keeping them informed. This is where a good communications strategy using HR/recruiting focused text messaging software or a Slack room can come in handy.

Check In Frequently

For at least the first week of employment have the manager check in via video or text message each day to ensure they are comfortable in their new role. This can be learned as the employee progresses but pay close attention to their work output and allow for easy two way interaction as much as possible. A new hire needs to be able to ask a question and get an answer more quickly than established workers.

Don’t fret about their work hours either. Most remote workers don’t fall into the 9am to 5pm schedule. Many remote employees tend to work longer than those in the office, so don’t burden them with too many tasks at once. Learn what pace they like to go at and work with them to adjust.

New hires must feel as welcome as possible so the first few weeks are a crucial time for getting it right. Being remote at a new company can often be stressful for a new hire and they may not know where to turn to for help. Make sure enough ‘human touch points’ are added to your onboarding plan. This new virtual world of work demands that we emphasize the human in human resources.

5 Ways to Use Texting in Remote Onboarding

Texting is of course an excellent use case for the onboarding process. It cuts through clutter and enables companies to communicate effectively with speed. Here are five ways you can use texting to welcome new hires.

  1. Have the hiring manager send a welcome text as soon as the candidate accepts the offer.
  2. Text directions to your office on the first day of work.
  3. Remind them about the paperwork that needs to be signed and handed in in order to get paid.
  4. Have their new team members send a welcome message
  5. Survey the new hire in 30 days to see how they enjoyed the process.

Onboarding is all about the candidate experience. It’s one of the easiest and satisfying things your company can do to make the new hire feel welcome and hit the ground running with a positive attitude.

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