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The remote work culture has boomed, and it’s in every corner, crevice, cubicle, and apartment. The modern-day convention of getting things done and the new normal of remote work has made every workplace a global village.

Earlier, having an associate 15,000 miles away sounded like a huge investment for an organization, but now it’s a common occurrence to onboard a remote employee.
When it comes to putting it out there, let’s face it—there are no drawbacks of appointing a remote workforce—except the usual disadvantages of hiring every employee.

But the game doesn’t only change from meetings in the conference room to meetings in the living room. Bringing a remote employee onboard isn’t cumbersome, but it might be if the HR isn’t aware of the nitty-gritty.

Keeping that in mind, we bring a comprehensive guide on how to onboard remote employees and keep the process smooth and silky. No more spending the first day standing on the desk, waiting for a chair and a PC (and then the IT guy to come over and set it up)—just a calm welcome followed by getting down to work.

The onboarding process for remote employees is never an easy one. This three-step guide is comprehensive enough to get you started and make remote onboarding easier.

Before day one, work on day zero

Onboarding remote employees come with a big catch—nobody is coming to work to get the process up and running. Instead, it boils down to a carefully crafted cadence with all the procedural information required for a DIY hook-up to the organization's culture.

Most of the day zero formalities include the paperwork (later on) and feeding the employee's bio into the system, which can be done on day zero. This would make paperwork management easier when the HR would have to hook up with the remote employee on the day they join.

Another important use of day zero is to ensure that the existing team members are well and truly aware of the newbie joining in remotely. Unlike employees working in-office, a new remote employee can't randomly dial-up people and talk to them.

Hence the existing teammates have to be made aware of the new ones coming in for a warm welcome to settle into the culture quickly.

Onboarding a remote employee: A three-step guide

Unlike employees who visit the office premises to work, a remote employee can’t shimmy into the workplace culture by simply being a part of the organization. The physical distance is daunting, and the organization must ensure that it doesn’t create a wrong perception in the new joiner’s mind.

Let’s cover every pillar of our remote onboarding process checklist so that next time a remote employee comes on board, we keep them satisfied and smiling even when the physical distances tear them apart.

Step 1: Getting the employees up and running

We all remember our past interviews—how we had to wait for a couple of hours to give our John Hancock’s on hundreds of pages and then wait for more to get assigned to our teammates.

That cannot be afforded with remote onboarding. Here’s how to clear out all legal formalities and paperwork while virtual onboarding a remote employee.

➡ Get the paperwork out of the way

It’s often said that the paperwork should be done before the first day for remote employees, but it’s easier said than done. Various legalities and formalities are to be completed before a prospect officially comes on board and to get it done, it’s best to get the paperwork done through e-forms and e-signatures.

Once the paperwork is signed, sealed, and delivered, it’s time to guide them through everything that the organization has to offer.

➡ The remote employee orientation

Hooking a remote employee with a fat binder is one thing and walking them through is another. HR can make it happen. A personalized orientation between HR/CXO and the new joiner is better than sending out a video and, in that orientation, some of the very important reasons why the employee chose to join are explained:

  • Financial benefits: Ranging from a breakdown of the paycheck to tax saving schemes, return filing, and incentive offerings (if any), an explanation would make things clear without a shadow of a doubt.
  • Health benefits & perks: With lifestyle wellness, a crucial factor before an employee takes up a job, highlighting what health benefit schemes like insurance, employee assistance programs, and perks are there on the table would give them a sense of security.
  • Intro of the job in hand: Once the benefits are on the table, the orientation can end with a brief introduction to the team the new employee would work with and then ultimately planning a meet and greet with the manager.

➡ Tête-à-tête with the manager

Most managers want to have a word with the new joiners on their own before introducing them to the team to cast an ironclad first impression on how things are done. Setting it up is crucial when bringing remote employees on board, as this would be the first interaction that'd tell an employee what's expected of them. This includes an introduction to the team's targets, mission, vision, and where it's supposed to be headed.

Step 2: Welcoming the remote employee into the culture

A positive point about onboarding an employee in the office premise is that s/he gets to feel the vibe around on their own. One might get in sync with someone due to their likenesses of Star Wars, or another might stick with a team member.

Either way, this isn’t possible when onboarding a remote employee. Hence, it’s a different ballgame to welcoming a remote employee into the culture, and here’s how it’s done:

➡ Virtual culture is the best host.

When it comes to employees working from a thousand miles away, the culture should be virtual, and a virtual culture isn’t built over email threads. With employee engagement leading to almost 40% of people quitting their jobs every year and jumping another ship in search of a happier one, virtual culture would ensure that the remote employees stick.

Empuls is the perfect solution for a global workforce and the one who works from the same office. This employee engagement solution builds an engaged and motivated culture with remote employees feeling the vibe on Empuls itself. People celebrating big wins, sharing a laugh, appreciating colleagues over a job well done, or just being there—it brings a smile onto the remote employee’s face.

➡ Hit it off with some virtual icebreaker games

Sure, scrolling through an organization’s Empuls account would give them a good idea. They might join a few groups according to their hobbies and preferences, but a personal connection with the team would go with some icebreaker games. From two truths and a lie to a walkthrough of one’s place, icebreaking is fun, and it makes the remote employee coming onboard feel at home.

➡ Keep your in-office teams online

The peeps working inside the office premises need to pay heed to their remote team members. Assign a virtual walk-along buddy to the newly joined remote employee—preferably of the same profile if possible—and let them walk through everything that they did for a week or two. The people they met, what their roles were, and everything else. This would help in imbibing a sense of belongingness in the remote employee.

➡ Send out a virtual gift

Gift baskets are cool and all, but let’s face it—they don’t come cheap. However, gift vouchers are an exemplary way to welcome your new remote employees onboard. Be it giving your employees a work-from-home upgrade, closet makeover, or a budget for their essential needs—Empuls is the perfect way to send it over.

Step 3: Get the remote employees to work!

A very handy tip to get employees into the work mode as soon as they join is to send them a detailed job role document with a mock task. This shouldn’t be used as a medium to evaluate what the employee can do, but just a way to grease the wheels. Here are some more things to do to set them up with a game-face on:

➡ Crystal-clear communication

Starting from a conversation about what to do on the job to daily huddles, biweekly plans, and monthly brainstorming for projects, communication is a must in every aspect of remote employees. Get them hooked to the proper channel of communication and assist them with tasks at the start.

➡ Tech tools for collaboration

Ranging from an email ID setup, registering to a cloud-based office suite, and the most crucial one—a videoconferencing app—get all the tech tools to the remote employees so that they can play around with it.

➡ Feedback mechanism

A one-to-one feedback session would benefit both the manager and the newly onboarded remote employee to understand the expectations and performances. Empuls come with a pulse survey, which is the ultimate feedback mechanism to brew the champion’s ultimate breakfast.

Simplify it with an employee intranet software

As stated above, employee onboarding is a crucial phase in scraping productivity out of the newbies. While managing the proceedings is deemed to be the HR's job, it's not just about them, but a collective team effort. This can simply be synchronized with an employee intranet software.

Give your new joiners a chance to express themselves with a short introduction and their likings well, not in a middle-school way but with Empuls. Empuls makes it easy for new employees to get oriented with the culture. This employee engagement platform takes special consideration by introducing newbies to everyone where they can connect, collaborate, and chat about everything work and life.

Ready to onboard your remote squad?

Onboarding remote employees is a considerable part of the future workforce matrix, and it’s important to have a basic onboarding process checklist in hand that ensures that everything is covered. These three steps are just right to bring your next steps of employees onboard. Happy hiring!

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Syed Maaz

Syed Maaz LinkedIn

Maaz is a writer by heart and by deeds. Since he discovered the wrath of words on people's minds and hearts, he's made it his quest to match people's thoughts to intricate topics by demystifying them.