top of page

Breaking Barriers, Building Connections: The Power of Remote Onboarding

Onboarding a new employee when on-site is challenging enough and when done remotely, there’s even more at stake. Onboarding processes take conscious thought and detailed planning to execute successfully. This need is even more critical in a remote setting.

The remote onboarding process will take longer because remote new hires are not in the office and privy to many activities that happen organically as part of their natural assimilation into the culture. There will be a critical need to strategically “structure spontaneity,” as counterintuitive as that may sound. Creating a plan that will intently allow for the informal moments for the new hire to connect with others is vital in helping to mitigate the already existing potential for feeling disconnected and isolated.

There are several best practices among companies that have effective remote onboarding programs. They include the following:

  1. Create a detailed onboarding plan. Depending on the size and complexity of the business, it should cover a one-to-two week period.

  2. In the plan, prearrange all meetings (approximately two to four per day) to introduce critical individuals and essential processes.

  3. Balance the meeting activities with formal agendas and informal chats with no agenda, to get to know coworkers individually.

  4. Make it fun. Use engaging team photos and videos as part of the online welcome package. Have the new hire go on a virtual scavenger hunt or pick up clues from various people and places to solve a puzzle at the end.

  5. The first day on the job is critical, even more so virtually. Before their first day, send a welcome card and company swag gift. For the first-day lunch, have food delivered to the new hire’s home and enjoy a virtual lunch together.

  6. Assign a virtual buddy for the first few days who is the new hire’s primary go-to for all needs or questions, just like the on-site buddy. Ensure this buddy is readily available via instant messenger throughout the day.

  7. Make sure to hold an end of first-day check-in where you ask for feedback on how their first day went and preview the onboarding plans coming up.

  8. As part of the onboarding plan provide a meaningful but smaller-scale project to sink their teeth into right away. New hires want to make a couple of early home runs and create value as quickly as possible. What better way than by contributing to the work on a purposeful project?

Take charge of remote employee onboarding and ensure success. Onboarding new employees is already a challenge, but doing it remotely amplifies the stakes. Act now to develop a comprehensive strategy that fosters seamless integration, sets clear expectations, and promotes effective communication. Don't let the distance hinder your onboarding process - empower your new hires to thrive from day one.

Dr. Merrylue Martin is President and CEO of the Job Joy Group and best-selling author of the Big Quit Survival Guide. To learn more, visit and connect on LinkedIn.


bottom of page