What we’ve learnt about remote on-boarding

7 tips for onboarding your new hires!

Most of us agree that ‘the way we work’ has changed significantly because of the challenges of 2020 and no I’m not talking about BREXIT.

Pre-pandemic, many organisations invested heavily in the onboarding programme for new hires, funding travel and accommodation to bring them to ‘head office’ for a comprehensive programme of meetings, training, and introductions to key stakeholders. So, what has changed?

Starting a new job in a pandemic is a different experience, IT equipment gets delivered by courier, training has moved on-line, and introductions happen by zoom. Managers had to quickly get to grips with having one-to-ones remotely, holding team meetings virtually, measuring output instead of the number of hours at a desk. All of these things are here to stay with hybrid working.


  1. THE PROCESS: Remember the employee experience starts with recruitment. The handover between recruitment and HR/line manager needs to be seamless. When a new hire has been in post for a while and we realise that we can’t action payroll because a key piece of information is missing, our new hires lose confidence in us. Develop a checklist, do whatever you need to do but make sure the hiring process is fully complete before induction begins.
  2. IT: Getting the right equipment delivered is usually the easy bit as long as you remember to order it in plenty of time. Once you have sorted the hardware, make the most of software to introduce new hires to the company, use e-signatures and electronic document sharing software. Remember your new hire will probably need to use their smart phone to access content initially (until you have delivered their laptop), so access to videos and on-line training that work on a mobile platform will get better engagement.
  3. YOUR BRAND: Deliver the vision, values and employer brand messaging up front (before the new hire starts if you can). Include videos from employees that tell a story of their own journey and ‘how we do things around here’.
  4. MEET THE TEAM: Remember orientation is a very small part of the onboarding programme, but it’s still important. Getting to meet colleagues and knowing how to find information can get forgotten in a remote programme.
  5. THE MANAGER: Start with the manager, in any new process. Do managers need training or coaching to be able to support remote new hires? Check out our free managers resource for ‘managing remote teams’ just go to the knowledgeshare page on our website.
  6. WELCOME: Include a genuine welcome from the boss! This could be a phone/video call, or a personal card or email. Canned messages are not nearly as effective at engaging new hires as a short personal message, but recorded messages do have their place in the process.
  7. FEEDBACK & REVIEW: Build in the opportunity for the new hire to ‘feedback’. New hires always have questions, we need to make it easy for them to learn our processes and to tell us what else they need. Using remote buddy’s or allocating an onboarding mentor, are effective options. Finally, review the process regularly so that you can continuously improve the employee experience.