Remote Onboarding Checklist: The Dos and Don’ts

Remote Onboarding

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many companies to move toward a remote work structure, either running their business entirely remotely, or adopting a hybrid approach. Thing is, remote work had already been gaining in popularity for years; the pandemic has simply accelerated the pace of fully remote onboarding.

Merely moving to a remote work environment isn’t enough, though. To succeed in this different climate, you’ll want to compile a remote onboarding checklist so that you can succeed in your efforts to bring onboarding online.

What does that remote employee’s onboarding checklist look like? Let’s take a look, by examining the dos and don’ts of remote onboarding.


1. Transmit Your Company’s Culture During Remote Onboardings

Do make every effort to build a company culture. If you want to know how to onboard employees virtually, it starts there.

Remote employees can feel isolated and neglected without the camaraderie that comes from working shoulder to shoulder with others in an office. Building a strong and cohesive company culture can help your workers feel united, appreciated, and more invested in the company’s success.

To build that culture, replace some of your meeting times with socializing time. When you meet Monday mornings, invite people to discuss their weekends. Weave in some virtual happy hours so people can feel connected and learn to trust and appreciate their colleagues. Finding the right balance between productivity and fun is an important starter on the list of remote onboarding tips.

2. Encourage Open Communication

Do encourage open communication. All too often, managers create a work environment where workers don’t feel empowered to speak their minds. That’s already a problem when everyone’s working in a central office. It’s an even bigger problem when it comes to remote onboarding.

Letting remote workers know that they can and should speak honestly will help make everyone feel like they’re helping the company improve. That kind of open communication should include trusting workers to be critical of their supervisors, if the situation warrants it. If the boss has free rein to criticise workers constructively with the expectation that they will improve, workers should have the latitude to do the same to their managers.


1. Assume Candidates Know How to Use All the Tools

Don’t assume employees know how to use all the tools at their disposal. The remote employees onboarding checklist will always include an array of high-tech tools designed to make communication and collaboration easier. But those tools may end up useless, unless you invest the time and resources to train your remote workers on how to use them.

That training process must include your most sophisticated tools, such as enterprise software. But don’t stop there. Apps like Slack, Zoom, and Asana may be simple to use, but having basic competency when using them isn’t enough. Take the time to train your remote employees to learn all the tricks, tips, and shortcuts that will enable them to take full advantage of all the tools at their disposal.

2. Replicate the On-site Onboarding Experience

Don’t try to simulate to replicate the on-site onboarding experience for your remote workers. 

The first reason why you shouldn’t try that is because these two work environments are very different. You simply can’t tap your co-worker at the next cubicle on the shoulder if everyone’s working remotely. So rather than fumbling desperately to capture that central office environment, acknowledge that these are two different ways of working, and use the best practices possible that you are uniquely suited to onboarding online.

The second reason why you shouldn’t try to recreate the on-site onboarding experience is because a central office work setup, frankly, can be overrated. The average on-site worker gets an average of just two hours and fifty-three minutes of actual work done per day. Is that a goal you really want to shoot for now that you’re trying to go remote? While a global pandemic is a terrible impetus for change, it does still grant you an opportunity to not only do things differently…but to do them better, as well.

Struggling with the Onboarding Process?

Remote onboarding is entirely different than the onsite onboarding process. It requires different tools and a different mindset regarding what is the best approach for candidates. If you are struggling to set up the onboarding process for remote candidates, let us help you. We have helped companies hire the best tech talent worldwide and advise them on the best processes and strategies to manage their remote company (or employee/s). Contact us!

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Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman believes every company, from the biggest enterprise to the newly-launched garage startup, should have access to world’s top talent. That’s why he used over 10 years of experience in tech industry recruitment & HR to create DistantJob. His unique recruitment model allows DistantJob’s clients to get high quality IT experts working remotely at a fraction of the usual cost - with no red tape and within two weeks.