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Guide To Onboarding Remote Employees & Free Checklist

We all seem a lot more accustomed to working from home by now. Team members who know their company well and already have a routine, are usually comfortable working independently from home. For new employees, this is a whole different story. Having to onboard new employees remotely can be quite complicated.

Guide To Onboarding Remote Employees & Free Checklist
Joanna Marlow
Joanna Marlow

Since the global pandemic, working from home has become the norm. By now, most companies have found a way to deal with this change by introducing new systems or workflows. However, some great challenges remain. Onboarding new employees remotely, for example. How can you ensure all info is received correctly, while also making them feel a part of the team? This guide explains exactly how to smoothen the process, plus you can download a handy checklist for free!

Table of Contents:

1. Onboarding online vs. onsite
2. Create a digital onboarding folder
3. Digitalize all HR paperwork
4. Arrange hardware and IT support ahead of time
5. Send a welcome gift
6. Set up a series of regular check-in meetings
7. Re-create the talks at the coffee machine
8. Implement project management software
9. Conclusion & download checklist

Onboarding online vs. onsite

The difference between onboarding team members online versus onsite is as clear as day. Normally, countless subconscious elements help a new employee to get the gist of what a company is about. This happens just by being present and observing how other team members work.

It also influences how fast new employees settle in, having a new workspace to return to each day.

Vice versa, welcoming them onsite also makes it easier to evaluate the extent to which they are catching on to what the company is about. So many cues and indications are lost when the possibility to read a person’s body language and non-verbal communication is limited.

To overcome these obstacles, a structured process must be developed for onboarding team members remotely. In the next paragraphs, we will provide some recommendations.

Create a digital onboarding folder

Step 1: create a complete online onboarding procedure that fits best with your companies’ workflow and operations. This procedure might look totally different depending on the size and complexity of your organization.

For small to medium-sized companies, it would suffice to put together an onboarding folder with chapters about company culture, use of tools and systems, procedures to follow, where to find passwords, and so on. 

Add in the links to important documents, recordings, and tutorials, that way it will function as a comprehensive manual for employees to refer to throughout the onboarding process.

After each chapter, a video call can be planned with the manager/team member who is most knowledgeable about the topic, to further elaborate.

Bigger companies need to think bigger. Some enterprise companies have dedicated websites on which they host their onboarding program. Besides documentation, they often include how-to videos and a chat function with designated onboarding ‘buddies’. 

Create a digital onboarding folder for new remote employees

Digitalize all HR paperwork

In this day and age, there should be no reason to print and scan anything anymore. It takes a lot of unnecessary time and effort, even with your new employee on site. With e-signature tools such as DocuSign, you can send and sign paperwork digitally. 

There are a number of HR and payroll management tools available in the market that can help you keep everything digitalized and organized while protecting employees’ confidential information.

Arrange hardware and IT support ahead of time

It might be a challenge for last-minute hires, but if you can, make sure to order hardware for remote employees in a timely manner.

Sending them their computers well ahead of the first workday gives them the opportunity to get everything set up properly.

Once they confirm receiving it, you can plan a meeting with your IT department to help them get started.

Make sure new remote employees receive their equipment ahead of time.

Send a welcome gift

Sending them a welcome gift is a nice way to make new remote employees feel part of the team. 

To find out what they might like, remember the fun, informal questions you asked during the interview to get to know them. You could send them a gift card for their favorite restaurant or store, for example.

Company merchandise is also a great idea! Branded sweaters are very popular. So are other practical items they can use while working from home. Think of a coffee mug, mousepad, or laptop cover.

Set up a series of regular check-in meetings

Your remote onboarding plan should include regular meetings. Sometimes a lengthy evaluation, plus short check-ins in between tasks or after training sessions. 

Either way, make sure to have a schedule for these moments and communicate it with your new employee.

It’s convenient for them to know when the next opportunity to ask questions will be, so they can prepare accordingly.

Set up a series of regular check-in meetings with new remote employees

Re-create those talks at the coffee machine

Working from home has proven how fruitful those conversations by the coffee machine can be. Sometimes the best ideas come up during casual talks between team members and cross-department employees. 

When you’re completely invested in a project, a fresh perspective from other colleagues can be so inspiring. As mentioned earlier, you always have an idea of what other departments are working on just by being present. Working from home, you usually only connect with your own team.

Furthermore, many teams have noticed how the collective ‘team spirit’ dramatically decreased once they started working remotely. Even worse, imagine employees joining or leaving the company while you barely even notice. Weird right?

For all these reasons, it’s important to find a way to recreate those coffee machine talks. Create a schedule for employees to have 30-minute catch-up meetings with randomly selected team members for example. 

Slack has an integration called Donut, that does exactly this. You can also create multiple channels within the chat feature with leisurely topics such as movies, food, and pets. This gives teams a place to casually babble and get to know each other too.

Implement project management software

Getting a new remote employee up to speed with the projects they need to work on is easy-peasy with a project management tool such as Rodeo.

It offers one central system for remote employees to collaborate, share files, and view project schedules with shared tasks. In turn, it gives managers a clear overview of what everyone is working on as the project comes along. 

Using an online platform is a perfect way to get new employees familiar with the workflow and into the swing of things. 

Conclusion & download checklist

When proposed with hindrances, we must be flexible and innovative. These qualities, aided by modern technology, can help your company adapt to the new normal. 

This definitely goes for conducting the onboarding process remotely too, which should never be underestimated anyway. The effects of a poor onboarding experience can do a lot of potential damage.

Thoroughly planning out the process, making extra effort to make newbies feel welcome, and giving them opportunities to connect with the team can make all the difference. Besides this, automating and digitalizing things wherever possible makes everything simple and straightforward.

To make sure you are extra thorough, we have created a handy checklist for you. Download it for free and use it to make sure you will never forget any crucial details.


In addition to this free checklist, you can try Rodeo 14 days for free. Discover how easy it is to get your remote team connected through one digital platform. Need more information? Plan a free demo so our experts can explain how Rodeo completely optimizes your workflows.

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