Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees

Remote working has become an increasingly common arrangement that offers plenty of benefits for both employees and employers. Approximately 62% of employees say they work remotely some of the time, while 44% of workers report that their team includes full-time remote employees. Despite the growing popularity of remote working, plenty of companies still struggle with onboarding remote employees. 

Below, we’re exploring best practices for onboarding remote employees and providing an employee checklist template to help guide your virtual onboarding processes. 

Why onboard remote employees?

Companies and employees are embracing the remote work movement for a number of reasons. Of course, millions of formerly employed workers are now hunting for jobs, while many companies are considering a shift to off-site hiring on a permanent basis in a post-COVID world.

Remote workers typically enjoy more flexibility than their on-site counterparts, along with a reduction in the stress and expense of commuting to the job. For employers, utilizing remote staff can offer cost savings and increased productivity while opening up a much larger talent pool from which to recruit.

The onboarding phase is a critical time that can make or break a new employee’s impression of the company and heavily influence their decision to stay long term. So, how do you optimize your company’s virtual onboarding process to ensure that remote employees get up and running as smoothly as possible? One of the best ways to get started is by creating a virtual staff onboarding checklist. 

How to create the best virtual employee checklist template

In order to make the most of your remote employee onboarding, it’s important to give them the same considerations and opportunities as in-person employees. This begins even before the candidate has been offered a job — during the recruitment phase. Let’s take a closer look. 

Pre-employment: It’s critical that remote candidates have a clear understanding of the job they’re applying for and what it entails. You should create a job ad that explicitly lays out expectations of the role, anticipated hours of work, and methods for updating or monitoring productivity. Are there recurring meetings the recruit will be required to attend? What objectives or protocols will they measure their work against? 

Additionally, giving candidates a clear sense of your company’s brand and culture can be a major differentiator that sets your organization apart. Just because some employees are remote doesn’t mean they don’t value being a part of a tight-knit team, and the more you can communicate the camaraderie and cultural values your team espouses, the better your odds of attracting like-minded employees. 

Pre-boarding: Prior to your new remote employee’s first day, you’ll want to begin getting them acclimated and ensure they have everything they need to be successful. Of course, there’s always plenty of paperwork involved in onboarding, whether the employee is remote or on-site. Instead of sending paper documents back and forth in the mail, consider a virtual signing system like DocuSign. 

Other important points for pre-boarding include: 

  • Putting the recruit in touch with proper HR and management points of contact who can answer questions 
  • Providing a copy of the company handbook and/or access to employee intranet if applicable
  • Ensuring all tools and equipment the employee will need are issued or ordered as necessary
  • Setting up online accounts like company email, cloud storage, and HR or payroll
  • Conducting a virtual office or HQ tour to help familiarize the employee with home base operations and key personnel
  • Introducing team members with whom the recruit will be working 

What not to forget in your onboarding checklist template

When compiling a virtual onboarding checklist, it can be easy to overlook important aspects. Make sure your remote employees get everything they need out of the onboarding process by ensuring you hit the following areas: 

Compliance: This includes the most fundamental requirements of the employee’s job, along with essential company rules, policies, and procedures. 

Culture: Just because an employee is remote doesn’t mean the company culture takes a backseat. Even remote employees need to know the norms, values, and expectations of the organization.

Connection: This is perhaps the most important aspect of onboarding remote employees. Because they’re not on-site, it’s imperative remote workers know exactly who they can turn to with any questions, whether related to their job specifically or to the company and operating procedures in general. 

Introducing Wrike’s staff onboarding checklist

The good news is that Wrike makes onboarding remote employees a breeze with employee onboarding templates. With Wrike, you can create a custom form that captures all the critical information needed to bring new remote employees onto the team. You’ll also be able to build checklists for critical day one tasks.

Ready to see just how Wrike makes onboarding remote employees easier than ever? Sign up below to start a free two-week trial today!

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