Having a comprehensive onboarding process is vital if you want to keep your employees happy and engaged. If employees feel well-trained in their roles and immersed in the company culture, then they’re much more likely to stay long-term, which is ultimately far more cost-effective for your business.

However, the rise of remote working has raised concerns about how to effectively onboard remote employees and make them feel part of the team. Remote working is fantastic for work/life balance and can even boost productivity, but it’s no secret that it can also be isolating, making it harder for new employees to integrate into the company.

So, if you’re a business owner, how should you onboard new employees when they work from home full-time? Keep reading to discover the best remote onboarding tips and tricks.

1. Complete Necessary Documents

Whenever you hire a new employee, you’ll have to deal with a plethora of legal and administrative tasks. For example, you should be aware of their tax code and administer their payroll details, employment contract and various other documents.

To ensure that the onboarding process goes as smoothly as possible, you should complete these tasks and send over the documents that the employee needs to sign well before their start date. Printing, signing, scanning and emailing contracts can be very time-consuming, so to make things easier for your new employee, you could use an e-signature tool like DocuSign to allow the employee to sign their contracts digitally.

2. Send IT Equipment

Those working in an office will already have easy access to company equipment, such as computers, laptops, keyboards and office chairs. However, for your remote employees, you’ll have to provide them with this IT equipment so they have everything they need to complete their work.

Therefore, just like with the employment documents, you’ll need to send this equipment well before the employee’s start date so they have time to set everything up. Your employee will always need a company laptop to handle documents securely, but they may also need a keyboard, mouse, chair and even a desk if they don’t already have an office space at home. It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees have what they need to work in a comfortable, ergonomic space that prevents office-related strain injuries.

3. Introduce Them to the Company Culture

Company culture is all about the shared values, goals and attitudes within your business. To make your remote employees feel like part of the team, it’s important that they understand your company culture and connect with it.

But how can you include someone in the company culture when they work remotely? First of all, you should send your new employee a digital copy of the employee handbook, as this will familiarise them with the general values and standards upheld by the company. Previous presentations on company culture are another great resource to share.

Additionally, you can send them some company merchandise along with their IT equipment. Having some company-branded notebooks, pens or coffee mugs can make your remote employees feel more included in the team.

4. Set Up Communication Channels

As a business that encourages remote working, your company should already have various digital communication channels in place, such as Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. During the onboarding process, your new employee should be made aware of the main communication channels used by the company and taught how to use them. This will ensure that they can communicate effectively with their team and not be left out of important conversations and decisions.

5. Arrange Team Meetings

Once your new employee has started their first day of work, it’s time to officially introduce them to the rest of the team. This will help them learn about the structure of the company and connect with their colleagues.

Since they won’t be able to meet people in person, your new employee will need to be introduced to their team members via video calls. Throughout their first week, you can schedule a number of remote meetings with different teams so they can get acquainted.

6. Set Clear Development Goals

Within these meetings with your new employee, you can discuss your expectations for the role and define some clear development goals over the next few months. You should work on these goals together and come up with a suitable timeframe for each one. Generally, the onboarding process can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, so you should outline what you expect within a couple of weeks, the first month, the first three months and so on.

At this point, you should give your new employee the opportunity to ask any questions about this onboarding process. This will clear up any confusion before issues can arise.

7. Provide Online Training Courses

If you want your remote employees to achieve these goals, they need to have access to comprehensive training courses. Training can be much more difficult when you can’t mentor them in person, which is why your company needs to develop high-quality online training courses if you want to make remote working a success. These courses should ideally be engaging and interactive, as this is much more likely to lead to in-depth understanding than just watching monotonous or even irrelevant training videos.

Including Remote Workers in the Team

Overall, onboarding a remote employee can lead to a lot of challenges, but this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to integrate these employees into your business successfully. By adjusting your onboarding process to suit the needs of remote workers, you can ensure that everyone in your company feels part of the team, no matter where they work.

However, creating a strong team and company culture doesn’t end when the onboarding process is complete. To keep all of your employees engaged in their work, remember to check in on them regularly and ask for feedback, as this will show them you value their input. In addition, don’t forget to schedule some non-work-related get-togethers too – a company meal or day out every once in a while is a great way to boost morale!