7 Steps to Onboard and Retain Employees in a Remote Work Environment

7 Steps to Onboard and Retain Employees in a Remote Work Environment

Onboarding employees in a remote work environment can have challenges, especially if you don’t have a plan to ensure the remote employee has the equipment and guidance needed for success. However, with a well-organized remote employee onboarding checklist, you can avoid these challenges and successfully onboard, integrate, and retain new remote employees. Learn more about the top seven tips for building a remote employee onboarding checklist.

1. Start Early 

When you’re in the process of remote employee onboarding, it’s best practice to get started on any paperwork or plans early. Besides saving you the stress of leaving everything to the last minute on day one of onboarding, starting early can help the employee feel welcomed and valued as soon as they begin their new position with you. 

A disorganized hiring process can make new employees feel like they aren’t important to the company and will only leave them feeling more overwhelmed at the new position. In contrast, if you give the new employee a well-outlined plan, have any necessary equipment delivered to them in advance, and provide them with someone who can guide them through their first days, they’ll likely feel more at ease and like they’re doing something valuable from the moment they start work.

2. Have a Well Outlined Plan

During your new-hire prep, take a moment to create a custom plan to onboard remote employees for your company. In this plan, include information that illustrates the culture and expectations you want to define your organization. You might also include a timetable for their onboarding and training process, as well as any other information you think is relevant to them.

3. Prepare Remote Employees for Success

With your plan created, it’s time to set up your new remote employee for success. Unlike in-person work at an office, new employees often don’t have the equipment necessary to do their jobs. If that equipment doesn’t arrive before the new employee’s first day, you’ll likely lose out on productivity and slow the training process down. To prepare your new employee for early success, consider the tips below:

  • Order all necessary equipment ahead of time.
    • Set a company standard for the employee’s computer and preload it with the appropriate ID, software, and APPS. You can also have someone bookmark frequently used sites beforehand.
    • Send other accessories, such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, directly to the employee.
    • If possible, schedule an in-person first-day visit with an onboarding liaison to deliver the computer and go over best practices for use and general operations.
      • If an in-person visit is not an option, send the preloaded computer to arrive in advance of the first day and set aside day one for virtual discussion with the liaison and new team member.
      • Provide a welcome gift of company swag or something similar.
  • Schedule a one-on-one with a direct supervisor and/or other department members on day two.
  • Provide a copy of the employee handbook and team bios to help illustrate the culture and team environment.
  • Complete any onboarding paperwork required for payroll.

4. Assign a New Hire Buddy

Another way you can raise the chances of a smooth onboarding process is to assign a “new hire buddy” to your freshly hired employee. Essentially, a hiring buddy is someone currently at your company who can answer any questions the new hire might have and give them advice on how to excel at their role. This new-hire buddy can also give the new employee a mentor to turn to for additional help or advice. Some of our tips for assigning a new hire buddy include:

  • Create a consistent new hire buddy plan that can be used with all new hires.
  • If possible, select a new hire buddy with one to two years of experience within the company.
  • Schedule meetings that align with the plan up until a minimum of 90 days. After 90 days, the new hire should be acclimated enough to the company that they don’t need as many meetings with their buddy. However, you might still schedule intermittent check-in sessions if you believe it would be valuable for your new hire.

5. Set Calendar Invites to Meet the Staff

A great method to make a new hire feel included and immediately a part of the team is to have them meet various staff members virtually. While an in-person employee would naturally meet other people, a remote employee won’t have that luxury. Some tips for these virtual meetings include:

  • Schedule weekly virtual lunch or coffee meetings with other staff members until the new employee has met the entire team.
  • Generate a fun list of Q&A to use during this meeting time as a “get to know your coworker” experience.

6. Implement Role-Specific Training Calendar

While much of onboarding is getting a new employee familiar with your company as a whole, you’ll also want to prepare them for success in their specific role. A role-specific calendar will ensure the employee has all the information they need to succeed in their position. Some training sessions or teaching resources you might add to this calendar include:

  • Webinars
  • Written processes
  • Custom videos describing the services offered by the company

7. Plan for the Future

Alongside preparing for day one, it’s important to plan for the future. By planning for the future, you can ensure the employee doesn’t start to fall behind after a great start. To prepare for the future and ensure the employee has what they need to succeed, determine check-in goals and schedule follow-up meetings. Staying in touch with a new hire can also boost remote employee retention, as they’ll continue to feel valued, even by those they don’t normally interact with.

Choose Thinc Strategy for Professional Business Services 

At Thinc Strategy, we’re proud to provide our clients with professional business services that cover everything from developing a remote worker onboarding checklist to assisting with ownership transitions. When you turn to us for strategy assistance, our business development consultants will work with you to understand your company inside and out. Once we understand your needs, we can provide a number of performance-based services, including business assessments, financial reviews, leadership development training, and feasibility studies. 

Learn more about our performance services today. If you have any questions or want to schedule a consultation, please contact us.