How do you make someone feel part of your team without meeting them in person?
How do you communicate your company culture through a screen?
Remote onboarding might seem like a challenge, but you can still make new team members feel comfortable and motivated by following a few simple steps.
Before we go on, it’s worth putting yourself in the shoes of a new hire for a second: they’ve just started a new job (which can be scary at the best of times), and now they’re sat at home, disconnected from the team, probably wondering what they should be doing.
So, it’s now on you to make them feel like they’re part of a team.
1. Start with a pre-onboarding call (1-2 weeks out)
Give new team members a chance to meet their manager/ team informally before the onboarding begins.
This call is an opportunity to ask any questions and get acquainted with the people they’ll be working most closely with.
This pre-onboarding call doesn’t need to be longer than 30mins or so, its main purpose is to ease new hires in slowly and say hi to the team.
2. Get legal stuff out of the way before the start date
You don’t want someone’s first week to consist of form-filling.
Get all the necessary documents (e.g. contract) sent over to candidates before they start - you could send them immediately following the pre-onboarding call whilst it’s still top-of-mind.
P.S. Save yourself the hassle of printing, scanning, posting, etc and get something like DocuSign.
3. Make sure tech is in place
It’s hard to hit the ground running when you’ve got heaps of software to download and services to create accounts for.
Remote onboarding 101: get all the IT stuff out of the way before your new hire starts.
Did they receive their laptop? Have they accessed their Gmail account? Have they been added to all the tools and tech their team uses?
At Applied, we tend to have a quick call a few days before new team members start to ensure they have their laptop ready-to-go and to see if they have any other requirements like a mouse, laptop stand, monitor, etc.
4. Schedule intro calls and meetings for the first week
Quick intro calls with team members from different departments are an essential part of the onboarding process.
Make sure these are all scheduled in before new hires’ first week, with the agenda and video links. Knowing what to expect should make the first week seem less daunting.
Not all of these need to be structured and work-focused, some of these intros can be more social get-to-know-you conversations.
5. Get new hires excited by sending over resources
Now - we’re not suggesting you lumber new hires with a ton of essential reading.
However, you could send them some resources around your organisation’s mission and how things work. You want them to get a feel for what they’ll be doing and why.
We issue every new recruit at Applied with a copy of Iris Bohnet’s What Works (essential reading for anyone who cares about more inclusive workplaces)
If you have a Google Drive with material to browse through, then this could work too.
The idea isn’t to bore people to death - remote onboarding should be enjoyable. You want to get them excited about what you do so that they start their first week raring to go… so choose your resources wisely.
6. Kick-off with a mini-project to ease them into the role
When the first week finally roles around, are there any small projects that the new team member could get stuck into?
This doesn’t have to be something that will have a huge impact, it’s to get the new hire used to the tech, team, and general way your organisation works.
I, for example, wrote this blog post in my first week at Applied, outlining my hiring experience.
Putting it all together: our remote onboarding checklist
To make sure our remote onboarding is as thorough as possible, we send this checklist to new team members, which you can adapt for your own onboarding.
This example is for a marketing role...
If you’re missing any of the below, please let us know.
- Notebook, stickers, and What Works book.
- Any other equipment? Monitor? Stand?
HR & Admin
- Employment Contract
- Payroll - bank account info
- Background Check
- Email Account
- G Drive
- Applied Platform
You should be invited to the following tools:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
Things to do in the first week
- Entry Interview
- How I like to work (a survey about preferred working hours, style, etc)
- Product Demo
- Intro to customer success
- 3x Sales discovery calls
- Intro to the Marketing Team
- Intro to Commercial Team
- Intro into Research
- Intro to Sales Ops
- History of Applied
- Wifi setup
- Printer setup
At Applied, we put inclusion at the forefront of everything we do. Find out how we’ve reimagined a fairer hiring process by reading our free resources or starting a free trial of the Applied platform.