6 ways to onboard remote employees with a warm welcome

Starting a new job can be overwhelming. There are people to meet, paperwork to complete and tons of training – sometimes all in a single day. It’s one thing to coordinate numerous first day duties when everyone’s under one roof. But getting your new hires up to speed when one or both of you are working outside the office requires special finesse.

Bringing at-home employees onto your team? Use this new hire checklist to help you roll out the welcome mat when onboarding remote employees.

Send equipment before day 1

Setting remote employees up for success starts from day one. Actually, make that before day one. Getting all necessary equipment into their capable hands prior to the start date will help them hit the ground running. Be aware this might mean placing the order a week or more in advance – and be sure to account for any potential delivery delays.

If your new remote employee will be given a company credit card, you can also allow them to make equipment purchases themselves. Same advice applies though. Have them confirm the anticipated delivery date prior to submitting an order.

Mail more than just a monitor

Once you’ve nailed down the necessities, time to make their welcome package a little warmer.
Consider gifting them some fun, work-related items to show how happy you are to have them aboard. Your company care package might include:

    • Branded swag and promotional items with your logo (pens, mugs, notebooks, etc.)
    • Company clothes (shirts, hats, canvas bags)
    • A hand-written welcome note from the team (include those at the top levels)
    • Little extras (a gift card to their local coffee shop, headphones with their initials, best-selling business books)
    • Office supplies (laptop stand, light ring, web cam, ergonomic tools)
 

Make sure your IT department is readily available

Troubleshooting technology is an unavoidable part of working remotely. But first day jitters are hard enough without having to set up solo. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your IT team on standby. No new employee needs to feel like setting up their new laptop is a sink or swim test of their resourcefulness.

Make sure they have all the necessary contacts they need and can get in touch via multiple communication channels. For most businesses that means: a company email, one or more messaging apps and your preferred video conference platform.

Even if you provide manuals for self-setup, your IT pros should double check that more involved processes like cloud applications, security software and password preferences have been installed correctly.

Streamline your paperwork

There’s nothing that says new hire paperwork can’t be paperless. In fact, most remote employees probably prefer it that way. Now that many people are working virtually, analog processes can feel extra inefficient. What’s more, you can’t be sure all remote employees will have easy access to a home printer or scanner.

The solution? Have them eSign.

Online applications like DocuSign and Hello Sign are seamless options. They make it simple for remote new hires to digitally and securely sign legally binding documents right from their home offices.

Loop them in on company culture

Each one of your employees is an important part of your company culture. That’s true even for those who do their officing elsewhere. Understanding the nuances of what makes your organization unique requires more than just a copy of your handbook. (Although you should absolutely send a digital version of that, too!)

For a fuller picture, start by sharing your company values, your backstory and how you measure success beyond numbers and metrics. You might put these in presentation form, or have someone from your HR department do a more personal one-on-one.

If you have photos or videos from things like past company picnics, annual retreats or team building exercises don’t hesitate to cue them up.

Keep in touch

Remember that a single orientation isn’t enough to keep your team tethered. A successful onboarding event is only the beginning. To keep your remote employees engaged, you’ll want to think of ways to show they’re on your mind, even if they’re out of sight. These personal or professional touch points can prevent the feeling of isolation from weakening your working relationships.

An at-home employee’s first day sets a long-term tone. Even if you can’t do it in person, a warm welcome can be felt no matter how far away your remote team may be.