If you’ve switched to remote onboarding, you know how challenging it is. It can be difficult to connect with new employees online, but it’s not impossible. Today, we wanted to walk you through a remote onboarding checklist you can use to pull remote employees into your company culture every time.
Using a checklist customized for onboarding remote employees can help streamline the process creating a better, more engaging experience for virtual workers.
To make it easier, we have broken down the onboarding checklist into two focused checklists:
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A well thought out remote onboarding checklist will:
- Prepare remote employees to successfully manage the logistics of working remotely
- Help virtual employees to smoothly integrate into the company culture and develop friendships with colleagues beyond work
- Reduce stress and anxiety for new employees by having a clearly defined onboarding process
- Boost employee enthusiasm and confidence in being supported by their team
We have outlined 7 stages in a remote onboarding checklist that will help you and your new remote employees enjoy these benefits and more.
Remote Onboarding Checklist
At WorkBright, we are passionate about onboarding. The first day of work should be joyful, and if you want that to happen, you have to do the right work before Day One.
According to an Indeed survey, 1 in 5 workers accepted a job offer and then ghosted their employers on the first day of work, ghosting is even easier when you never step foot in an office. One of the key reasons sited was a lack of communication and transparency.You will want to ensure that you are connecting with new employees often, communicating clearly, are transparent and are make it as easy for them to engage. This 7 step checklist is meant to be a guide to help you customize a plan that works for your company.
Remote Onboarding Checklist: Logistics
Remote Onboarding Checklist Summary:
1. Extend The Job Offer Via Email Or On The Phone
First on our remote onboarding checklist: extend the position offered via email or on the phone. To help with composing a job offer via email you can easily find many templates online and if you follow WorkBright’s blog we have many great resources available on the subject of extending job offers and a guide on writing onboarding emails. Whether it’s via email or over the phone, you will want to chat with your new hire to answer any initial questions about the position and let them know what they should expect next.
2. Complete Onboarding Documents and Signed Forms
To manage your onboarding paperwork compile a checklist of what is needed and use a system to ensure nothing is missed. Depending on your needs you may be using a home grown system with a simple check-off sheet or possibly a spreadsheet. When managing the onboarding process across departments, when hiring many at once or when coordinating onboarding with remote employees, it is beneficial if not a necessity to use an employee onboarding software to help you. Using software will allow you to keep track of all the paperwork coming in, especially when your employees are across the country. You want to fill out paperwork before the first day of work, so your employees can have a joyful onboarding experience.
If you don’t currently have a remote onboarding system to manage your onboarding paperwork, you’ll need to give yourself time to receive paperwork via the regular mail or some other system of capturing documents.
- Offer Letter
- Employee Handbook
- Form I-9
- Benefits (PTO, health/wellness, etc.)
- Background check authorization form
You can make this process as customized as you’d like, but remember that a streamlined employee onboarding process is best. Unless you are mandated to request a bunch of forms, we suggest creating a simple onboarding checklist of required paperwork for your new hires. Ask for the basics like government forms, background check/drug screen authorizations, and a few company-specific documents.
Push your employees to tackle government forms first. Government forms like Form I-9 have a lot of regulations around them. Errors on those forms can cost your company thousands of dollars, so you want your employees to tackle those documents with a fresh set of eyes.
If you use an employee onboarding software designed for both traditional and virtual onboarding, you can typically spread the process over several days with mobile automated notifications and reminders, ensuring that you are getting the most focused employee with every form fill. Here are some additional tips on what to look for in a remote onboarding solution.
3. Coordinate The Remote Onboarding Process With Company Managers
Now that you know who will be joining the team, you need to check off an important task on your virtual onboarding checklist, setting up the onboarding experience. You can take one of two approaches:
- Create a remote onboarding process that relies on the talent of all your managers.
- Lean on one manager to lead onboarding at your company.
At WorkBright, we create a holistic approach to onboarding, at least during the first week. We want employees to walk away from the first week of remote onboarding with a knowledge of all aspects of our company, from marketing to engineering.
Create a repeatable onboarding process and write it down. Store your process in an Excel or Google Sheet to keep track of what your new hires should expect. If you haven’t done that yet, that’s perfectly fine! Start with this set of remote employees, so you have the process laid out down the road.
4. Set Up And Send Tech Equipment And Company Swag
If your remote employees are filling out paperwork before Day 1, they should be able to hit the ground running on Day 1. Ensure that your new employees have all the supplies they need to feel welcome and ready to work.
- Company laptop/computer
- External monitor
- Office supplies (pens, paper, notebooks, etc.)
- Office phone
- Business cards
Some Top Remote Work Tools For Teams
You also want to create their company email and access the software they need to do their job properly. Write down a list of all the software they’d need, and check it off as you get them signed up for that software.
- Slack (Company chat)
- Google Drive (Cloud file storage)
- Asana (Project management)
- 1Password (Password manager)
- Zoom (Video conferencing)
- Gusto (Payroll management)
Each department will probably have slightly different software needs. Make sure you understand what each department needs access to by connecting with each department manager.
5. Let Your Team Know Who Will Be Joining The Company
Not to be missed on the checklist, you should let other staff members know who will be joining the team. You are inviting new remote staff members who will become work colleagues. Everyone should know who is joining the team, so they can prepare to welcome them with (digital) open arms once they join the staff.
Announce your new staff members’ arrival at a meeting before they join the company and follow-up with an email or two, letting your team know about the new arrivals.
6. Validate Work Eligibility Documents
Even if you have remote employees, you need to validate work eligibility documents. For example, if your employees fill out Section 1 of Form I-9, you need to see work authorization documents to sign Section 2 within the third business days of the hire date. Typically this means that you need to see those documents on the first day to meet the tight turnaround requirements Form I-9 sets up.
Some employers choose to use a remote authorized representative to sign Section 2 on their behalf. If your remote employees are working from home but live close to the office (or a satellite office), you can get someone there to validate their work authorization documents quickly.
HERE IS A QUICK VIDEO SHOWING HOW VALIDATING WORK ELIGIBILITY CAN BE DONE REMOTELY:
Finally on our checklist, it’s time to introduce your new remote employees to the team. Make sure your new employees get ample face time with important people like the company CEO, their manager, and their department/company colleagues. All of this can be done via Zoom. Here are some things you can do:
- Coffee meetings with various team members.
- Customized Jeopardy game about your new and old team members.
- Work happy hour to celebrate the new employees and get to know the team.
- Company-sponsored lunch and learn with new team members.
- Creating a mentorship program to introduce new employees to someone who can help them thrive at work
BONUS REMOTE ONBOARDING CHECKLIST!
YES THERE’S MORE!! A comprehensive remote onboarding checklist doesn’t end on the the start date, planning for the employee’s ongoing onboarding strategy including training and integration into the company culture will be key in to their success and happiness.
Use this checklist designed for onboarding virtual employees to develop a more engaging and successful program for remote workers to help guide you.
Remote Onboarding Checklist: Successful Integration
Remote Onboarding Success and Enablement Checklist Summary:
- Company, Product and Customer Training
- Review Company Policies and Benefits with Employee
- Connect and Have Fun
- Job Specific Training
- Set-up Goals, Projects and Reviews for 30, 60 and 90 days
- Benefits and Payroll Follow-up
- Check-in with department colleagues and company stakeholders
- Plan weekly check-ins and career trajectory discussions
1. Educate Your New Hire About The Company, Product, And Customers
Now that your new staff members are introduced to the team, it’s time to zoom out a bit and ensure that they are introduced to the company and your customers. You hired amazing remote talent. It’s time to teach them about what you do and who you help. This remote onboarding checklist item is the foundation for your new hires success.
Figure out a few activities and sessions your employees can use to fully understand the company and their role in it. Host sessions that help your employees understand the company’s state, give them a product demo, and help them understand the company from all angles. A crash course in the company will help bring all employees up to speed.
Onboarding can be a daunting process for employees. During the first week, you need to sit down with new employees to ensure the both of you are on the same page. You might want to consider talking about things like:
Come to this conversation with specific questions. Don’t ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” Even if your new employee has a question, they may not think to ask it. Get specific. If you notice confusion during a conversation, dig deeper so that there is no confusion.
3. Have Fun Connecting With Your New Employee!
One of the most important things to add to your remote onboarding checklist is to have fun! Onboarding online can be stressful for your new employees. If you radiate joy and positivity, you will get that in return. As your employee begins to learn the ropes at your company, you’ll want to check-in and continue the onboarding process so your employees feel supported.
After the first week, you need to start training your newest team member on department-specific tasks. You may want to start the first few weeks getting a baseline understanding of where your new employee is as it relates to the tasks you need them to do. After you get that baseline understanding, create a plan to start moving more departmental tasks to your employee officially. During the first month, they’ll likely need a lot of help, but as they get closer to the 90-day mark, they should be doing more independently.
5. Set Up 30, 60, And 90-Day Goals, Projects, And Reviews
The first 90 days of a job are critical. During this time, your employees are learning a lot, and it can all become overwhelming. If you want to ensure that your employee is on the right track, set up goals, projects, and reviews every thirty days during their first few months of work. You’ll eventually want to move to an annual review model, but you should always check in more when an employee is starting at your company. This is a cornerstone checklist item to help guide and reassure a clear path to success for all new hires.
6. Ensure Benefits/Payroll Is Running Smoothly
This is a commonly missed checklist item and should not be skipped. By the end of the first month, your employee should be added to employee benefits like healthcare, and they may have received their first paycheck. Follow-up with your new employees to ensure that everything went smoothly. You don’t want to leave your new employees in the lurch during this time.
7. Chat With Company Stakeholders And Department Colleagues About Working With Your Remote New Hire
Your new hire doesn’t work in a bubble. If you want to ensure that your new hire is fitting and contributing at work, your checklist should include asking anyone who has worked with them! Take a few minutes to connect with colleagues, managers, and other employees who have spent significant time with the new hire. Where do they stand with them? Do they feel like the new hire is adjusting well? Does your new hire need more support than you realize? Having this information allows you to tailor the rest of the onboarding experience for that hire.
8. Start Having Virtual Weekly Check-Ins And Conversations About Potential Career Trajectories
Besides more formal reviews, you should also start having weekly check-ins or 1:1s. During those meetings, discuss work projects and career trajectory conversations. Regular communication helps you understand where your employees are, and it cuts down on employee turnover. Your employees want to feel heard. Managers should schedule 15-30 minute meetings with their employees every week to keep up to date.
Remote Onboarding Checklist: This Is An Ongoing Process
Remote onboarding doesn’t stop after the first month. You’ll likely need to add other items to your remote onboarding checklist as time goes on. Keep your employees top of mind, especially during the first 90 days. Check out our remote onboarding checklist featured in this blog post to keep these items top of mind while adding virtual employees.
Related Recommended Reading: Remote Onboarding Best Practices