Thought Leadership

Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees

December 7, 2021
March 15, 2022
powered by Typeform
Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees

Credit: Luke Peters

Tips for onboarding remote employees are spreading across business blogs with uncanny regularity. Service provider webpages, (much like this one) offer advice and ideas for onboarding remote employees in the smoothest, most efficient way possible.

The reason that onboarding checklists for remote employees have been stressed to saturation is because remote onboarding isn’t easy for anyone involved, and it’s happening more than ever before. One challenge, for example, is addressing supply-chain issues related to providing the right hardware and software to remote employees.

According to a Gallup poll, over 80% of white-collar professionals have been working from home in some capacity as of Spring 2021 in occupational groups like:

  • computer-oriented or mathematical fields
  • life, physical or social sciences
  • arts, design, entertainment or media
  • financial services, insurance, real estate or consulting

While this number may be lower for other professions - the general idea still rings true: more people are working from home now than they were two years ago.

And there’s no reason to believe that this will change anytime soon. According to a FlexJobs survey, 58% of respondents said they would prefer a work-from-home arrangement, while another 39% said they’d like a hybrid model. That’s 97% who want to work from home in some capacity!

The Challenge of Onboarding Remote Employees

Companies are concerned with virtual onboarding best practices due to the very real ramifications of a poorly executed start for a new hire. Poor onboarding processes can stymie companies who have plans for growth, delaying start times and forcing new employees to make do with substandard equipment.

These challenges are present for two reasons:

1. For the majority of companies, onboarding for remote employees is still new.

In fact, it’s less than 2 years old as of December 2021. This newness means “best practices” are still in the process of evolving. Translating how Human Resources and IT used to help an employee get established to a new, virtual landscape takes time and, for companies without outside guidance, trial and error. 

2. Onboarding virtual team members is much more multidimensional than in-person onboarding. 

This is what truly sets remote new-hire establishments apart. This task requires the creation of new processes that were either overlooked or deemed “automatic” in the past. Deliberately launching culture, organization goals, leadership, and social constructs is a new frontier for a lot of organizations.

Onboarding Remote Employees

Credit: Lasse Jensen

Remote Onboarding Best Practices: The Breakdown

The most critical part of the remote onboarding process is to have a deliberate, structured plan. Different companies and even particular roles may differ in specific employee onboarding process steps, so let’s consider instead what dimensions or elements need to be covered for a successful new hire launch. 

We’ll also go over some examples of how companies might benefit from achieving specific goals within these dimensions.

Element 1: Human Resources and Legal

This is the element that may have changed the least from its in-person processes, but they still need to be accomplished in a digital format.

Investing in an e-signature tool for secure handling of all HR paperwork and legal documents, (like contracts and non-disclosures) helps ensure everything is sent and signed in the most efficient way possible. 

HR can also benefit by setting the stage for how and when they would like to be contacted. Providing access to appointment times for virtual meetings shows HR is available to employees even when they work remotely.

Element 2: Technology 

Perhaps the most grounding element in the onboarding process for remote employees is making sure your new hire has the technology necessary to execute their work. This includes but is not limited to: 

  • Proper mobile devices, computers, monitors, keyboards, headsets, etc. 
  • Adequate and secure internet connection
  • Application installs for virtual meetings and collaboration
  • Company-specific software installs

Remember, as an employer, you are responsible for your employees’ working conditions. This doesn’t change just because your employees are not at your physical office. 

It is necessary to have the best tools available in order to support real-time communication with a new hire. Using a service to manage employee-issued devices and tech installs can simplify this basic need.

With growing hiring of remote employees, organizations need to find a way to quickly scale the process of providing the necessary tools to their new hires. A solution like Quadbridge’s QB Zero Touch can quickly deploy standardized IT solutions for your remote employees at scale.

Element 3: Inspiration and Relationships

Inspiration

Helping your new hire establish a positive connection with your company, as well as understand values and the “why” behind it all, can pave the way for excellence. 

Companies often start this process by sending welcome packages including company swag, mission and vision statements, personal notes and even gift certificates for lunch. 

Relationships

Building relationships with coworkers and getting to know other departments helps employees to do their jobs better, especially when tasks require interdisciplinary action. Yes, they should just be able to go online and view the org chart, but making real connections remotely can be tricky. 

Since meeting others is not nearly as organic, providing small, virtual opportunities to connect can go far. These might include:

  • Virtual happy hours
  • Quick team-building games
  • Get-to-know-you activities 
  • Company-sponsored virtual lunches

Element 4: Leadership, Support Systems and Culture

Leadership

It is important for leaders to develop a rapport and roadmap with direct reports as soon as they start. Setting clear expectations and working together to create goals for the first 30, 60 and 90 days of an employee’s tenure allows everyone to be on the same page. Regular one-on-one meetings also give employees the opportunity to be heard and to ask questions.

Support 

This leads us to employee support systems. Experts recommend assigning a mentor or “buddy” (or even both!) to each new employee. While this might sound a little elementary, having a go-to person that isn’t your boss, available for clarification, verification and guidance can be extremely helpful. 

Culture 

It might feel awkward or superfluous to leaders, but making sure your new hire understands company culture can avoid future stress for everyone. Cultural topics to cover include: 

  • Dress code for virtual meetings and in-person events
  • Tone and level of formality in meetings 
  • Virtual etiquette on video
  • Messaging norms
  • Working hours

QB Zero Touch - IT deployment for new hires has never been easier

Quadbridge has created QB Zero Touch to help organizations manage the device-side of onboarding with minimal effort. 

Quadbridge’s breakthrough service packages and ships starter kits designed to your company’s specifications. This allows your team to focus on the human-centric elements critical to onboarding for remote employees. 

QB Zero Touch currently supports Apple, PC and Google deployments. The user-friendly, cloud-based interface makes ordering starter kits and tracking delivery to your employees as easy as ordering out for dinner. 

QB Zero Touch also handles: 

  • Life-cycle and inventory management 
  • Offboarding support
  • Device wiping
  • Device redeployment


Contact Quadbridge today for more information on onboarding remote employees and device deployment for work-from-home staff within the United States and Canada.

Return to the blog

Need to review and upgrade your technology?

Let us help you choose the right solution for your business.

Talk to an expert today!1 800-501-61721 800-655-3282sales@quadbridge.cominfo@dtm.ca