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TMCNet:  Employee Onboarding for Your Remote Workforce

[January 10, 2019]

Employee Onboarding for Your Remote Workforce

Remote work is one of the biggest transformations in the workforce in recent years. Working from home on a regular basis has grown by 140 percent since 2005, in fact, it's the fastest growing workforce.

With help from platforms like Sapling, many organizations run effective onboarding procedures for their office-based employees-which can retain talent and ramp up productivity. However, a conscious effort has to also be made for onboarding remote workers. Employees who have a negative new hire onboarding experience (remote or otherwise) are twice as likely to look for new opportunitis in the near future.

Help them feel like part of the team

It's important to find ways to introduce your remote new hires to the team. Notify your team when a new hire signs their offer letter, and encourage them to reach out via email, Slack, or LinkedIn (News - Alert) to say "hi" and welcome them to the team. Invite new hires to join you for a virtual coffee or breakfast meeting on their first day to meet their new team via a video conferencing tool like Zoom. Give them a shout out during your all-hands meeting, or in your internal newsletter.

Give them the tools they need to be successful

Employee onboarding has many moving pieces and dependencies, and with a remote onboarding process, you'll help ensure your distributed employees have the tools they need to be successful. Send new hires company branded office equipment and offer a stipend to set up their office. Create an email address, add them to appropriate Slack channels, and grant them access to your internal wiki. Tell them who to contact for equipment or technology problems. Be clear about responsibilities and objectives, and set goals and timelines. Schedule check-ins for day 7, 15, 30, 60, and 90. Gather feedback to continually improve your remote onboarding process, leaving no stone unturned.

Provide them with a remote buddy

Buddy programs help connect your remote workers to the organization, giving them access to inside information, and get comfortable with remote work. Distributed employees often have questions around navigating remote work. For instance, they may need guidance on ordering office equipment or advice on how to separate work from home life.

Whenever possible, partner your remote new hires with fellow remote workers who are better equipped to answer the different types of questions asked for a faster ramp for new employees, and higher employee engagement for both the new hire and their buddy.


Onboarding is the most critical first impression a new hire will have into your organization. As it stands, 63 percent of employers have remote workers, yet 57 percent lack remote policies. Sapling, an onboarding and HRIS platform for mid-sized companies, has helped forward-thinking organizations like Invision to create remote onboarding playbooks that drive fully engaged and productive employees who are happy to stay and contribute for many years.

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