How To Give Your New Employee A Warm Welcome With A Successful Remote Onboarding Plan
How do you ensure your new hire’s first day sets them up for success in a stress-free but memorable way? It’s all about striking the right balance and working with what you’ve got. Digital environments are different from physical workspaces: you should use those differences to your advantage instead of trying to replicate the regular “first day at the office” experience. And while no two onboarding stories will be identical, you should include some activities from each of the four segments below on your new hire’s first day.
1. The “Practical Stuff”
These are the things that need to get done on a new employee’s first day. In short, it’s anything that has to do with HR paperwork and IT setup. More specifically, these activities can be:
A Quick Call With The IT Team
This can be a 15-minute sanity check call to ensure that your new hire can access anything from their email to their LMS, CRM, and any other software your company is using. If you’ve already sent out instruction videos prior to day 1, the new hire could use this slot to ask any questions or troubleshoot any issues. Or, if you want to guide them
step-by-step, this could be a longer video meeting.
A Short Video Presentation Of HR Policies
This can be either a simple talking head video or a more gamified, animation video. You should include company policies around days off and benefits as well as information about working hours. Make sure to cover how your company approaches working after hours (often a reality for many remote workers). This video can also briefly mention all mandatory training your new hire will have to do, as well as all the forms they’ll need to sign.
Of course, you can also opt to do all this via a call or Zoom session with HR, but a video is much more sustainable in the long run: it saves HR time as you can reuse it (with small edits) for most new hires.
Forms & Contract Signing Via Email
You might have already sent and received signed e-documents of necessary contracts and forms. But, if there are documents that need to be signed when an employee is officially hired, this is the time to do it.
2. The “Social Networks”
This is the part where your new hire will meet the rest of the team. There are many ways to go about this, so feel free to choose from the activities described below:
An Introductory Meeting With The Manager Or The Management Team
This will be the official kick-off call with your new hire’s direct supervisors. Quick and to the point, but friendly. You can leave detailed instructions and goal-setting for later.
A Company-Wide Welcome Email Or Slack Message
New hire announcements are a nice opportunity for people from different departments to quickly reach out and say “Welcome” to their new coworker in a fuss-free way. GIFs should be encouraged!
A Casual Meeting With The Broader Team
Think of it as a round-table of introductions: who everyone is, a few fun facts about them, how they’ll be working together with their new hire. You could also use this time to have a virtual lunch together (offering a voucher for food delivery on your hire’s first working lunch would be a nice touch) or play team-building games. Make sure, though, you don’t put your new hire in the spotlight because it could make them feel uncomfortable.
A “Meet Your Mentor” One-On-One Session
If you’ve assigned your new hire a mentor, they can have an orientation call (perhaps over lunch) to answer questions and offer insights about the team and how things work. If you don’t have an official “mentor system” in place, you can still assign your new hire a “work buddy”, someone they’ll work closely with and can give them some guidance during their first days or weeks.
A VR Office Tour
This is an innovative solution if you have a big on-site team and want to show remote new hires what the office environment looks like. Investing in VR can also be helpful later, during training. If you can’t afford this type of technology, though, you can go for something simpler, like recording a video of your offices or even having a quick tour using a laptop or a tablet.
A Collaborative Game/Scavenger Hunt
If you already have an app for your LMS, you can set up a collaborative game for your new hire’s first day. For example, it could be a “who is who” type of quiz. This can be a fun way to get to meet the team without the pressure of Zoom calls.
3. The “Training Part”
Here you’ll explain the work and training process more thoroughly and help your new hire understand how communication and feedback work. You’ll need to highlight the best ways to reach out to coworkers and explain what the training schedule will look like. You can do that in several ways:
Have Your New Hire’s Manager Go Through Everything With Them Over A Call
It can be a lot of work, but it will make it easier for your new hire to direct questions about many different things to one person.
Create Microlearning Videos On Your LMS
Bite-sized content is a great way to familiarize your new hire with the LMS they will be using for training.
One-On-One Meetings With Team Members
This will provide more in-depth information and give you new hires several points of contact. They don’t have to meet everyone on the first day, though. Start with the ones they’ll be working more closely with and build a plan to meet the rest of the team during their first weeks at work.
Create An Information Directory Your New Hire Can Easily Access
This will be a dedicated place, either on your company website or in your LMS, where new hires can see a chart with all team members (with photos) and contact info. They can also find their training schedule and additional company info like policies, procedures, and benefits. Note: You can offer all this information in the form of a digital employee handbook.
4. The “View To The Future”
In this part of day 1, you’ll walk your new hire through the broad strokes of their day-to-day responsibilities and set some initial goals and priorities. Although you can do this via a call with their direct supervisor, it’s a good idea to have these points written down as well so they can reference them later.
For example, you can create and share an onboarding checklist your new hire can consult and tick items off as they complete each step. This checklist can include the chosen activities for day 1 (make sure some activities from the social segment are optional) and offer some goals for the first week and the first month. We’ll talk more about those goals in the next chapter.
It’s also a good idea to inform your new hires about career growth opportunities and the possibility to transition to other departments in the future. It may sound too early to do that on day 1, but it will help them get excited about their future with your company and show them you care about their career development.
How To Implement Your Remote Onboarding Plan
The first day of a new remote hire won’t be identical to the first day of a new employee in the office – but that’s OK. To offer them a first day that will set them up for success and help them feel welcome, make sure to cover all four bases: setting up, meeting the team, learning the ropes, and looking to the future. You can do that through various online activities, including emails, Slack group chats, Zoom calls, microlearning sessions, VR, and in-app games.
Download the eBook Remote Onboarding Guide: How To Welcome Your New Hires Even From Afar for tips to launch an employee onboarding program that builds self-confidence and prepares your new team members for the challenges ahead. It even features a handy onboarding checklist so that you include all the essentials to set them up for long-term success.