4 Fundamental Stages to Remote Onboarding Based on Our winning Process
- Remote onboarding is essential for establishing a strong remote work culture.
- The remote onboarding process should be self-driven and asynchronous to assimilate new hires into remote work life.
- The remote onboarding process should take at least three full weeks, with close support and guidance continuing throughout the first three months.
Remote onboarding, otherwise known as virtual onboarding, involves integrating new members into your team remotely and equipping them with everything they need to succeed in their new roles.
An effective onboarding program will:
- Improve employee retention by 82%
- Boost productivity by over 70%
- Ensure 69% of new hires stick with your company for three years
Below we share the four stages of onboarding new employees remotely based on our tried and tested approach.
Stage 1: Send out the welcome email a week before the new hire’s start date
Once a new hire has digitally signed their work agreement, the hiring manager should send a welcome email to their personal email address. A warm and comprehensive welcome message acts as a virtual kick-off. It answers the new hire’s basic questions and provides them with everything they need before starting their new job.
A welcome email should include the following information:
How to collaborate: First, your new hires need to know how to collaborate with their team. At Roots, we use the welcome email to provide instructions on how remote hires gain access to the full Google Suite, including professional email, online storage, shared calendars, and video conferencing. We send the invite to Google Suite directly to the new hires’ personal email address at the same time as sending the welcome email.
How to communicate: Once new hires have the correct collaboration tools, they need to know where to connect with their team members. At Roots, we use the welcome email to introduce new hires to Slack which acts as our digital HQ. We invite all new hires to Slack via their professional email account so they can feel like part of the team from day one.
How to access equipment: The next thing that a remote worker will require is the necessary equipment to perform their job. At Roots, we use the welcome email to inform new hires of our equipment provider, Hofy. Hofy streamlines HR operations by automating equipment delivery and recovery globally. We invite all new hires to Hofy via their professional email account.
How to conduct yourself: Finally, you’ll want to use the welcome email to inform your new hires of any virtual orientations and team meetings they’ll need to attend during their first week. At Roots, a human resources (HR) team member performs a virtual employee orientation to welcome new hires and establish the codes of conduct within the remote work environment. We send all new hires an invite to their orientation and team meetings via Google Calendar.
If you are hiring en masse, orientations can take place in cohorts via video conferencing software such as Zoom or Google Meet. This approach saves time and allows remote workers to assimilate into their new role alongside other new remote employees.
The orientation provides an overview of the following:
- The company culture
- The company values
- The company’s mission
- How to avoid remote work burnout
- How to avoid isolation
- How asynchronous working works
- Tips for setting up a conducive home office or workspace
- Where to find helpful resources such as the employee handbook, perks, and benefits
Choose from one of our thoughtful welcome message templates to get started, or adapt ours below:
Stage 2: Automate onboarding tasks in Slack to commence on the new hires’ first day
This stage of the onboarding process is where new hires work through a remote onboarding task list of all the necessary steps and materials to succeed in their new job.
At Roots, we use Onboarding By Roots, a plugin that enables team leads to build and automate a standardized workflow that each new team member must accomplish and mark as complete within Slack. The plugin automatically segments users that join Slack, kicks off onboarding, and assigns tasks based on the group, department, or location the new hire falls into.
New hires receive task assignment notifications and reminders directly in Slack, making it easy for them to stay on top of and complete tasks before they are due.
Managers have high-level visibility of the onboarding pipeline and can deep dive into a specific individual’s progress.
Depending on the requirements of the role, the task workflow could look something like this:
Week one: Meet the team and get your bearings
- Introduce yourself in the #new_team_members channel
- Add an email signature
- Sign up to receive your benefits and perks
- Install your online tools/programs
- Get familiar with team folders and documents
- Start your product training sessions
- Start your security training sessions
- Schedule 30-minute intro video calls with [Name], [Name], and [Name] using Google Calendar
Week two: Continue with your training and start your first assignment
- Read the following resources and materials
- Continue with your product training
- Request a brief for your first assignment from [Name]
- Review the brief and ask [Name] questions before you get started
- Submit your first draft
- Buckle up for feedback
Week three: Complete your first assignment
- Review feedback – Ask questions and schedule a chat if needed
- Implement feedback
- Submit the final draft to [Name]
- Celebrate! Your first assignment is complete
You can link the tasks to additional resources stored on an intranet or internal platform. We use Notion to document and store important company information such as company policies, benefits, perks, tools and programs, team folder locations, training resources, and materials.
Check out our New Employee Remote Onboarding Checklist to ensure you’re not missing any crucial steps.
Stage 3: Facilitate team bonding with regular virtual meetings from week one and beyond
The next fundamental stage in the remote onboarding process is the bonding stage, where new hires require opportunities to connect with their immediate team and members of the broader organization. The bonding phase is crucial during the first three months of the new hire’s role and must continue throughout their time with your organization.
At Roots, we use Google calendar to set up the following meetings:
Weekly 1:1 check-ins: An opportunity for new hires and their managers to connect via Google Meet to discuss weekly priorities, answer questions, address blockers, and provide project status updates.
Team weekly meetings: An opportunity for new hires to connect with their immediate team via Google Meet to discuss team and company-wide announcements, quarterly performance reviews, monthly initiatives, and upcoming projects.
Weekly all-hands meetings: Company-wide meetings are essential to give new hires high-level company insights, updates, and developments. At Roots, we host company-wide meetings via the conference-hosting platform Hopin.
Monthly workshops: Monthly workshops are an excellent way for teams to get together via Google Meet to share and develop their skills around a specific work-related topic.
Monthly team hangouts: Team members can take turns hosting a team hangout where everyone participates in a fun, non-work-related activity. For inspiration, check out our 16 Non-Cheesy 5-Minute Virtual Team Building Activities.
Meetup roulettes: New remote hires can benefit from the opportunity to spontaneously connect with team members from different departments when they feel like it. With Connections by Roots, employees are randomly paired with team members in Slack every week, allowing them to find a time to meet for a 15-minute video chat.
These virtual meetings are essential for a remote workforce to thrive. Without them embedded into the onboarding plan, remote teams may struggle to build trust, respect, and belonging.
Discover five common but non-obvious remote onboarding mistakes that impact the new hire experience here.
Stage 4: Celebrate and review new hires at 3, 6, and 12 months
The final stage of remote onboarding requires team leaders to celebrate and review their new hires as they surpass their 3, 6, and 12-month milestones.
Use weekly team meetings and create a #celebrations Slack channel to call out new hires’ work anniversaries. The three-month mark is the perfect time to send the new hire a welcome package with any company swag.
Managers can use the weekly 1:1 meeting slot at 3, 6, and 12 months to garner detailed feedback on the new hires’ onboarding experience, review their career development, and set long-term goals and clear expectations.
Perfect your remote employee onboarding process with Roots
Too often, onboarding remote employees involves an additional tool (or lengthy manual checklist) the new hire won’t use after their first month. These new tools add to the mental clutter of starting a new job, which is already an overwhelming experience. That’s why we created Onboarding by Roots, which centralizes all onboarding functions into a tool you already use: Slack.
With Roots, you can:
- Auto-assign tasks based on user location or role
- View onboarding progress of all new hires within Slack
- Send reminders to complete key onboarding tasks
Want to learn more about how Roots helps companies bolster their remote onboarding experience by integrating key HR services into Slack? Book a free demo today.