How to onboard a remote hire

9 minutes

One week before

Send them a personal welcome note

Email your new hire to let them know you’re looking forward to having them join the team! Here’s a sample email:

Hi [name], I’m excited to have you start next week.

On your first day, we’ll be meeting over Zoom for a general catch up and to go through your 60 day plan. You’ll see it on your calendar for 10am. I’ve also organized a virtual team lunch!

Throughout your first few days I’ve arranged for you to meet with several people, including:

  • Person 1 [Role][team] at [Mon][2pm]
  • Person 2 [Role][team] at [Tue][2pm]
  • Person 3 [Role][team] at [Tue][4pm]
  • Person 4 [Role][team] at [Wed][10am]
  • Person 5 [Role][team] at [Thu][2pm]

We can’t wait for you to start! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Otherwise, we’ll see you on [Monday].

Ensure you have their 60-day onboarding plan completed

You’ve already received a Pyn with information on how to fill out your new hires 60 day onboarding plan. Make sure this plan is ready on their first day!

One of the most important components to include is a clear first project. Include what they are responsible for and the ideal outcome. It should be a project that helps the new hire get acquainted with the company, but also have the feeling of accomplishment at the same time.

Set up two one-on-ones, one on their first day and one later in the week

1st Day One-on-One

Schedule a one-hour meeting with your new hire on their first day. This should be a time to generally catch up and to share their 60-day plan.

Mid Week One-on-One

You probably won’t have time to discuss every little detail of the plan, so make sure you schedule some more time later in the week to continue the conversation.

Schedule a virtual team meal on their 1st day

It’s great to have a virtual meal as a team to welcome your new hire. We’d recommend keeping the group to a maximum of 6, so the conversation can flow easier. If you need to limit the invite, be sure to include the team members this person will work most closely with.

Pick 5-10 people your new hire should meet with and/or find them a buddy

As referenced in your pre-start email to your new hire you’ll need to line up some colleagues for them to meet with. Reach out to 5-10 employees (teammates or cross-department collaborators) your new hire will interact with frequently. Ask them if they would be open to meeting your new hire via video chat in their first few weeks. Make it easy on your new hire by setting up the calendar invites, providing context on each meeting, and even suggesting some topics to cover. You can also assign them an official buddy - someone they can have one-on-one meetings once a week or bi-weekly to ask questions, and get acclimated to the company.

Inform your IT Team

Send an email to IT to confirm your new hire will have access to your team’s systems, software, and mailing lists.

Inform your team and relevant stakeholders

Send an email to your team and relevant stakeholder a few days out with a quick message to inform them of your new hire’s upcoming first day.

Hi all,

I’m excited to have [new starter] start on [day of the week] as our new [Position of new Starter]. Thanks in advance for helping them feel welcome! I’m sure they would appreciate you reaching out in their first week to say hello and share some of your knowledge. Thank you!

Their Week One Checklist

Send a Day 1 Welcome Note

Everyone needs a little encouragement. Imposter syndrome can be in full force at the beginning of a new role, especially when remote. That’s because a remote employee misses the cues and signals that tell them they’re on the right track. Prepare and send a welcome note that includes:

Make sure they have the right access, tools, and set-up

Introduce them to the rest of the team over video conferencing

This could be during a team meeting, stand-up or ad-hoc depending on team size.

Set up a meeting rhythm

Establish communication norms aka “how we will communicate”

Provide an overview of current projects and goals

Context is important, even more so for someone who is new in your team! Make sure you take some time to explain the team and departmental goals and the current projects the team, and you, are working on.

On Friday, catch up for a ‘First Week Recap’

Make sure you find time with them at the end of their first week for check-in. Ask them about their week one experience, if they are clear on expectations for week 2, and any other questions or concerns.

Additional onboarding tips for their first 90 days

Document procedures

The fastest pencil is better than the sharpest memory! Documentation is important because remote employees aren’t able to learn new procedures or processes by watching in person. When in doubt, remind them to write it out. Documenting will also save you time so you don’t need to repeat the process for each person you hire.

Provide visibility and proactively share information and context

According to a study by Zogby Analytics, remote workers reported a lack of information from management (38 percent) and the timeliness of the information (39 percent) as the biggest obstacle of working remotely. Because remote employees miss out on the informal, desk, or watercooler chat, be sure to proactively provide updates or context. When in doubt, over-communicate at first.

A remote employee is often out of sight, out of mind. This affects both information flow and the visibility of their work to the rest of the team and organization. Ensure your remote employee has opportunities to showcase, share, and receive public recognition for their contributions. For example: regularly send emails praising the team and singling out colleagues for a job well done. Or, create or use a shared status update board or system that allows others to give feedback on work and showcase the impact this employee is making.

Find meaningful ways for your team to connect online

Unfortunately, remote employees often feel excluded from company culture. Have everyone watch the same TED talk, read the same book or article, or take the same online learning course, and then discuss it over video conference. Or kick off virtual meetings with an icebreaker question.

Create the water cooler moments your remote employee will likely miss. Create video links between offices, or have specific days that a camera is always on.

Create inclusive celebration rituals:  For example, when the office goes out for drinks to celebrate a team win, provide each remote employee with a celebratory budget. Or, try a synchronous pizza party or similar celebration where each person joins from their computer at the same time and gives a toast.

Use video conferencing as much as possible and make all meetings remote-friendly

Credits: Photo by @etienneblg on Unsplash.