How companies can onboard and create lasting impressions remotely

Guest blog by Stacey McIntosh, editor-in-chief of Sage Advice UK

Gone are the days when all eyes were on new recruits to prove their worth. Today, it’s an even split for new employers to deliver a lasting impression to their talent and an instant feel of being part of a collective – all being done remotely.

As the vast percentage of hiring processes are now conducted over video or telephone stages, first impressions of your company need to carry a consistency across all comms and provide a true picture and feel of what being part of the team will be like for the new recruit.

Simple but effective actions can create a buzzing professional and positive start to a new employee’s journey – bespoke to your business and brand values. These steps will provide the onboarding framework your company will need, and you can mix in your USP to create the immediate impression you want to provide.

Step 1: Extend a welcome email – pre-starting

Preparing to start a new job remotely can feel extra nerve-wracking as there’s no in-person contact to bounce off of. You can put hires at ease and show them you’re thinking about them before they start by sending a welcome email. It sets the scene and shows your supportive intention from the beginning.

This welcome email should:

  • Extend a warm introduction from the firm, whether you’ve been involved in the hire or not
  • Give essential first-day information such as start time and any scheduled meets for the day
  • Any required HR documents they’ll need to forward such as a passport scan and why these documents are required
  • Confirmation of all equipment you will be supplying (laptop etc…), also check on their home office set-up and any extras they made need to work safely and securely – if your budget extends to that
  • Admin and login details – list any systems that require their username and passwords so they can set these up as soon as, ready for an easy start

Step 2: Prompt delivery of equipment – well in advance

Work with each individual to confirm a clear list of everything they will need. Collaborate on how and when it will be delivered so they are all set for the big day, with time to spare.

Step 3: Arrange a welcome meeting to run through the HR processes

The first virtual meet could be with a team member well-versed in the HR policies to provide any handbooks and protocols such as:

  • An employee handbook
  • A company presentation – the story so far, where the company is heading and how it’s heading there.
  • Health & Safety guide for home working and the support available
  • Payment and any pension information
  • Company benefits and any perks

Take time to explain your HR system, too, so they can find and understand their payslips, know how to book holiday time or enter sick leave and where they can find important documents and guidance, such as best practice for invoicing.

Step 4: Let the company know about the new talent in the team

Sending a company or team-wide email is another nice touch that shows the importance of each individual who joins the company. Within this, include a brief summary of their position, contact details and a ‘mini bio’ with a few fun facts. This is a great way to make them feel welcome and make first contact easy and informative.

Step 5: Plan a virtual team meet and greet

An informal team chat – maybe post-work or during a break, when everyone’s relaxed – is a remote must. Just because we’re working from home doesn’t mean new employees can’t ‘hang out’ and get to know their colleagues as they would on a break in the actual office. Bonding over snacks is always a great idea.

Step 6: Have regular check-ins

Ping over a message or book-in a weekly check-in just to see how they are doing. And once all the company and HR documents have been digested, suggest an industry or sector blog reading list for them to emerge themselves in, to really soak up the sphere the company’s in.

Step 7: Set-up individual introductions with team leads

In order to provide a complete view of the company – especially when working solo out of office – arranging introductions with everyone in the team will nurture a truly immersive experience for all new starters, gaining valuable knowledge across the business.

Step 8: Start tasking

The first week in a new role should be about integrating with the company and colleagues, but planning in a few tasks, and building up slowly through the opening weeks will give a sense of stability and achievement without a possible chance to overwhelm.

Step 9: Set some initial goals

Once they’ve had a few weeks to settle into their role, it’s time to start setting some goals – on both sides, with a 2- to 3-month plan to achieve and review. More seasoned goals can be set as they have truly settled into the company with confidence and the feeling of support, albeit it largely virtually.

If you need help recruiting or onboarding new staff, please contact us using the form below.


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