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Tips to effective onboarding for remote workers

by uma
Business finance is yet to shift to reflect widespread remote working, research reveals 

By Suman Gopalan, Chief HR Officer at Freshworks

Although remote-working is now commonplace across the country, many businesses have grappled with the technology needed to deliver a truly hybrid experience. A survey from Freshworks found that 91 percent of employees are experiencing frustration due to inadequate workplace technology. This issue is compounded for new joiners who lack the historical knowledge to easily navigate company’s internal systems.

Virtual onboarding is now a reality that business leaders need to consider when thinking about their offering. Similarly to in-person onboarding, the process should be a seamless induction for new employees into an organisation, bringing them up to speed with their role, team and company culture. The only difference being that it all needs to be done through a screen.

Onboarding has always been a crucial part of the hiring process. Though the medium of delivery may be different, the goals of virtual onboarding are the same as in-person onboarding. It’s up to the HR leaders to make the virtual onboarding experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible, and to learn to make a great first impression on new employees virtually, as well as physically. 

In order to guarantee this, all hardware and technology must be set up to work effectively and therefore give employees little to no stress while engaging with them.

Taking care of these little details will ensure each touchpoint between your new hire and the business is a streamlined and straightforward experience.

Start the process early

You can start the onboarding process before the actual start date. Try to make the best use of the time between a candidate accepting a job offer and their first day. This is also known as pre-boarding. Some of the things you can do to make the new hires feel at ease on their first day are:

  • Frequently engage with the candidate and explain how the team works
  • Send out the documents to be filled as part of joining formalities
  • Send out a warm email welcoming the new hire into the team
  • Give small assignments to familiarise them with the company/ product/ industry
  • Send out a detailed schedule of the first day and week to remove any anxiety and unexpected surprises

Send personalised welcome kits

At the end of the day, it’s not just about getting the hardware and tech right. Send some personalised goodies such as T-Shirts, water bottles, bags, notebooks that your new employees can flaunt. You can go a step further and make a personalised video/greeting card with all the team members welcoming a new hire. These little efforts can go a long way in making your new employee feel part of the team.

Create a diverse onboarding program

Virtual onboarding should never be a one-off or one-day video session. Conduct multiple interactive sessions showcasing the various aspects of your company culture, products, services, and employee benefits. Fun team-building exercises, online scavenger hunts, scheduled training sessions, introduction to various departments, one-on-one meetings with reporting managers, and virtual happy hours over the course of a week will make the entire new hire experience enjoyable.

Set clear goals and expectations

When starting a new job, there’s always a lot to learn, a lot of people to meet and a lot of adjustments to make. A new employee can easily get lost or overwhelmed in a remote setup. It is therefore important to set clear goals and expectations upfront. Create a day-by-day onboarding plan and communicate how success is measured within the team. It will give the new hires a sense of direction until they are able to operate independently within the company.

Make it easy to build connections and relationships

While you may be onboarding your new hires digitally, make sure you don’t miss out on the human side of things. Make it easy for them to communicate and form real connections. Assign a go-to buddy/mentor whom they can reach out to for anything and everything. Set up weekly calls with the reporting managers to track progress and get feedback. Include them in all team meetings and encourage them to speak up, so that team members get to know the real person behind those computer screens.


The old adage, ‘you only get one chance at a first impression’ rings true for businesses just as it does for people. A seamless onboarding is essential in ensuring an engaged workforce who understands what a company stands for, the way they operate and how they work. The shift to remote onboarding has brought its own challenges with it but businesses that embrace this new hybrid world, and the technology that powers it, will be able to put their offering head and shoulders above the competition.


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