How to Onboard a New Team Member Remotely

By Victoria Fellows


The impact the pandemic has had on the shift to mass remote working is obvious. The statistics are astonishing: 46% of workers across the UK now work from home, with 86% currently working remotely as a direct result of the pandemic. A worry of 82% of managers is remote mass working could result in a drop in productivity across their teams.

We know that a businesses workforce is its most precious asset and securing new employees is a complex process. A process made more time and resource draining because of the pandemic. Almost three-quarters of leaders feel that COVID-19 has reduced their ability to maintain healthy and cohesive teams. With this recruitment environment, how do you efficiently onboard a new employee remotely to make sure they quickly feel supported, valued and part of an organised team?


1. Communicate clearly and set expectations early

In the office environment communicating is fast and efficient. If a team member has a query, they can ask a colleague to help. When your business’s teams are spread over what could be large geographical areas, how do you maintain a healthy level of communication?

The good news is that video conferencing apps have become efficient and intuitive to use. Apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meeting can help new and existing team members by providing a channel they can use to ask questions. Managers can use these services to ensure that all new recruits understand what is expected of them.

Set aside time within your new employees first week to carry out online introductions to their direct team members. Make sure you have a digital version of your induction documents and let them read through and digest before taking them through this face-to-face (digitally). Demonstrating that your online processes are as seamless as your offline ones will provide them with assurance that they've joined the right company.

2. Assign a mentor 

Many companies run mentoring programs. Connecting a new team member with an established staff member can reduce the anxiety that a new team member can feel. Mentoring programs have been shown over the long term to foster closer team loyalty. Mentoring programs are also a great way to build the personal development of all team members, not just those that have just joined your company.

Its important to mix up the online learning process to limit boredom. You want to combine tasks so that new and exisitng employees' motivation levels and morale remain high and to foster a digital culture of camaraderie. A new addition to the team will have a more challenging time making friends, so it's essential to help them make connections early on.

3. Get your new employees online ASAP!

Remote working as we know it today would not be possible without fast broadband and the plethora of digital devices now available.

New team members will need to be connected to your business’s network as soon as possible. Make sure the hardware and software the new team member will use is set-up correctly for the day they start. Look closely at the security of the internet connection they will use. 

Have their passwords ready and ensure they have the bandwidth to carry out their duties. Slow internet connections and a frustrating login process will not instil the positivity needed to empower a new team member to perform at their best.

Its also important that the team collaboration tools they will need to use are working efficiently. Remote working teams will spend a great deal of time using these applications. Ensuring they operate efficiently is critical to ensuring teams connect together, and new team members don't feel overwhelmed by the tools they need to use. Make training with any tools they are unfamiliar with a priority within their onboarding process.

4. Flexible remote working also means flexible management

The traditional office-based 9-5 has been disappearing for the last decade. The pandemic has accelerated that trend. Today, workers are looking for companies that have fully embraced flexible working.

When your business onboards a new team member, it's critical to communicate what you expect from them regarding their duties and productivity. It's also vital to ensure they understand that micromanaging them is not part of your company's culture. 

Making it clear when the new team members should be available for briefings and other meetings, for instance, should be clearly communicated. But outside of these expectations, they are free to set their own working schedule. Research has constantly shown that when workers are given more control, their wellbeing improves, teams become closer working units, and productivity can even increase.

5. Don’t forget about burnout and wellbeing

New employees want to impress. Combine this with the fact that the average workday has increased by 8.2% - or 48.5 minutes - and your team could have potential problems that go unnoticed before they become chronic and debilitating. Remote workers often put in more hours than they are contracted for. It's essential to keep a close eye on this practice, as in the long term, this can impact overall productivity.

A critical component of your business’s onboarding process is to ensure all new team members understand they should always strive for a healthy balance between work and their personal lives. This can be difficult working from home, as the lines between these two can become blurred.

Your employee handbook should contain practical actions all new team members should take. For example, having set times when emails or other communications will be answered. When they should take regular structured breaks. And how they should use their mentors if things are getting on top of them. Always encourage team members to voice their concerns. Moving these issues into the open is a tried and tested way to ensure good fitness levels – both physical and mental – are maintained.

And finally - constantly refine your processes

Knowledge is power. As a result, it's vital to take everything you learn, good and bad, and use it to tweak the onboarding process for your business's remote teams. You won't do everything right from the outset, yet you can eliminate future errors by focusing on what works and what isn't effective.

Regularly talk to your teams about their onboarding process. What do they think could have been done better? Remote onboarding is a work in progress for all business but a process that can always improve.

If your business needs to refine or develop its onboarding process, especially for remote workers, IC Resources has masses of knowledge, insight and experience you can draw upon.

Contact us today and start to make your remote onboarding process world-class. +44 (0)118 988 1150. Email us at

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