How do you ensure your remote onboarding is successful?

2.2k views4 Comments

Director Business Technology in Software, 10,001+ employees
If the company's not committed, it's hard. You have to culturally commit to it. Even from a technical perspective, you have to provide resources and the organizational emphasis on onboarding. I work for a company that went full remote in May 2020, and I joined in March of this year. Since I've joined, we've hired over 2K employees company-wide and in the last month, we've had a new CSO and a new CTO join. It's been interesting to see how that's handled. There are a lot more recorded videos, video town halls, etc., and they've created space in the culture to do a lot of one-on-one syncs for onboarding.

It was a lot of work. I had a massive list, and for the first two months, I just went around and booked time with everybody. By the end of the week, I'd be spent. But I actually don't get Zoom fatigue. I was worn out because you can only talk about yourself, where you're from and your career intro so many times. Doing that 40 times over Zoom is a different story. It's more organic to bump into somebody in the kitchen and say, "Hey, I just started. You must be on that team." When you’re doing that remotely you're kicking off a call by saying, "Hey, I'm Hyung. I came from X company. I've done this for X years, and I'm here to do this." You repeat that over and over, and only then can you get into a more natural, organic conversation. But it got easier as time went on, and I'm still doing those with new folks. It takes practice. I'm naturally an introvert, but it’s become fairly easy now. 
SVP in Finance (non-banking), 1,001 - 5,000 employees
We are rolling out a program to do icebreakers over Microsoft Teams. It randomly picks individuals and starts a thread in which it gives them an icebreaker. It's just being launched, so I don't know how successful it is or not, but it is something that we're trying for remote employees. You have to come up with new, creative ways to get the conversation started.
Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
We play two truths and a lie, which seems to go well when you're trying to establish a relationship and trying to build connections with people. The more outrageously you lie, the much more hilarious it becomes. But it's hard to start building those relationships digitally. We need to go above and beyond, and we should assume that we're going to spend more time on it than we used to in a physical setting.

In line with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, I've been encouraging DEI-based mentoring. If you're a man, for example, then you have a woman as your mentor. If you are a cis white male, then you have someone who is diametrically opposite, such as an underrepresented minority. It helps you see things from a different perspective. I try my level best to ensure that the emerging leaders coming in have that kind of mentor. They embrace DE&I well and understand the challenges involved, so that is something I promote wherever I go.
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
We recently started doing half-hour sessions called "Meet and Greet", there is a moderator the leads the sessions, it's over MS Teams and everyone in the new employee's team is on the call, employees reporting to him and those he/she reports to, employees from other teams that he/she will work/interact in day to day. Depending on the size, there might be one or several sessions.

The sessions are informal, the moderator has a list of questions (just to get the discussion going) and then it's an open discussion and everyone can ask a question that is work or not work-related.

The work-related questions are more of the type: Where did you work before? What education do you have? What industry do you work in before?
The non-work-related can be: What's your favourite soccer team? Type of music you listen to? Your favourite food? What place you have not been but always wanted to go to? etc.

The formal questions give you a bit of an overview of the new starter, but the informal ones especially when asked by his/heam coworkers are fun and usually, it's a relaxed environment, you get the know the real human being behind the position, we laugh, and its a nice way for him/her to get to know the team and for the team to get to know him.

In the first week or two, there are specific one on one meetings but they are all formal to meet the people they will be working with.

Content you might like

Director, Global Talent Management in Manufacturing, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Each management team budgets for tuition reimbursement/continuing education within their own budget.  We do not have an overall company set budget amount.

430 views1 Comment


No, but we have slowed hiring for non-essential roles.44%

No, we are hiring at a normal rate.29%

Other (tell us in the comments)2%