Employee Onboarding March 23rd, 2020

Remote employee onboarding checklist

At Punchcard, we’re working remote. But today, we’re also onboarding remotely. We’ve spent the past while developing a detailed on-boarding process to introduce new Punchcardigans to our culture, our process, and our people. Of course, today, that’s being disrupted.

Our People Ops leader, Liza, has prepared the following remote on-boarding checklist to support us this morning.


Deliver IT hardware and manuals in advance

Order computers and other hardware remote workers need well ahead of their start date. Confirm they have received all necessary equipment for their work and ask your IT department to assist them with setup, if necessary. Make sure new remote workers have the following to get started: Laptop, Mouse, Keyboard, Notebook.

Gift new hires company swag

Help your new hires feel like a part of the team by sending them a welcome package. You can include: Branded merchandise, like a coffee mug or T-shirt, a welcome letter or note from their team or your CEO, personalized gifts they’re likely to enjoy (like headphones, a book or gift cards from local or online stores).

Help new employees complete paperwork remotely

Having your new hires sign employment contracts and other legal documents can be time-consuming, if they need to print, scan and email all copies or send them via mail. Consider using an e-signature tool, like HelloSign or DocuSign, so that employees can add their signatures digitally and share contracts with you in a secure environment, or go the extra mile and implement an HRIS that supports remote contracts.

Get them up to speed on your company culture

Remote employees are part of your culture, despite not being in the office. To help them understand the culture, share: Your employee handbook in digital format, any presentations or literature on your company values, pictures and videos from all-hands meetings.

Ensure new hires understand how to use your communication tools

Describe the best ways to contact team members and how to troubleshoot communication technology. Also, if relevant, provide manuals on how to set up: company email, group messaging and video conference software, phone or telephony applications.

Prompt hiring managers to set specific goals and expectations

Remote workers should not wait until their manager is online to learn what their next tasks are. Make sure hiring managers: Develop and share a task calendar after new hires’ training and on-boarding sessions, define short-term and long-term goals, schedule weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects, progress and resolve potential issues.

Set up meetings with their team members and other key employees

These meetings could be one-on-one and/or group calls. During their first days, remote employees should meet with: their coworkers, their manager and direct reports, and employees from other departments they’ll work closely with.

Arrange role-specific trainings

It’s often challenging to train remote employees, as real-time communication is usually limited. To effectively train remote workers: Use interactive training courses that are user-friendly and include games and quizzes to boost engagement, record product demos to better explain features through video, and follow up after each training session to answer questions.

Arrange a training with your IT department

Remote workers should get familiar with: file-sharing applications and cloud backup software (like Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online), computer security (for example, how to ensure your laptop is locked and encrypted), and enterprise password management and data encryption tools to protect their devices (like LastPass).

Schedule calls after their first week, month and quarter to touch base

These calls will help you understand if they’re facing any difficulties and whether they’ve settled into their roles.

Arrange an in-person meeting

While this isn’t possible during the COVID-19 outbreak, if your new hire is based near your office, consider having them work from your offices during their first week. If that’s not feasible, invite them on-site as soon as possible, so that they get to know coworkers in-person. If you have distributed teams and all employees work from home, make sure to schedule quarterly or annual events or retreats, where entire teams get the chance to meet.

Arrange job shadowing with veteran employees

Since your staff can’t look over the shoulder, coordinate job shadowing (via Microsoft Teams video chat and screensharing) with members of your team, to give the new employee an idea of what other roles in the organization do. This might even be better than in-person shadowing, because the new team member has access to their own environment simultaneously. Suggested by Ryan Vestby at CompuVision.

Arrange daily first-thing huddles with the hiring manager

Using video chat, connect with your new employee first thing to help them navigate the day ahead. This can be coupled with daily debriefs, too. Suggested by Ryan Vestby at CompuVision.

Assign a workplace digital buddy

While this can be useful in in-person and remote situations, a workplace buddy can provide an internal mentor to ask questions about the workplace culture, where to find things, and what social norms exist within the workplace.

Do you have other items to add to this checklist? Let us know.

Other useful resources:

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