How to Onboard New Employees Remotely During the COVID-19 Pandemic




Organizations with a strong onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82 percent and employee productivity by more than 70 percent, according to research by Glassdoor. But research from Gallup showed that only 12% of employees think their employers have an effective onboarding process. When you combine that statistic with the difficulties of onboarding someone virtually—particularly when that employee has never met anyone in person because of the coronavirus pandemic—it becomes painfully obvious that organizations need to focus their efforts on creating an engaging virtual onboarding process.


Here are some steps that organizations can take to pivot to a more effective—while still legally compliant—virtual onboarding process during the COVID-19 pandemic.


1. Make sure new hires have access to the resources they need.

Nothing is more frustrating than starting a new job and not having access to the hardware, software, and tools you need to do your work—and it’s doubly so when there’s no IT help desk around the corner to help.


Ensure that new employees have access rights, including usernames and passwords, to use your organization’s systems, networks, and software. Then share a list of tools that your team usually uses to communicate and collaborate, whether it’s Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, or Google Docs.


2. Make interactions as personal as possible.

It’s hard for a new hire to feel at home remotely. Video introductions to the team will break the ice for your new employee and give them some comfort in an unfamiliar work environment; email introductions are highly impersonal and will only make it more difficult for your new hire to make inroads. In addition to formal introductions, set up casual opportunities for interaction as well, such as a virtual lunch or coffee break for your new hire with various team members. Try to schedule a team-building activity within the first two weeks to help integrate them into the workgroup.


3. Adapt onboarding materials for virtual use.

Just because your employee isn’t in an office doesn’t mean that your legal obligations are any different. You must still onboard your employee as if they were in the physical office with you. This means you’ll need some changes to your policies and procedures for virtual access and training. Be sure to convert any hard-copy materials, such as employee handbooks and policies, into digital files that you keep in a shared location online. Along with these policies, you should include access to labor law posters—whether downloadable and printable or viewable online.


Keys to Successful Virtual Employee Onboarding During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The keys to successful virtual onboarding are engagement, comprehensiveness, and consistency. It’s critical for employers to think of ways to keep employees engaged even though they’re remote, to cover everything new hires need to know to quickly assimilate into their new role and to ensure they can repeat the process for each new hire.


Online labor law posters simplify the process of compliance for companies onboarding remote workers. Visit our website to learn more about our COVID-related products, including our COVID-19 reopening kit, COVID-19 response bundle, and handwashing posters, as well as to sign up for our eComply or Virtual Compliance Guide options for remote employees. While you’re there,  you can also download our three new specialty labor law posters on wearing masks, social distancing, and enhanced safety measures.