Onboarding new starters remotely

Your people

Starting a new job is an exciting time, but also nerve wracking. In the current COVID-19 circumstances, with so many people now working from home, it’s important for employers to consider new processes and ways of working to make remote inductions as smooth as possible for everyone. It can be stressful, but we hope our top tips will help you through a remote induction process.

Have a checklist

A checklist is always helpful. As an employer, you need to know that your new starter is accessing all the right information, and you need to help them understand their immediate priorities. For your employee, having a list means they can digest information in sections and ask questions, so they don’t feel overwhelmed. If you already have an induction checklist, make sure you review it before your new starter joins as it’ll probably need to be amended from pre-COVID-19 days. The checklist should include a list of what policies, processes and documents you have so your employee can read and understand them. It also helps if you use a channel for easy communication such as MS Teams.

Provide the right equipment

Your new starter might already have access to the equipment they need but as an employer, you need to make sure they do. Give them access to a work laptop, phone and your network. There are several different platforms that make multi-team meetings easy such as Zoom, Slack, MS Teams, Google Hangouts and Skype, so send your new starter any details they need to use these. Remember to allow for extra time to get the equipment ordered and delivered than you would have if they were joining you at your workplace.

Communication is key

Even though your new employee is working remotely, they still need to feel part of a team and it’s so important that you get this right at the beginning. Set up a virtual team meeting for their first day where they can meet everyone and get that human connection. But don’t end it there, keep the catch-ups regular! Too much communication is better than too little, especially in the first few weeks of a new starter joining as this is the best way to make them feel more comfortable.

It’s a nice idea to schedule in some time for non-work communications too such as a team quiz or a ‘get to know each other’ session. Get the whole team involved and create a sense of culture and belonging. It’s also important for employees to get to know other teams outside of their daily interactions.

Two-way feedback

Your new employee will often be removed from the general ways of your team and understanding the working style of your organisation, so creating openness is key. It’s inevitable that they’ll have questions and won’t know ‘how things work’ so encourage feedback; ask for it and give it!


This was updated in June 2020 by Heart of the City. We’ve created these resources for individual SMEs to use. None of our content is to be adapted, reused or repurposed for commercial use.