The Workplaceless Guide to Successful Remote Employee Onboarding

It's true for meeting new people, and it's true for onboarding new employees: You only have one chance to leave a first impression.

 With a remote or hybrid team, that first impression needs to be exactly as positive for both remote and co-located employees. That’s why it’s critical to design a stellar remote employee onboarding experience.

Workplaceless has been delivering remote work skills training to organizations worldwide since 2017, and we’ve curated the following guide to successful remote employee onboarding to help your new hires thrive in a flexible workplace. 

Your Remote Employee Onboarding Program Should Make Every Employee Feel


They feel confident that they have the information and resources they need, and they know where to go if they need help.


They feel like they are part of the team immediately, being welcomed by team members and leaders alike.


They feel like they have the right amount of information at the right time, to make sure they can accomplish objectives without being overwhelmed.


They feel like they have been well-equipped by the information, experiences, and resources received during onboarding to confidently move forward.

...Regardless of Where They Are Located

Specify Outcomes

Articulate the outcomes of your onboarding program by asking the following questions: 

What are your new hire’s responsibilities? What tasks and projects are they expected to accomplish? 

What schedule is your new hire expected to follow? What are your team’s core working hours? What time zones do team members represent? 

When is your new employee expected to be able to accomplish their tasks? What is the expected time to competency?

What are the milestones they are expected to accomplish? Are the milestones the same for both remote and co-located employees? 

What are the expectations for performance? Are these expectations objective, measurable, and achievable regardless of location? 

What are the skills and behaviors that lead to success in your remote or hybrid team? 

What team working agreements are used to ensure that work and communication is consistent, regardless of employee location?

Where will your new hire be working?

What tools and platforms will they use to accomplish their work? Are those tools the same when working on-site and working remotely?

Who are the people that your new hire will be working with? How are they expected to connect? 

How can your new hire make connections with other employees they don’t work with directly, especially if they’re remote? 

Incorporate your company’s mission and culture into designing your onboarding program. Why do you do what you do?

What connection does each onboarding task have to your values?

What remote behaviors show commitment to your values? 

What daily, weekly, monthly, or regular rituals do you practice that reinforce culture?


Design the Best First Day Ever

Think back to your first day at work. How would you describe it? Organized? Hectic? Like there was nothing for you to do? 

Since the first day of work for a remote employee doesn’t include spending time in a separate, new physical space, it’s important to make sure that their first day includes clear instructions on what to expect.

What does a typical workday look like for someone on this team? Design the first day of work to reflect that ongoing expectation as much as possible. 

Schedule any first day communications to go out at the start of your new hire’s workday. This is especially important if you work in a different time zone than your new hire.

In your messaging, include a video recording of yourself (using a tool like Loom) to add richness to your communication. 

Meticulously plan the details for the expectations for your new hire’s first day. Here’s a framework to use: 

“You’ll do (task) with (person) at (time, including time zone) using (tool). To prepare, review (documentation).”

You want to provide enough information and opportunities to connect for your new hire to feel informed but not overwhelmed. 

One strategy for accomplishing this is to provide a mix of asynchronous communication, such as email, text and video messaging, with synchronous opportunities to connect in real time via phone or video. 

Want to learn how to improve the balance of sync and async communication in your team? Take our Async at Work course

Easily incorporate these recommendations into your onboarding program by downloading the Remote Employee Onboarding Task List for the first week of onboarding. 

The task list features each task the onboarding coordinator and new hire should complete. 

Onboarding Tools

Your digital tool stack is your remote and hybrid’s team workplace—make sure every new hire has access to the tools they need.  

Create a tool dashboard that has every tool that your team member needs in one place. 

For example, the Workplaceless Team uses the dashboard feature on ClickUp to provide this information. 

When possible and applicable, use the tools that your new hire will be using on a day to day basis for delivering your onboarding. 

For example, if your team uses a project management tool, organize tasks for onboarding in the project management tool itself, and deliver any training content via a learning management system. 

To support a balanced blend of synchronous and asynchronous communication, use recorded videos like Loom to deliver messages with a personal touch. 


In addition to your company handbook, policies, and HR and legal paperwork, provide new employees access and training on team working agreements and other documents, such as: 

A commitment to documentation is one of the hallmarks of effective remote and hybrid teams. Consistent, clear documentation of decisions, work history, processes, tasks, etc. enable teams to work and get answers to questions without having to rely on other people. 

A Single Source of Truth (SSoT) refers to a document or database that houses all the information you need to know about a certain function. Having just one single source of truth eliminates the need for duplicative content, which requires updating multiple locations, plus remembering where all that information lives. 

Communication Charter is a document that defines how your team uses communication platforms. Defining expectations for how your team communicates helps streamline interactions and reduces communication overload. 

Documenting objective performance expectations that are equally achievable by both remote and co-located employees is the first step to ensuring equitable outcomes for all, regardless of location.   

Setting boundaries is key for preventing burnout, reducing conflict, increasing deep work time, and maintaining mental and physical health. Help your team take ownership by proactively writing Boundaries Scripts to prevent future issues, or to resolve current challenges like overwork and burnout.

By providing access and training on how to use these team documents, you’re empowering your new employees to retrieve information on their own, instead of relying on other people. 

If you don’t yet have these processes and team working agreements, you can build them using the templates in our Hybrid Team Success Toolkit

The Toolkit includes step-by-step instructions and remote work toolkit templates to quickly create async-first meeting formats, documentation practices, and team agreements.

Facilitate Connections

You want your new hire to quickly feel connected to the company and new role, and you also want them to be able to quickly connect with other people. 

As you consider the following tips for facilitating connections, consider whether you are supporting new hires’ ability to develop relationships among their own team, with other teams, and among different levels of leadership—all across distance. 

Invite your new hire to participate in any connection rituals as soon as possible. 

Use the template provided in the Hybrid Team Success Toolkit if needed. 

Assign an onboarding buddy so your new hire has someone else they can turn to besides their direct supervisor and team members. 

Incorporate introductions and ice breakers into team meetings so your new hire is introduced to as many people as possible. 

Use team building events to build interpersonal trust among team members. 

Personal User Manuals are for internal use to get to know one other, but with the specific purpose of understanding each other’s working habits for better collaboration and communication.

Have new hires read their team’s personal user manuals, and create one for themselves.

Schedule regular check-ins to make sure your new hire has what they need. Use tools like Kona to get regular wellbeing check-ins. 

Easily incorporate these recommendations into your onboarding program by downloading the Remote Employee Onboarding Task List for the first week of onboarding. 

The task list features each task the onboarding coordinator and new hire should complete. 

Remote and Hybrid Skills Training

Whether or not your new hires already have remote work experience, you want to make sure they have the resources they need to succeed in remote and hybrid work. That’s why it’s so important to provide training that has been specifically designed with the distributed experience in mind. 

Our flagship program establishes the foundation for effective remote work by developing the skills individuals need to succeed in distributed teams, covering seven core competency areas:

  1. Self-Management
  2. Remote Workday
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Communication
  5. Workflow
  6. Productivity
  7. Collaboration

Learn More

The Leadplaceless® virtual leadership training builds the behaviors needed to enable workforce flexibility and reinforce a culture committed to remote and hybrid work.

Ultra-curated topics result in a minimal time commitment required to learn, practice, and implement powerful improvements within a hybrid team in the following areas:

  1. Meetings
  2. Connections
  3. Performance 
  4. Boundaries
  5. Decisions
  6. Autonomy
  7. Tools

The Async at Work eCourse helps teams quickly achieve flexibility and productivity results by adopting async-first practices. 

  • Knowledge. Learn about async-first practices and balancing async and sync communication that will work for your team.
  • Application. See proven examples of what great async work practices look like on successful remote and hybrid teams.
  • Practice. Go beyond reading about working asynchronously—apply examples and a well-rounded perspective to the specific ways your team works.
  • Impact. Use async-first practices to unlock autonomy and flexibility for your team, ultimately leading to improved productivity and increased employee retention.

Learn More

Incorporate Remote Skills Training into Your Onboarding Program with Workplaceless Courses

Our asynchronous eCourses supplement your existing onboarding program by training individual contributors and managers in the essential skills they need to succeed in remote and hybrid work environments. We make it easy to incorporate these courses into your onboarding by offering bulk course purchases. 

Equip Leaders to Support Remote Employees

Your new hire may have all the skills they need to succeed in a virtual team, but if their direct supervisor doesn’t know how to manage a remote or hybrid team, your new hire will never succeed. 

The same is true of executive leaders. For remote and hybrid work to succeed, executives, managers, and individual contributors need to be equally committed to carrying out the company’s vision for the future of work.

Help your company’s leadership team align on the mindset, infrastructure, and capabilities needed to make distributed work successful with the following programs:  


The Leadplaceless® virtual leadership training builds the behaviors needed to enable workforce flexibility and reinforce a culture committed to remote and hybrid work.

Ultra-curated topics result in a minimal time commitment required to learn, practice, and implement powerful improvements within a hybrid team in the following areas:

  1. Meetings
  2. Connections
  3. Performance 
  4. Boundaries
  5. Decisions
  6. Autonomy
  7. Tools

For executives, leaders and change agents responsible for enabling remote work in their organization, Goplaceless® presents the principles of effective remote work and provides frameworks to build commitment to a shared vision, identify remote needs specific to their organization, and outline a remote action plan. 

Learn More

Get Feedback

Gather feedback on your onboarding program at every touch point with the new hire, as well as surveys. Each onboarding program should have at least an end of onboarding survey and a survey that allows for feedback at any point during an employee’s tenure with the organization. 

The information you receive will help you make any necessary changes to the program, and will also provide valuable data to demonstrate the success of the program. A good employee onboarding program can be a valuable selling point for persuading potential hires to join your team. 

Want feedback on your current remote employee onboarding practices? Schedule a consult with our team today! 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking a link, Workplaceless may receive a portion of that sale at no extra cost to you. See our disclaimer for more information. 

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