Remote Onboarding for Startups: Everything You Need to Know

The quality of your onboarding strategy can either define, or undermine, your startup. New talent is the lifeblood for a business that craves marketplace competitiveness. Without key people priorities, your business might struggle to access the right knowledge and expertise.

As a leader, you need to create a remote process that gives a new hire the ability to understand your team’s unique workflow and goals. A recent study by Gallup has found that only 12% of employees “strongly agree” that their company does an effective job of onboarding new employees.

Onboarding for start-ups can be chaotic and complex, especially for firms that are scaling quickly and those who lack dedicated HR expertise. It’s no easy feat to ensure a seamless onboarding process, but a careful balance of strategy and knowledge can certainly help.

Starting a new venture at any time is a daunting experience. Whether established or just starting out, new starters can feel isolated and uncertain, especially if they onboard a company remotely. Rather than turn to friendly help in the office, where colleagues are close-by, new starters are forced to discover company culture and work-related queries through videoconferencing. As start-ups are often fast paced and hectic environments, onboarding can seem like a low priority.

In fact, onboarding properly can boost morale, enabling new starters to quickly develop confidence in their role, and this can even strengthen team settings. Employees who had a positive onboarding experience were 58% more likely to stay with the company after three years, according to the Wynhurst Group. In a start-up environment, this is especially important.

Expertly onboard your new hire

Whether your first hire or you’re onboarding new talent, here are some ideas and best practice tips on how to remotely engage a new hire.

Send them a welcome gift

For a new remote hire, they can often be unsure of whether to use their own laptop and screens, or whether a company will provide it. By providing a remote worker with all the necessary kit (including supplies), you’re instilling trust from day one, and ensuring they have everything they need to excel in their role.

With this, sending a welcoming gift can quickly establish value and appreciation from the earliest moments of their contact with your company culture. This could be as simple as a water bottle, candle or a custom notebook. It’s a token gesture of your appreciation and it can help to make them feel included and motivated.

Tax and pay

Establishing payroll dates and tax forms for employees can be a headache for some, but ensure all your employees (including new hires) are aware about their pay and tax accountabilities. In the UK, new starter forms are fully virtual, and negate the need for a P45 immediately.

Make sure the person responsible for payroll communicates expectations with the new starter, including essential pay dates, and any claimable expenses or procedures. This doesn’t need to be a call, but can be more personal over a video chat, supported by appropriate paperwork.

Sorting early and tax procedures earlier removes pressure on your payroll and can ensure steadfast compliance.

Limit video meetings

There’s been a lot of research into ‘Zoom fatigue’ recently, which is a term coined to describe the exhaustion you get after being on video calls all day. It’s been psychologically proven to cause more exhaustion than in-person meetings, so limiting the videoconferences and providing reasonable breaks in-between will help reduce the risk of exhaustion, or long-term burnout.

To strategically avoid exhaustion, it is worth booking in a regular calls with either a manager or friendly colleague at the end of the day each day, allowing an opportunity to ask any questions and debrief.

Create a friendly system of support between colleagues

Having a robust system of support for your new hires means they have someone who isn’t in a senior position to offer everyday help and advice. This will allow new hires to absorb the company ethos, morals and values in a more natural way. Creating a strong environment of support means encouraging employees to connect as people before professionals.

It can seem impossible to recreate an authentic office atmosphere, full of lively and engaging conversation, but a support system can offer new hires a way to meaningfully engage and understand the company culture.