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How does remote onboarding work in practice? A step-by-step guide

Remote onboarding used to be something out of the ordinary. After all, how can you start a job in a new company without shaking hands with your Team Leader, getting a tour around the office, and having your first coffee break with colleagues? It turns out that in today’s world, everything is possible.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed that many companies are capable of moving their business online. Also, more and more organizations are recruiting candidates globally.

However, before joining their new team, the new employees need to get to know the company. Because of high travel costs, onboarding people from different locations online turns out to be more accessible to both parties.

In this article, I will outline the rationale behind Predica’s decision to implement online onboarding, go over the steps, and discuss how to make the process successful.

KEY POINTS

  • How did remote onboarding start?
  • What are the steps of pre-onboarding and onboarding online?
  • How to make sure it is effective?

All images in the text are part of Predica’s photo archive.

Where did remote onboarding come from?

Before the pandemic, we used to invite all new employees to do the onboarding at the office. However, as remote work is one of the most important benefits for our people, we wanted to address their needs and decided to carry out the monthly sessions 100% online.

Our offices stay open for those who want to work from there, meet their Leader, and speak with their colleagues face-to-face. What’s important is that we do not make anyone switch from the home office mode. It is entirely up to our employees where they want to work from.

a man working remotely on a terrace in the middle of the woods

Remote work at Predica

Changing jobs is probably one of the most stressful moments in a candidate’s lifetime, which is why we carefully prepare ourselves to welcome the new team member. Whether the new employee will adapt well and be willing to recommend our company depends heavily on our efforts.

Usually, the specialists who join our organization are already motivated to do the job, so we do not want to discourage them by not having a clear onboarding plan and overwhelm them with too many tasks.

For these reasons, we keep a record of all the stages and make it available to everyone engaged in the process. It is especially important for the Leader, Buddy, as well as people from the IT, HR, and Payroll departments who need to understand the steps well to avoid misunderstandings.

In this article, I will explain how to do that by outlining all onboarding phases at Predica.

What is pre-onboarding?

A chart visualizing pre-onboarding stages at Predica

Click to view full screen

In pre-onboarding, we prepare everything necessary to welcome the new member.

It is time to draw up the contract, explain working conditions, send hardware, activate a work account, and grant access to necessary data and platforms.

In the meantime, the Leader plans job-related activities for the employee’s first three months at the company.

Providing software

At this stage, the HR team asks the new Predican if they want to work on their own equipment or would rather have a company laptop sent to them.

Apart from that, all employees get a renewable hardware budget to cover the cost of any other devices they’ll use for work like a docking station, headphones, keyboard, etc.

When new employees turn on their computers on their first day of work, they already have access to all necessary tools and programs.

an outdoor photo showing a laptop on a table and a cat lying on his back on a terrace

Remote work at Predica

Contact

Before an employee joins the company, HR representatives send four messages – three to the hired person and one to their Leader.

Messages to the employee

  • After accepting the job offer

Our company informs the new person that the onboarding process at Predica is held online. We also send details about the time and date, the meeting host, and who to contact in case of additional questions.

In the same email, we attach our Culture Book that presents the company’s values and mission.

  • Two weeks before the first day at work

The message includes an onboarding plan, information about hardware delivery and dress code, instructions for setting up a laptop, and a reminder about the profile photo for the company email.

  • On the first day at the company

In the email, there is a plan for the first couple of days in the organization, a to-do list, an onboarding presentation, information about access to necessary data and tools, as well as details regarding a company party with a link to sign up.

Message to the Leader

  • A reminder about the onboarding plan and welcoming the new team member

In the same message, we suggest assigning a Buddy for support in the absence of the Leader. We also remind them that the new employee’s Office 365 account will be activated seven days before the first day at work, and from that moment on, it will be possible to send invitations and emails.

Additionally, we inform each Leader that the onboarding process takes three months, and they should make sure to pass the know-how and familiarize the employee with the Predica Way culture.

Welcome pack

In the welcome pack, the new employee will find not only gadgets with Predica’s logo but also a book called Extreme Ownership. It was written by two Navy Seals officers – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

welcome pack for new employees at Predica

Welcome pack at Predica

The choice of book is no coincidence. It perfectly illustrates the elements of our organizational culture and outlines principles that guide us in our daily tasks.

What does remote onboarding look like?

A chart visualizing onboarding stages at Predica

Click to view full screen

Onboarding starts on the first day at a new company, lasts three months, and is divided into a few steps.

Throughout the whole process, the new employee is supported by the Leader, who is responsible for preparing them to fulfill their role.

But let us start from the beginning.

Three-day group meetings

They are run online using MS Teams. Apart from HR representatives acting as hosts, we also invite guests, e.g., an Agile Coach to describe the types of projects and how we carry them out, the company’s CTO (one of the company founders) to talk about how the company started and how it grew, or a Consultant Business Lead to discuss the business side of Predica.

Why have we decided to move the onboarding process online?

On the one hand, it is important to pass all the necessary information to the new person. But on the other, the amount of knowledge may be overwhelming, especially, when the onboarding is run online, and it is easy to get distracted.

The meetings are two and a half hours long and cover the following topics:

  • Day 1
    • Mission statement and vision
    • Structure
    • Data security
  • Day 2
    • Internal communication
    • Time reporting
  • Day 3
    • Benefits
    • Tools
    • Development opportunities
    • Projects and business

We believe that people and their attitudes build the atmosphere at work. For that reason, we discuss our values right on the first day of onboarding. In the meeting, our CTO describes how they have shaped the company since the very beginning, what it means to follow the Predica Way culture, and why this is important for the company.

Meeting with the Leader and the team

It normally takes place online on the first day of work. The Leader introduces the new person to the team and shares a plan for the next three months. It is also a good moment to talk about the expected results, objectives, and responsibilities, as well as other organizational information.

Also, Leaders often create a list of people in the company to approach in the first weeks at work.

Additionally, the HR team shares a welcome post on a company’s group on Yammer to introduce the new employees to the company. Once a month, they also publish a newsletter with photos and bios of the people who recently joined the organization.

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Onboarding summary

At the end of the third month, the Leader meets the new team member and sums up the onboarding period.

In the following months, there will also be three performance reviews – in January, May, and September.

This meeting aims to review the completed activities and plan projects for the next couple of weeks.

It is also a good moment to discuss salary increase. Therefore, we advise preparing oneself well by drawing up a list of achievements and successful projects.

Remote onboarding checklists

The HR team does their best to keep the new Predican and the Leader up to date with the company’s policies and practices, and an excellent way to do that is by following comprehensive checklists.

On the one hand, the number of resources they include may seem overwhelming. On the other one, though, they give us peace of mind that all pieces of information about access to tools and platforms, company policies, and other requirements are stored in one place, which makes the new employee feel safe.

My onboarding experience taught me that there are usually two types of people.

Some need more time to adapt to the place first, learn about all the policies, and get to know the people, projects, and methods well. The second type is employees who want to start work as soon as possible, learn by doing, and get back to the onboarding resources once they really need them.

Obviously, it is not always the case, but I have observed a repeatable pattern there.

Our checklists will be helpful to all – people who want to know everything right at the beginning and employees who will get back to reading the materials even after a couple of weeks after they started working here.

female hands on a laptop and a notebook with Predica's gadgets

Remote onboarding at Predica

Feedback

Another important step is a Hypercare meeting with an HR Business Partner, where new employees share their experiences with onboarding.

It usually takes place in the fifth or sixth week after joining the organization. In the meeting, we ask a few questions:

  1. How do you feel after a few weeks of working at Predica?
  2. Is the role what you expected when you decided to change jobs?
  3. Does it meet your expectations?
  4. Have you got all the necessary tools and resources to do the job?
  5. Is there anything we should improve in onboarding?

Thanks to their feedback, we can find out what else our employees need and prepare better for welcoming new hires.

Summary

Remote onboarding may seem complicated, but by carefully organizing the process and making sure that all resources are easy to access, the employee has nothing to be worried about.

The whole process is supervised by people who have broad experience with introducing new team members. The HR team keeps the employee up to date with company rules, while the Leader shares knowledge and is open to resolving any doubts in onboarding meetings.

Many people are ready to help and answer all, even the strangest, questions. The only thing you need to do is speak up! 😊

If you like the way we do our online onboarding at Predica, then do not forget to check our recent job offers here.

And finally, I wish you a warm and satisfying welcome in your next job!

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  1. We first introduced remote onboarding during the pandemic, and as many employees nowadays work from different places, we carry on organizing the sessions online.
  2. Before the new employee joins their team, the company organizes pre-onboarding. It is time for the Leader to prepare a plan for the team member, for HR to welcome them and for the IT department to provide software.
  3. There are three onboarding stages during which the new person learns about the company and its values and gets to know the team, their role, and responsibilities.
  4. The HR department prepares comprehensive, easy-to-access checklists with necessary information about tools, policies, and other company-related requirements.
  5. To make sure the process is effective, Predica runs Hypercare meetings for new employees in which they can share their feedback and suggest improvements.

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