A Comprehensive Remote Onboarding Checklist for Global Teams

How a new employee feels after their first days at your company can have a significant impact on how long they’ll stay. The onboarding process for new hires sets the tone for the rest of the experience and represents another chance for you to leave a great first impression after the job interview.

However, not all companies have the onboarding process all figured out.

Here are some recent stats that paint the picture of the current state of onboarding globally, according to Gallup:

  • In 2021, one in five employees rated their onboarding experience as poor.
  • When the hiring manager has an active role during onboarding, new employees are 3.4x more likely to feel they’re ready to hit the ground running.
  • Sometimes, it can take up to a year for a new hire to feel fully integrated into the team and reach full productivity in their role.

Onboarding can be particularly challenging for remote employees, as you can’t show the new hire around or quickly stop by their desk to share a piece of information, but if done right, it can have a significant impact on employee engagement and retention in your company.

We’ve prepared this extensive new employee onboarding checklist to help you create a successful onboarding program and prepare your new joiners to excel in their role

Pre-onboarding phase

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when hiring is the lack of communication with the candidates between the moment when the contract is signed and the candidate’s first day. OfferZen finds that as many as one-third of candidates may drop out of the hiring process because of poor communication or miscommunication before their start date.

Here are two steps you can take during pre-onboarding to ensure you don’t lose the new hire before they even start and make them feel welcome.

1. Send a welcome email with important details

Send your new team member an email with relevant information they need to know before or on their first day.

Start with a warm welcome message to express gratitude for having them in your company. This can be particularly helpful in bridging potential differences in how people from different backgrounds communicate.

Consider presenting other team members the new employee will be working with closely and encourage them to book calls with these people during the first week. Also, you can send the new joiner a schedule of any fixed meetings they may need to plan for (if they’re a parent, they may need a babysitter for afternoon meetings, for example) or the onboarding plan for the first week.

2. Documentation and setup

Before the employee’s first day, it’s also important for human resources to complete all new hire paperwork before the person starts working at the company. For example, the new team member may need to scan their ID, send their tax information, and provide any other documents, like direct deposit forms.

All this data are typically required for the HR team to successfully enroll the new joiner into the HRIS and payroll systems, so they can get an email address, get access to tools, receive a paycheck, and have access to corresponding perks and benefits (the employee’s eligibility for different benefits will depend on their country of residence).

If you didn’t run a background check during the interview phase, you should do it during pre-onboarding. Before the employee starts their new job, they also need to sign a non-compete, an NDA, and other documentation that protects both them and your company.

3. Send swag and a welcome gift

Do you have company swag? Send it to the new joiner before their first day. If you don’t offer swag, a welcome gift can be a good substitute.

Sending swag is particularly significant in remote, global teams, where employees don’t have an opportunity to see each other in person. Having a T-shirt, a cap, or a mug with the company logo can make the new hire feel like a part of the team and even turn them into brand ambassadors on social media!

Pre-onboarding checklist summary:

  • Send the new team member a welcome message
  • Inform the new team member of any fixed meeting schedules
  • Present other team members
  • Share the first onboarding week schedule
  • Check if the employee has signed their contract (correctly)
  • Enter the new employee data into your HRIS system/spreadsheet
  • Collect the non-compete, NDA, tax forms, and other relevant documentation
  • Send company swag or a welcome gift

Want to get a copy of this checklist? Get the free template here >>>

Day one items

On** Day one **of the employee onboarding process, your new hire should achieve three main goals:

  • Meet their immediate team members
  • Gain access to company tools, and
  • Get a high-level tour of company processes

If you provide equipment like laptops or monitors to their staff, your HR team should order the corresponding equipment for the new hire. If you run a hybrid team but don’t have an office, your new team member should also gain access to an available workspace in their location.

On day one, your new joiner will receive an internal email address, access to the company platform, and login credentials for any tools used by the employee’s team, like Zoom, Notion, ClickUp, Salesforce, HubSpot, QuickBooks, Slack, etc. As the hiring manager, you should coordinate with the access management team to ensure this process runs smoothly.

In your first official check-in meeting, go through the employee’s job description and list of responsibilities (even though they might be familiar with the job post).

Encourage the new hire to reach out to the rest of the team and book 15-minute introduction calls. These calls are useful icebreakers that enable collaboration between team members from the very beginning. If the new hire is uncomfortable booking these meetings, you can schedule the intros or ask other team members to reach out first.

During this meeting, give the employee a list of essential onboarding tasks, including learning how to use the tools their team uses daily and watching sales training to get familiar with the company’s product or service.

Finally, walk the employee through company processes. If you have an employee handbook or an FAQ document, make sure your new joiner knows where to find it to revisit company policies and other relevant information. In hybrid work environments, managers should also inform the new hire of any existing dress codes, share parking information, and potentially on-site lunch schedule.

At the end of the meeting, schedule your next check-in. You can give your new employee a preview of the rest of the onboarding process and a little insight into what comes after. If you’re planning to have a first-month review meeting with them, schedule it right away and tell them what you expect them to achieve in the first month.

During the employee’s first week, you should check in with them daily to ensure effective onboarding.

Top tip: Assign your new hire an onboarding buddy: a team member who’s been at the company for a while and can answer their questions and support them throughout settling in the new role.

Day one checklist summar

  • Have your first official check-in with the new employee
  • Schedule daily check-ins for the rest of the first week
  • Schedule 30-day and 90-day check-ins
  • Review the employee’s job description and responsibilities
  • (Help the new hire) book intro meetings with the team
  • Ensure your new employee has access to all relevant tools, training, and workspaces
  • Order equipment for the new employee
  • Go through company policies
  • Assign an onboarding buddy
  • Provide a first-week onboarding task checklist

First-week onboarding checklist

During their first week at the company, your new hire will be completing their role-specific training according to their onboarding checklist. The goal for the first week should be for the employee to learn as much as possible about the industry and the product or service, especially if they have a customer-facing role, like customer support or sales.

Fun fact: Sometimes it takes as much as four months to fully onboard a sales rep. Take your time, and don’t rush the training!

The first-week 1:1 manager check-ins will help you take the pulse on how things are going with your new team member. Find out if they feel overwhelmed if the onboarding process is clear, and if they need any help or clarification.

Use the first week to ensure the new joiner has had an opportunity to meet with everyone from the team and start including them in events: company-wide meetings, casual virtual lunch meetings, etc. Remember, it’s your job to facilitate connections between the new employee and others in the company and help the employee immerse themselves into the company culture.

The first week is also a good time for the new hire to learn about internal processes and how you collaborate with other teams. For example, they should know where to submit a Jira ticket if they need help from another department.

At the end of week one, send the employee a short survey or ask them to share their feedback on the onboarding process. Use well-structured questions to prompt concrete answers because the amount of information the new employee receives during their first week may cause their answer to be “it was okay”, even if they might have something to point out.

First week checklist summary:

  • Check the employee’s progress with product/service training
  • Invite the new hire to company-wide meetings
  • Walk the employee through specific cross-team processes and workflows they may often need
  • Gather feedback on the first-week onboarding phase

30-day checklist

Another regular touch base with your new hire should happen after their first month with the company. During this period, you should continue to give your new hire continuous feedback, but you can schedule fewer check-ins during the week and let them become more autonomous. That’s a good way to test if they’re able to self-manage and hold themselves accountable for the tasks you assign.

Within the first 30 days, the new employee should also receive the first tasks that they can complete when not listening to training sessions. These tasks should slowly introduce them to the full scope of their role and give them the confidence to come up with their own ideas and take lead on projects at some point.

These first tasks your new team member completes are an excellent opportunity to:

  • Revisit and clarify expectations
  • Provide more detailed and specific feedback on how you expect work to be done
  • Get a more realistic picture of the workload your new hire can manage

First-month checklist summary

  • Schedule a 30-minute check-in with your new hire
  • Make sure the employee has completed their training
  • Provide feedback on the employee’s first tasks
  • Check how the employee is feeling about the team, job, and company
  • Discuss the new hire’s progress with the department head
  • Provide a preview of the rest of the onboarding process

90-day checklist

After three months, your new employee is usually fully onboarded. They’re able to work independently and contribute with their own ideas. They don’t passively wait for you to assign them to work, but they take initiative and decide on their own how their workday is going to look.

The 90-day check-in is the perfect moment for scheduling a more detailed, informative performance review. There are three main points to talk about:

  • Key areas in which the employee excels
  • Potential areas of improvement
  • Future career development plans

So, other than providing feedback on the employee’s performance, you should ask them how they see their role evolve and help them review their short-term and long-term goals.

Ask the employee if they have identified a specific area in which they’d like to develop their skills further so that you can help them plan their growth within the company. For example, a junior marketer could discover over the first three months that they’re interested in product marketing more than in other marketing sectors.

90-day checklist summary

  • Dedicate an hour to your employee’s performance review
  • Talk about the employee’s future in the company
  • Review short-term and long-term goals
  • Ask for feedback on the employee onboarding process

6-month and annual review

Six months is already a significant tenure within a company, where the employee will have had an opportunity to go through two quarterly goal-setting processes within their team and on a company level. If the new hire’s performance has been meeting (or exceeding) expectations consistently at this point, consider assigning the employee their first KPI to be accountable for.

During your six-month performance review talk, look back on the employee’s successes, projects that didn’t bring the expected results, and goals you’ve set. Make sure they’re still relevant and aligned with overall business goals, and if not, adjust them or set new ones for the upcoming quarter.

After their first year at the company, your new hire isn’t new anymore—they’re more of a veteran. The onboarding process comes to an end. Other than a detailed performance review and talk about future plans, your employee should receive public recognition for their work. This could be done in a Slack channel, during a leadership meeting, or at a company offsite.

6-month and annual checklist summary

  • Hold a detailed performance review
  • Review the goals you and your employee have set for the first six months/year at the company
  • Assess the employee’s strengths and help them plan for future career development
  • Come up with a plan to address any shortcomings
  • Set new goals for the upcoming period
  • Praise the employee publicly

Create a robust onboarding process that reflects your company culture

An effective onboarding process improves the success rates of your hiring and overall employee satisfaction in your company, as your new hires will feel prepared and supported every step of the way. During onboarding, the new employee has a chance to build the foundation for their future within the company, but it’s also a chance for you to showcase your company culture as an employee-centric, healthy, and result-oriented.

Use this onboarding checklist template to guide you through the successful onboarding of the next talented employee who joins your team and create an inspiring, streamlined experience for both of you.

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Andrea Rajic