Onboarding Remote Teams As A Critical Piece Of Employee Experience

Hybrid and remote work is a topic that’s been covered from so many different angles in the past two years that it’s likely we know everything about it. Or, well, almost everything. The impact of onboarding remote and hybrid teams on their overall experience is sometimes overlooked, so we decided to chat about it with an expert.

We recently spoke with Carlos Escutia, the founder and CEO of GroWrk Remote, a smart equipment management company serving remote and hybrid teams. Here are the highlights of the conversation:

Carlos, how did you decide to step into the world of remote work and start GroWrk Remote?

Before GroWrk, I was the co-founder and head of operations at CasaOne, a furniture tech platform. We started hiring team members in other countries and cities outside of the Bay Area and experienced firsthand how difficult it was to deliver and manage the equipment needs of those remote team members. When we looked for a solution and didn’t find one, we decided to build it.

What would you say are the biggest challenges of remote work for companies and managers?

One of the biggest challenges we are seeing right now with our customers is the logistics of running a remote team. Sure, there are productivity issues or problems with asynchronous communication but those can mostly be solved by hiring a remote coach or transition specialist.

The real challenge is updating decade-old IT and office infrastructure to meet the security and well-being needs of distributed teams whether they be international or spread out through the same country.

It is hard to get the same equipment to each remote employee in a timely manner and ensure that their devices are secure. Then you have to factor in if a security or technical issue does occur if the IT manager can actually access that device.

As remote teams continue to scale and companies tap into more international talent they will need a comprehensive solution that can procure and deliver new inventory or manage their existing devices in a coordinated but simple way. That is what we are building at GroWrk.

How can companies best ensure their remote employees feel included? What tips would you give managers when it comes to promoting a sense of belonging and impact?

There are several key elements that should be part of any onboarding process so that new remote employees feel included.

  1. Have a manager or point person that can answer any questions they have and guide them through the onboarding process. Managers should follow a structure that for at least the first two weeks the new employee is occupied with a task or event each day.
  2. Have a virtual buddy or a colleague that acts as a connection to their team and the rest of the company. This person can set up meet-and-greets and generally include them on the non-work aspects of the team,
  3. Create an online resource, either in a Google doc or Notion, that covers all aspects of the company from the culture to the onboarding process. So if no one is available they can use that as a resource and also study up on all aspects of their role/the product.
  4. Make the process fun. There should be at least one activity whether it be a game night or happy hour where the new remote employee can introduce themselves on a personal level to the rest of the team.
  5. Give an easy task to start out. This way they can hit the ground running but not feel overwhelmed.
  6. Finally, a great way to make an employee feel like they belong is by providing them with a WFH stipend, loan, or care package. Receiving a physical object other than a bunch of passwords and virtual documents really solidifies an onboarding experience.

How important is the onboarding process when it comes to a remote workforce? Does that sense of belonging start with onboarding?

The onboarding process is key to employee retention in a remote workforce. If a remote employee feels overwhelmed with new information, they may experience imposter syndrome or feel like they can’t perform their job to the best of their ability.

If there is no structured introduction and they barely meet anyone on their team, they won’t make any connections and will feel isolated. They will just be logging in each day with no attachment to the company and waiting for the next opportunity to come along.

A well-thought-out onboarding process establishes a sense of belonging and a connection to the company culture from day one.

What do you think is the perfect remote onboarding process?

The perfect remote onboarding process is one that is comprehensive but not too complicated. It is personal but professional. Some great examples are Gitlab or Dropbox, whose onboarding lasts a full three months. They truly make new employees feel a part of their teams and get to know all aspects of the business.

What other elements of employee experience are critical in the remote work era?

Fostering personal interactions and connections is critical to employee experience in the remote work era. These can be creating specific Slack channels based on shared interests, random coffee breaks with colleagues, or monthly virtual events to get everyone involved. Another important element is how much freedom and trust you give to your remote employees.

From day one, there should be the expectation that as long as employees produce great results, they can live their best lives. This creates a balance between work and life so that when employees do work, they are engaged and not worried about things in their personal lives or feel like they are missing out.

Finally, you want employees to be comfortable while they are working. Before hiring, companies should use an equipment survey to find out what employees may be lacking before starting their role and help them acquire necessary elements whether it be a monitor or ergonomic chair. Then there should be an equipment agreement so that there is trust on both sides if they are using company devices.

How can companies use GroWrk Remote to help them onboard their new remote hires?

Companies can use GroWrk Remote to streamline the logistics of getting equipment to their international team members in over 100 countries at the touch of a button with one dynamic dashboard. Often IT professionals or HR struggle to get laptops and devices to new employees on time and leave them waiting, unable to fully start.

Companies have been managing this process in an inefficient, expensive, and risky way, purchasing equipment in their home countries and shipping it abroad. This process leaves companies at the mercy of manufacturer lead times, transit times, and customs in multiple countries. Most often than not, equipment deliveries can take several weeks or months.

GroWrk simplifies the procurement and delivery process by allowing managers to add new employees to a dashboard, choosing their equipment, and hitting send. All they have to do is wait no more than a week and follow the shipping status. GroWrk will handle the rest. If the employee ends up leaving, they just change the employee to offboarding status, and GroWrk will come and collect the equipment to send it to another employee or store it in one of our global warehouses.

GroWrk helps companies provide a seamless onboarding experience and ensures that organizations stay compliant with equipment requirements no matter where in the world team members work from.

Schedule Your Workplace Policy Session

We’re excited to hear your policy, show you how others are tackling challenges are doing, and give you practical advice.
Let’s talk
Andrea Rajic