How to onboard a new hire virtually - a checklist for remote onboarding

Written by

Harrison Johnson

If you’re a startup onboarding a new hire remotely, it's much harder to remember all the things you need to do for a new hire when you aren't in the same space as them.

We interviewed a dozen startup founders about how they onboard their employees virtually and what makes their onboarding processes efficient - then we put together this remote onboarding checklist so you won't forget what you need to do to create a great virtual new hire experience.

Here are a few remote onboarding tips we learned so you don't forget what your new hire needs when you are onboarding remotely.

Step 1 - Onboarding your new hire before day one

☑ Invite your new hire to payroll. This one you can't forget! Be sure to complete any new hire reporting with whoever runs HR.

☑ Send a PDF overview from your benefits provider. We use Justworks which gives you a linked PDF to share (more on why we like Justworks for Seed Stage).

☑ Ask your new hire to buy what they need for your WFH, device, or hardware policy - it's a great way to submit your first expenses.

☑ Share vacation and work from time-off even if you discussed during their interview. These can be easy to forget and can create confusion on day 1.

☑ Share a team directory with photos- especially if somebody didn’t interview the new hire.

☑ Write and share a “Working with me” document. Encourage teammates to do the same.

☑ Share FAQs for communication policies.

☑ Get an important investor to send a welcome email to your new hire.

☑ Pre-schedule any meetings you know your first hire must have their first week, including a 1:1 with their manager, and a 1:1 with HR to complete i9 work authorization and benefits sign up.

☑ If you create your plan in Driveway or in Google Docs, make a generic "Template" with the stuff everybody needs, then duplicate it and personalize it for each new hire.

Step 2 - Share an onboarding checklist on day one

☑ If you forgot to pre-schedule any mandatory meetings for week one, do that now (e.g. work authorization verification (I9), benefits enrollment, HIPAA training, sexual harassment training, wage theft acknowledgement).

☑ Have your team brainstorm what systems and documents your new hire needs access to - it's easy to forget what they need. You can do this in Driveway by sharing with collaborators, and using comments and @-mentions.

☑ Send the new hire an invite to their new work email at the beginning of day one. Then, send them invites to any systems they need.

☑ Make your checklist in a tool where you can collaborate and track progress, like Google Docs, Notion, Asana, or Driveway.

☑ Share the onboarding checklist early on their first day and schedule a meeting to review any questions. In Driveway, be sure to share with any collaborators you may need, including team mates, HR, or people your new hire will meet with.

☑ Send a new hire introduction email to the company (or over Slack, Microsoft Teams.)

☑ Ask the new hire to schedule meetings with team members and key employees, especially the Founders. Having the new hire schedule the meetings is less awkward than talking to someone the first time in a meeting.

☑ Have them start doing their job. Remember, when you're a startup, it's really never too early for a new hire to cold call, join a remote stand-up, or conduct a user-interview.

Step 3 - Share training materials for virtual learning

☑ Optional resources for reading, viewing, or listening can be shared over time with a new hire. The fastest way to share additional training resources is to give access to a folder or a team page, and to archive anything out of date (you can check out our Archive here).

☑ Share your company's Values, Mission, or Vision. If your company doesn't have any, write them for your team. If this sounds like a lot of work, Driveway allows you to record and embed videos directly in the application, or just scheduling a meeting to discuss.

☑ If Values, Mission and Vision aren't a priority for your company, be candid with your new hire about why - it's a great opportunity to create cultural alignment.

Step 4 - Ask your new hire for feedback

☑ Get feedback from your new hire early and often. We recommend scheduling time with your new employee to ask them how they are doing everyday during their first week, and twice a week during their first month.

☑ Most products used in onboarding, including Google Drive, Notion, and Driveway, have some sort of comments feature. Ask your new hire to leave comments with any observations or questions - these can be helpful breadcrumbs next time you are onboarding someone.

☑ Try and ask your new hire questions that give you valuable information, like "what surprised you most since joining?" Remember - it can be hard to be honest when you just joined a company. Our favorite 1:1 questions come from a16z.

☑ Create a simple Google Form asking your new hire "what went well with your onboarding?" and "what could have gone better with your onboarding?" and send it at the end of their first week. Try and make your new hire feel like their feedback is anonymous if possible.

Step 5 - Have fun with your new hire too

☑ Do something for your new hire that isn't mandatory but fun.  For example, schedule a quiz night with the team. If you have enough new hires, you can make the quiz about what they learned their first week.

☑ Send your new hire a gift. Recently, we gave our new hire an NFT as a welcome present. Our top-pick for corporate gifting is SendRibbon.

Want to use this checklist with a new hire? Sign up and get started with Driveway today.

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