Global HR Library

Onboarding employee checklist for remote hires

In this guide, we’ll list off some of the key boxes you need to check. You can use it as a baseline to create your own checklist.

How to use the onboarding checklist

When you hire a new team member, the onboarding process is crucial. A positive experience can set the relationship off on the right foot and make your employee feel vindicated in their decision, while a negative one can have the opposite effect.

For remote hires, a positive onboarding process is even more critical. Without the ability to physically welcome your new hire and immerse them in your working environment, you need to take extra care and do certain things a little differently.

This is where an onboarding checklist comes in handy. It allows you to follow a basic template and ensure a consistent experience for all new remote hires, as well as allowing you to scale the process as your company grows.

Based on our own extensive experience of onboarding employees at Remote, here’s some of the key tasks and processes you should focus on:

Set up introduction calls

Remote employees can often feel more isolated and siloed than in-office workers. As a result, you need to work harder to create a sense of belonging and cohesion. 

Informal meetings focused on building social bonds can really pay dividends in this regard, resulting in better employee engagement, productivity, and retention. It can also make your new hire feel more welcomed and comfortable, and able to reach out for support.


  • Schedule (or encourage your hire to schedule) 1:1 video calls with teammates and cross-functional partners

  • Arrange informal, virtual team introductions, including coffee chats, happy hours,

    or lunch meetings

  • Assign a dedicated onboarding buddy to help your new employee settle in

  • Share personality assessments or work style quizzes, and discuss the results online as a team

  • Encourage “personal shares”, where your new hire tells their colleagues about their hobbies and background

Spotlight key policies

Don’t just give your new hire a lofty policy manual and be done with it. Point out key policies that are particularly relevant for remote workers, like time off, expenses, and equipment.


  • Curate and share policy briefs, codes of conduct, and training resources

  • Schedule virtual sessions or record Loom videos to walk through remote-specific policies, like reimbursements for home office expenses 

  • Ensure you explain any relevant cybersecurity and digital asset policies

  • Outline the rules on information protection and data privacy

  • Leave room for asynchronous discussion on policy interpretation for distributed teams

It’s also a good idea to incorporate self-service elements here, so that your hire can be onboarded asynchronously and at their own pace. If you do so, consider creating a self-serve checklist for the employee to follow.

Explain tools and communication flows

Remote workers must rely more heavily on software and tools to collaborate and drive workflows. And, without the ability to look over a coworker’s shoulder or ask quick questions in person, your new hire needs to become self-sufficient quickly.

To do this, explain the purpose of each tool they’ll be using. Again, self-serve materials and user guides are the way to go here.


  • Create guides for logging into key systems and accounts

  • Demo (asynchronously, if necessary) how various tools integrate and work together

  • Share how the hire’s team leverages project management systems (if applicable)

Explain how your communication channels work, too, especially if your hire has never worked remotely before.


  • Set expectations regarding online hours and availability

  • Provide guidance on email, chat, and meeting etiquette

  • Explain norms when it comes to response times and video usage

  • Share practices for calendar management

Clarify roles and personnel

New hires want to know what tasks they should be working on, with whom they'll be working, and what ‌exactly they’ll have to do. Clearly delineating to them their responsibilities versus what their colleagues handle will reduce any confusion.

Set expectations around response times, meeting cadences, and availability, too. For instance, employees who work in the US will likely start their workdays much later than those in Europe. If your hire will be working closely with people in different time zones, they need to know how this will work.


  • Outline regional vs centralized responsibilities

  • Set expectations for response times and meetings, and add them to your handbook and welcome emails

  • Identify key regional contacts and stakeholders

Promote your company’s culture

For remote workers, the nuances of your company’s culture — like unwritten rules, inside jokes, and workplace rituals — can be harder to pick up. Ensure that your hire is filled in from the start.


  • Email new hires an employee handbook explaining the company’s culture, values, and work environment

  • Explain any company terminology, acronyms, or traditions

  • Send remote workers company swag, like shirts with slogans or value statements

    Look beyond the first day

    Remote personnel have less environmental assistance and natural touchpoints than in-office employees. That’s why their onboarding requires a more structured approach, with more frequent check-ins.

    For example, remote workers miss out on organic learning opportunities from overhearing conversations or impromptu peer mentoring in an office. A structured onboarding journey compensates for that.


  • Establish 30-, 60-, and 90-day milestones and performance goals that empower new hires to take ownership of their own development paths

  • Schedule check-ins on progress and any barriers new hires need to overcome

  • Provide training on any new skills new hires need for the role, such as product knowledge

  • Have new employees connect with a mentor on acclimating, strengths, and development areas

  • Regularly conduct engagement and onboarding satisfaction surveys

Leverage data

It can be harder to pick up on nonverbal cues and sentiments without in-person interaction. As such, knowing whether onboarding resources are resonating with remote staff is difficult. Plus, remote managers may be more prone to making incorrect assumptions without data. Data can provide helpful insights and reduce the need for guesswork.  


  • Send weekly polls on experience, challenges, and needs

  • Use learning management systems (LMSs) to track training completion rates

  • Assess the time needed for new hires to be fully productive in their roles

  • Gather feedback on new hires’ preferred communication methods

Data fills the visibility gaps inherent in remote work, helping to ensure your new hire onboarding process meets the needs of new hires you don’t see face-to-face.

Why is the employment onboarding process so important?

A personalized and thought-out onboarding process can help your new employee feel like they belong in many ways.

But a successful process is about more than a welcome pack or some branded swag. An effective onboarding program can:

  • Foster meaningful work relationships that enhance engagement

  • Create strong cultural sentiments in new employees and help them feel more aligned with your business objectives

  • Allow new employees to connect with your mission and vision and encourage them to take the initiative rather than just follow orders.

Onboard remote hires with Remote 

One way to ensure a consistent, positive onboarding experience is to work with a proven, global HR partner, like Remote.

We take care of all the administrative elements of the onboarding process, and our self-serve platform enables your team members to access and submit everything they need quickly and easily. This allows you to focus on integrating your hire into your company’s culture, and ensure that they hit the ground running.
To learn more about how we can simplify the onboarding process — and manage and pay your team — speak to one of our friendly experts today.