How to onboard new remote employees

This post is an excerpt from my book DISTRIBUTED.

Onboarding your new remote employee is crucial. Broken onboarding processes can lead to decreased employee retention. Here is a quick guide on how to do proper onboarding for new employees.


The first week should be chatting and not much actual work, more like training on what you do and how you do it. Get the new hire know the whole team, in and out. Let the newbie attend irrelevant meetings if needed even if he’s a developer, let him enter the marketing calls. Have proper screen time for him and the team – not just mic but video. It is important for your current team and also for the new hire to know each other’s faces and remind yourself you are still humans and people who are working together, even if someone is on the other side of the planet.


After the get-along-week, flood the new hires with at least 2 different projects to work on. This keeps them busy and also shows the type of work they have to do in the long-term. Also, I know it sounds common sense but the first week was your last call to finalize the paperwork and the contract with the new hires. Agree to the terms, the payment, the perks, and benefits if there’s any and sign. Stick to the terms – never be late with a payment, not even a day. Being late on a payment is truly demoralizing for in-office workers, but it is devastating on morale for distributed teams. It is an issue to leave a company if you are in-office and know everyone there personally. It is super easy to leave someone if you are online. Don’t be late, ever.


Some companies do a bootcamp for new hires. It’s not for everyone but if you have the option to invite the newcomer to your in-office or to a retreat location and let them meet the team personally then it’s great. Some companies who have a SaaS or any kind of service that needs customer service support, throw the trialing applicant into customer service first. A significant amount of their time should be spent on customer service to learn more about the product, the customers, and the main issues. This is done for everyone, even if you hire a marketing director who did customer service ticketing years ago or haven’t had the chance to do anyway before. Companies who do this, they don’t evaluate the work based on the sharp customer service the applicant provides but the way the applicant works.


Make sure the onboarding process is simple, straightforward, and transparent. You should also think about steps of the onboarding process to automate – as you will send and do the same process over and over, it can be easily automated to save time and energy from you. It also secures that every newcomer will be treated the same way.



At Anywhere Consulting, we help entrepreneurs to launch, build and grow their remote business. We provide support and consulting services as well as educational products to overcome the challenges of remote businesses. If you are a freelancer who wants to launch a distributed business or you already have an established business but want to grow remotely, we can help you.