Build a Connected Remote Workplace with a People-First Onboarding Strategy

Kickstart your remote work dynamics with an onboarding plan centered on people, not just processes. This strategy sets the stage for a cohesive and collaborative remote work environment
7 min read | by Whitnee Payton
Welcome Block

Remote work has become the norm throughout the years. Though several pivotal events have reshaped our human resource practices, the onboarding process continues to be a key component that defines the employee experience. Shaping a smooth employee onboarding plan benefits small businesses in many ways. 

Picture this! A team member stepping into a remote workspace embarking on an adventure beyond tasks and reading handbooks. This article will help you explore onboarding tips and tricks that help create a people-centric remote onboarding plan. 

Join us on this exploration as we uncover the changing landscape of onboarding, highlighting the balance between processes and fostering authentic human connections. Discussing the good, the bad, and the best practices that can help sustain your onboarding process so that it may never reach an ‘ugly’ phase. 

Why Should Your Company Prioritize Remote Onboarding?

Gone are the days when a person should just figure it out – you should be intentional and directional with your new employees. In today’s remote work environment, onboarding is essential to ensure seamless integration of new hires into the company culture. As the nature of employment continues to embrace remote work, small businesses must adapt to stay competitive and attract top talent. Efficient standard operating procedures and an overall plan will allow new hires to feel as though they are set up for success. Prioritizing your onboarding plan allows small businesses to tap into a broader talent pool, reaching candidates beyond physical constraints. 

Not only is it important for one to prioritize onboarding, but it is also important to ensure that there is extensive effort put into your onboarding program. Extending your program beyond the traditional 90-day process and having an onboarding committee or welcome team is a great start. Onboarding goes beyond the data collection and i9 process. It should include multiple stakeholders - HR personnel, Hiring Managers, Onboarding Buddies, and Mentors to ensure that the new employee feels welcomed to the team and has a good sense of direction. 

Well then… What Does the Data Say? 

I know you are likely thinking, well - that is what you say, but what does the data say? Great question! There are many instances where long-term and efficient onboarding has been proven beneficial for an organization. In an article, from Harvard Business Review titled "A Guide to Onboarding New Hires- For First Time Managers," the author suggests that the focal points should be enhancing the employee experience, maintaining a balance, and ensuring consistency in remote employee onboarding. The article references findings from a survey within the industry, which revealed that 52% of remote small business employees feel inadequately trained after onboarding, leading to reduced productivity and low retention rates. Over 50% of employees who felt inadequately trained sought new jobs within one year. On the other hand, only 7% of employees who were properly trained sought to leave.  

In simple terms, without a people-centric onboarding process, new employees are proven to be less productive and are prone to leaving sooner. This is a juxtaposition to the results of sufficient onboarding that led to new hires staying in their jobs for longer periods of time and becoming high performers.  

Enhancing Remote Onboarding with the 4 C’s Framework

There are several different approaches you may take to enhance your onboarding process as a small business. There is a simple and popular method introduced by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), called the 4C’s, that you may refer to help build a framework. The goal of the 4 C concept is to uplift culture while streamlining remote onboarding. This is a concept developed by the SHRM Foundation to help upkeep culture and business goals while adding new people to a remote team.

  • Compliance ensures alignment with organizational standards laying the groundwork for seamless integration.
  • Clarity involves setting expectations and goals, reducing ambiguity, and enhancing job satisfaction.
  • Culture focuses on immersing team members in the company's values to cultivate a sense of belonging.
  • Connection underscores the importance of fostering relationships and networks within the organization to promote collaboration and mutual support.

A simple solution is to integrate the 4C module into your onboarding plan and extend the training to include your company policies, handbook, safety procedures, industry-specific training, and role training.


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How Can Small Businesses Enhance Remote Onboarding Beyond 90 Days?

It is important to go beyond the 30 – 60 – 90 day onboarding approach. ‘Why’ you may ask? It is because data proves that companies with a people-centric onboarding plan that goes beyond the traditional 90 day period have a higher retention rate with their staff. You may do this by adhering to the following best practices below:

  1. Regular Check-Ins – If you’ve ever heard the term “Drinking from a Fire Hose” you will know that it is often used when explaining a person’s new position. A regular check-in should be conducted to gain knowledge of how your new employee is doing.
  2. Assessing Employee Adaptation and Performance: Providing a “Check on learning” is helpful when onboarding a new employee. It may be helpful to provide quizzes or schedule a “teach back” session. 
  3. Remote Training and Development Opportunities: Provide on-the-job training to your new employees that extends beyond handing them an employee handbook. If through your check-ins and assessments, you find development opportunities, provide them.
  4. Consult with Blend Me regarding onboarding tips and content to help ensure a successful remote onboarding system for your company. Blend Me provides People Operations solutions for remote teams including Onboarding Strategy and Design, Inclusion and Diversity, Employee Research and Engagement, Internal Marketing and Communications.

In the journey of remote onboarding, sustaining connection and nurturing employees beyond the 90-day mark is pivotal for long-term success. Leveraging eLearning platforms to create courses can provide a seamless avenue for continuous onboarding and training. 

Sustaining Connection: Nurturing Employees Beyond the 90-Day Mark

In the world of remote onboarding,  the best vehicle to deliver onboarding and training would be to create courses or virtual modules. Companies should consider eLearning platforms to build course modules online that allow the end-user to complete their onboarding. An article titled “eLearning for Onboarding for the Remote Workforce,”  mentions that training typically takes 40% to 60% less employee time than learning in a traditional classroom setting. It allows an employee to leverage materials throughout their tenure, which makes them more productive, according to the study. This method offers a layer of transparency to leadership as it can become an effective metric to track as you scale. 

Continued Commitment: Nurturing Remote Talent For Long Term Success

In the age of remote work, it is essential for small businesses to prioritize effective onboarding. The 4C’s framework serves as a strategic guide in helping streamline and prioritize efforts. It is important for companies to also consider extending the onboarding process beyond 90 days. A great way to do so is to start by creating an onboarding committee and delivering suggested training through courses and modules while conducting a check on learning. Blend Me is a company that has focused on the remote employee experience since 2013 and can offer great solutions if needed to help you gain footing on your onboarding plan.

Originally Published by Whitnee Payton on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Updated on Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Human Resources Today
, Onboarding Strategy and Design
, Onboarding
, Pre-boarding
, Culture
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