Remote onboarding: How to make new recruits feel part of the team

Starting a new job can be an overwhelming time for any employee, with so much new stuff to get your head around from meeting new colleagues to processes and procedures. Now imagine all of this with the added pressure of a global pandemic, and not being able to meet your co-workers face-to-face. This sounds like a lot to deal with, right?

As an employer, you have a duty of care to employees whether they’ve been staff members for years or it’s their very first day. It’s essential to make them feel comfortable and ensure they have the right guidance to feel like part of the team. The induction or onboarding process is crucial in making a new hire feel welcome and cared for.

According to a survey carried out by the CIPD how new hires are treated in the first few days, weeks, and even months can influence their perception of you as an employer. A survey for the CIPD states that 85% of new hires decide on their future in a company within the first four months of employment. If you want to retain vital talent, it’s essential to get this right.

But it’s not just onboarding or induction processes that must be tweaked; it is an overall adaption of the HR strategy required to suit employees’ needs now and going forward into a post-pandemic era. Employers must go the extra mile to ensure that new staff members during the COVID-19 crisis get the same amount of attention if no more as those hired before remote working became the norm.

So how do you adapt to onboarding remotely, and how do we help new hires feel included? It’s one of the biggest challenges employers will face right now. Here are our tips.


Beef up the Welcome Packs

When new employees join, they need to feel welcome in the company, and one of the best ways of doing that is to surprise them with a gift and include a card signed by other team members.

A small welcome basket of appropriate items will go a long way towards making it feel like you’re celebrating their arrival; they’ll get the impression that you’re happy to have them join and that they’re a celebrated member of the team.


New Hire Lunches

Before the lockdown, a staple of most traditional induction processes was the new hire lunch, where the team goes out to lunch together. But since that’s not possible now, why not replace it using modern technology and book a virtual lunch?

Book a meeting with the team and buy your new employee and the team lunch of their choice and have it delivered. Everyone will get the chance to meet the employee, and you have scored a double whammy by making everyone feel included after all who doesn’t love a free lunch.

Have Regular Meetings

It’s not just feeling welcome that’s important, it’s also feeling useful and included! When starting a new job or changing your role, it can be tough to know what work should be done first or whether you’re meeting expectations.

In a pre-pandemic office environment, the new staff member could chat casually to their line manager. Still, this feeling of casual contact is not such an easy setup in a remote situation.

To make sure they’re getting the oversight they need at the start, consider booking more meetings between them and their point of contact than you would consider under normal circumstances. Hence, they get a chance to check-in, ask questions without worrying they’re bothering the team too much.


There is no Such Thing as Overcommunication.

Like with regular meetings, communication is critical. That can take many forms.

About the job specifics: give your new joiners an exact schedule of the onboarding process, and have their manager talk them through it, as well as cover what they’ll be doing in their first few days. Greater clarity will make them feel secure in their new role and will help better understand their position in the company.

Overcommunication also works with casual chats. Part of getting to know the business is talking informally with co-workers, which they might not get as much of a chance to do virtually. Encourage more discussions and send them messages just to chat, so they feel more comfortable talking to everyone.

Organise Virtual Social Events

Most companies host social events in the office, you might have already moved over to virtual social events now and again but now is the time to ramp up team socials to build on and maintain that strong team cohesion.

Before the recruit even starts, invite them to any events you have planned. It can make them feel like part of the team and the company before getting to grips with any work.

Above all, making your new employee feel welcome, comfortable, and settled is vital for keeping their morale up in this tough time and making them confident that they made the right call joining your company.

For more information and advice or practical online courses, visit

Josie Hastings Associates

. With more than 25 years’ experience in delivering training on recruitment and managing employees we can help you develop a welcoming and productive culture within your workplace

If you want to learn more about creating a respectful workplace culture, you can purchase my book.

It Stops Now’

on Amazon.

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