How to onboard remote employees successfully

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Is the prospect of onboarding employees remotely in the midst of the current crisis detracting you from hiring? Well, it doesn’t have to.

Hiring the right employees can help move your organisation forward both now and when life resumes a sense of normality. Quality SAP & complementary technology talent is one of the most valuable assets for a business and it is worth going the extra mile now to help drive success in the future.

Of course, current lockdowns and remote working set ups mean you need to adapt your onboarding process and go virtual. Luckily, with the right tech, virtual onboarding can be a seamless process. You just need to consider how to do it in a way your new employee feels supported and looked after.

Follow our steps for effective virtual onboarding.

1. Get set up

Signing documents electronically has numerous advantages, such as an ability to keep copies of signed contracts on a secure system. It’s no surprise online electronic signature software was becoming more and more prevalent even before Coronavirus. In this new age of working, using such software is key for effective onboarding. Use software such as DocuSign to enable your new teammates to sign contracts and other important documents securely.

Providing the right kit for effective working has never been easier. Companies across the globe have quickly adapted using courier services or social distanced collection and even mobile apps to distribute all the necessary equipment smoothly and without fail.

When asked about how going virtual has impacted onboarding in our client organisations, RED’s Practice Manager Russ Pitzner has said, ‘It does mean we need to ask a few more questions up front vis a vis use of personal laptops, software provisioning, etc. but overall it’s been easier to get people started, in my experience thus far.’ He’s also highlighted that with no need to be on-site, start dates have become a lot more flexible when onboarding virtually.

Ensure you provide your new employees easy access to company files and the accounts needed in their role. Using cloud-based file sharing is the way to go for working remotely and on-site so it is technology worth investing in.

There are several great hacks for effective remote working you can advise your new starter about, one of the most efficient ones being setting up a home office. If they do not have adequate equipment for a working space at home, do your best to help them assemble the necessary kit. It will have a direct impact on their morale and productivity.

2. Keep up the excitement

Starting a role remotely can feel intimidating because of the lack of in-person human interaction in the process. It is therefore important to go the extra mile in making sure your new team member feels welcome and excited to join the company.

Send them a friendly welcome video with you and your team expressing that you’re looking forward to working together. Introduce the team as well as the senior management team they will be working with. Keep the message light-hearted and upbeat so your new team member feels like they have joined a positive and supportive environment.

If the start date is not immediate, there can be a level of uncertainty about starting somewhere new remotely because it is the new normal that will take time to get used to. In these cases, ensure you check in regularly with your new hire so they have their start date clearly in sight and they know what to expect.

3. Adapt your induction process

With today’s technologies, even induction processes can be effectively adapted from on-site to remote. All you need is to utilise visual media and communications software.

Invest in producing engaging videos to introduce your company. Video is one of the most effective forms of communication so making use of it can make your training process much easier. Collaborate with your HR and internal training team to come up with visual content that will engage your new hires.

With communications technologies like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, training is no longer exclusively an on-site activity. Use virtual meeting rooms to connect new starters to training conductors and use screen sharing for effective workshops. It can be useful to include a course on how to work from home productively into the training process so your new starter can hit the ground running.

4. Provide the necessary support

Joining a brand-new role remotely can be a challenge for a lot of professionals. They might find the prospect of finding their feet on their own to be daunting, which is why providing them with the necessary support is the most important thing. Ensure new joiners know that you or their managers are there for them all the way from the get-go, and they can reach out at any time.

One-to-one check ins are the most effective way to ensure your new hires are being given the necessary personal attention they need to settle in smoothly. Schedule regular catch ups to get feedback on the training, and always offer additional support, if needed.

5. Work on virtual team bonding

Teamwork is the key ingredient to company success so building rapport between your new starters and the team should play an important part in the onboarding process. How do you ensure team bonding when meeting in-person is not an option?

Setting up a virtual ‘lunch’ could be a great way for team members to get comfortable with each other personally which could help achieve the best results professionally. Try a few ice breakers to help the team engage and learn about each other from the ground-up.


This new way of onboarding new SAP professionals is bringing up real opportunities for organisations to reconsider their onboarding processes and revive them. We believe that once organisations get back to normal office working, onboarding processes may not go back to exactly how they were before.

Visit our blog page for more valuable business and career advice and SAP industry insight. 

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