Tips to pimp your new employee experience, remotely

By now, many companies have a process in place to manage their remote onboarding.

Eighteen months after the initial shockwaves of the pandemic sent us into our first lockdown, employers and employees alike have come to terms with the fact that it may be weeks, or even months before they meet their colleagues in a face-to-face environment, and the new employee experience has adapted accordingly; we shoot out a couple of messaged on Slack, send out a group email, and introduce the new recruit to the team on a Zoom call.

But remember the days when we were able to welcome new team members with a team breakfast or a bit of bunting on their desk? It’s hard to recreate those warm, fuzzy, first-day feels for new employees when they’re starting a new job from their living room. And when 1 in 5 employees leave a company within their first 6 weeks, it’s important to get employee engagement right from the second your new hire signs their contract.

So, how do you make new hires feel welcome when their introduction to their new work environment is done entirely from behind a screen? We reached out to the ATC community to get some ideas on how companies can make their remote onboarding process special for new hires.  

Here are some tips from teams that are going that one step extra when it comes to welcoming new employees remotely.

Xplor: Video games and Spotify playlists

Dean Whittingham
Dean Whittingham, Talent Acquisition Partner, Xplor

We feel at Xplor our onboarding has some special ingredients that help make our experience ever so tasty.

Once our candidate has signed their contract they are sent a welcome email, which includes a video from the CEO welcoming them to the company, an Xplor video game we custom built, access to Xplor’s Spotify Playlist, which we ask them to add 1 song to the list. We have such a diverse culture, which makes the song lists such a wonderful eclectic mix.

We book them on introduction sessions for their first week including a company overview, sessions with all the different teams so they can learn about our product and wider company as well as an open questions session with our CEO, Mark Woodland.

Most of the above is the science of onboarding, but the art of onboarding comes from the people in our Talent team. We keep in contact with the new employees before they start, to check they are set up for WFH. On their first day we check they are logged in to the systems. We introduce them on Slack on the morning of their first day, with some fun information about them, we check with them at the end of the day how it went, end of first week and month, double checking they have everything they need to do the job, are enjoying themselves and relieving any concerns they may have.

Xero: plenty of swag and a wfh allowance

Louise Joyce
Louise Joyce, Talent Experience Manager,  Xero

At Xero, one of our values is ‘human’, which remained true as we onboarded over 300 new Xeros remotely in Australia – close to a third of our workforce here! Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we welcomed our new teammates as normal as possible with remote first-day lunches, education sessions, and extra celebrations for our new starters that decked out in Xero swag on their first day!

We also provided New Starter kits, contactless laptop delivery, a work from home allowance, shout out introductions on Slack, communities for our new Xeros to stay connected, and when the time was right: a warm welcome back to the office. One new Xero shared that they felt like they had someone sitting next to them on their first day, even though it was remote.

Xero provides cloud accounting to our customers, no matter where in the world they are and the same is true for our employees. The transition from in-person to remote (and back again!) was much easier because of our flexible and supportive teams.

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