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Remote Onboarding: Engaging your new hire from wherever they’re working

January 18, 2021

Even before companies were working from home, onboarding staff successfully was a challenge, now it’s even trickier to get right.
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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If you’ve got staff joining your company remotely, it can be difficult to see how they’re adjusting to their new role. If it’s a new employees’ first ever job – the stakes are probably higher still; the experience they’ll have now is how they’ll gauge their transition into entering the world of work for the rest of their lives. Don’t be in any doubt; taking on new staff is a big deal.

And yet, depressingly, much of the data suggests that when it comes to the crucial job onboarding new staff – that is getting them engaged, and encouraging them to feel welcome in your place of work – firms either don’t do it at all, or the experience they give is a poor one. However, when you’re working remotely the onboarding process has to be even better.


According to a survey by CareerBuilder, only 37% of organisations actually have a structured onboarding process in the first place, but even when they do have one, other data suggests it’s pretty uninspiring [Gallup finds just 12% of employees believe their organisation has done a great job onboarding them].  

Additionally, it’s already proven that one in three people will quit a new job within the first three months of them joining – with having ‘a bad incidence’ (from 34%) one of the top three reasons to have driven them away. These eye opening statics make for difficult reading, however all is not lost.

In fact, recruiters really do have a golden window to secure the emotional buy-in of staff, and onboarding them properly is the answer. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employee turnover can be as much as 50% in the first 18 months of employment, but just by having better onboarding, they can dramatically improve this. As research by Glassdoor reveals, a great employee onboarding experience can not only improve employee retention by as much as 82%, but productivity can leap by 70% too.

Turning things on its head, a negative onboarding experience can make new hires two-times more likely to look for other opportunities – which rather dramatically reveals that while not having onboarding at all is a risk, having it but doing a bad job of it could be just as bad.


The best companies now understand that joining a new company doesn’t start from day one, but that it occurs much earlier in the process – actually in the run-up to them starting a new role.

It’s in the weeks before they turn up to their new workspace, that new people most crave information about the culture of the company they will be joining. They want to know who they will be working with, and what information they might need to know in advance. It’s a great idea to also be able to email new starters before their first day, pointing your new recruits to videos they can watch, web-chats they can join, to engage with people directly or even just read up on company policies and request any pre-approved annual leave.

The crucial point however, is that for those who take it seriously, none of their onboarding will be left to chance. They’ll most likely have an onboarding platform which can streamline the entire process for them, using automation to set up a process for the entire company – with a selection of communications and virtual event invites they can send, or a programme of asset-distribution (such as sending out the staff manual etc.)

The whole point is, onboarding needs to be seen as just as strategic as recruiting. Why waste losing the talent you’ve worked so hard to get by failing as this very first hurdle?

Why leave it there?

Our Onboarding module is available as part of our Appogee HR Success package

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