Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Challenges Of Onboarding Distant Staff

How to overcome the barriers to onboarding remote workers

Remote onboarding is stressful and exciting at the same time – for employers and employees alike. There are so many new things to discover compared to traditional personal onboarding. And for all of the steps technology has simplified the onboarding process, the lack of face-to-face interaction creates its own problems. Here are some of the main challenges you are likely to face when onboarding remote workers:

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Remote Onboarding Guide: How to greet your new employees remotely

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6 Top Challenges When Onboarding Remote Workers

1. Overcoming feelings of isolation among new remote employees

By definition, remote onboarding should make new employees feel welcome and valued. But how does one do it? Human interaction should still be a big part of welcoming a new employee on your team, even if it’s done through a screen – otherwise, employees will feel isolated and out of touch. To counteract this, you should consider assigning each new employee a “mentor”: one of your existing colleagues who can show them the ropes and be their contact person for the first few weeks or so.

2. Immediate access to technology and content

Things are simple with on-site onboarding. New employees come into the office on the first day and get access to everything from company email to confidential material that they need to read and sign. But what if the “office” is your own home? Use the time between your new employee’s acceptance of the offer and the first day to plan and ensure that everything is available on the first day. This means that you should send in all devices (e.g. a laptop) in good time. Ideally, your employees will receive these a few days in advance so that on the first day you can simply send them the setup instructions and passwords they need to access their company accounts.

On the content page, consider adding an invitation link to some parts of your guidance – the parts that obviously don’t contain sensitive information. This way, new hires can learn a little about your company’s values ​​and team members so they feel prepared. In our employee onboarding ebook, we discuss everything you can and should do for your new remote hires before day one.

3. Personalization without sacrificing the sustainability of your virtual onboarding

Although each new remote hiring has different needs, you need to create a virtual onboarding process that is consistent and will work for all of your hires over the long term. One way to do this is to take a survey or fun quiz at the end of each onboarding session to see how that particular employee is feeling and if they need extra help with anything. This way, over time, you can understand which parts of your onboarding are working well and which are in need of tweaking.

4. Decide what to teach new employees and what they can learn on the job

How much information is too much information? When it comes to remote onboarding, you want to provide new hires with enough information and tools so that they have a roadmap and specific goals. But you don’t want to overwhelm them. Especially when working remotely, too many details and instructions can feel like micromanagement.

So make sure you create a step-by-step plan. For the first few days, focus on the basics such as company policies, product tours, etc. The technical details of everyday work are best saved for later when the real work begins.

5. Make sure that asynchronous communication does not lead to misunderstandings

When most of your team is working remotely, asynchronous communication is very often the norm. That’s not bad (as long as everyone knows what they have to deliver and deadlines for projects are met). Working remotely shouldn’t come with the added pressure of being “on” all the time just because your office is your home.

Current team members already know your communication standards and take them for granted. However, you have to make this clear to your new employees. For example: are WhatsApp messages about work okay? How about calling private cell phone numbers? How soon are users expected to reply to Slack messages, Asana comments, or emails? By explaining your collaboration habits from the start, you manage expectations and ensure that your asynchronous communication does not turn into a communication failure.

6. Smooth transition from onboarding to training

Even the best remote onboarding program in the world will bring your company little in the long term if it is not followed by employee training. To make the transition from one to the other smoother, use your LMS platform for both. Also, consider adding micro-learning sessions to your onboarding training. In this way, new employees can get a feeling for how and where their training takes place – but not be overwhelmed.


There are several challenges with remote onboarding. On the practical side, you need to provide timely access to tools and content. On the human side, you need to teach new hires the basics of your business without overwhelming them. Assigning a mentor helps. During remote onboarding, you also need to set expectations for the appearance of communications and employee training. In the long run, you need to strike the right balance between personalization and consistency when onboarding your employees.

Download the e-book Remote Onboarding Guide: How To Welcome Your New Hires Even From Afar. It even comes with a handy onboarding checklist that will help you lay out all of the essential elements for long-term success.

eBook publication: TalentLMS


Easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to like, TalentLMS is designed to get a “yes” from everyone including C-level executives, budget officers, and busy employees. Instead of checking out, your entire organization is now leaning towards training.

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