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Onboarding for remote companies

Created by Will Ceolin
Created on Apr 29, 20 - Updated on May 29, 20

Onboarding is a challenge for every company but remote ones might find it even more difficult than traditional organizations.

Onboarding is different than a traditional orientation. It's a continuous process rather than a singular event. It helps with employee retention, on becoming more productive quickly, reducing the natural anxiety of joining a new company, and it sets expectations about what the new hire's life is going to be.

This process is important because 87% of employees are less likely to leave the company when they feel engaged and it increases productivity by 54%.

Ron Carucci argues a company needs to work on three key dimensions when onboarding new people: the organizational, the technical, and the social.

Organizational Onboarding

Carucci defines two main factors on the organizational dimension: and .

By teaching them how things work, you'll show your organization's processes. Remote companies usually have a handbook containing all the answers to those questions (see some examples).

It works as a single source of truth, a place where anyone can go when they have a question. By redirecting them to the company's handbook, you're also teaching them to be self-sufficient and proactive when looking for answers.

Technical onboarding

Carucci defines two main factors on the technical dimension: and :

Just because someone is hired for their capabilities and experiences, doesn’t mean they know how to deploy them at your company.

While your company's handbook helps in the organizational space, using that knowledge is part of the technical onboarding. Make sure your handbook can set the expectations about each role you have in your company and it provides what tools are available to your employees.

Setting up early wins is equally important. You can do so by giving new employees clear short-term goals. GitLab has an onboarding issue template that has tasks to be completed each day.

Social onboarding

During the social onboarding, Carucci talks about the importance of building a sense of community. According to a recent research, 40% of adults feel lonely. So, building relationships in a new company is very important.

Make sure you have channels for informal communication, where people can share random things like memes, music, movies, and interesting links.

Some companies also assign an onboarding buddy: someone to help the new hire understand how things work in the organization. It's going to be the first point of contact when the new employee has a question.


Do you have other tips about onboarding people remotely? Please, update this page to share them.