How to onboard a new employee (from your home office)

Workplace inductions for new team members have been completely transformed thanks to coronavirus and the need to work from home. In part two of our remote work series, we take a look at how to welcome your newest team member from afar. 

The process of onboarding a new employee in a non-pandemic world can be pretty straightforward. 

But with office tours, big welcome morning teas, face-to-face relationship building and in-person training sessions all thrown out the window, organisations are now facing a whole new set of induction challenges.  

CARE Australia’s head of product development and marketing, Edward Murphy, is in the process of onboarding one new and one returning staff member, so we asked him for some tips.  

Online first, introductions second

Normally, an office tour and introducing your new employee to the whole team is first on the agenda, but Edward says that making sure they have access to all your remote working systems needs to be your number one priority. 

“If you get this bit right it will set you and them up so they can start the day off on the right foot,” he says.  

Here’s three things you can do to still make their first day a welcome one:  

  • Send an email around introducing your new member of staff
  • Host a special morning tea or drinks to welcome them 
  • Make sure they are added into all relevant Slack/Microsoft Teams channels and announce their arrival 

Don’t go too big 

If the last few months have proved anything, the possibilities of what you can do in a Zoom call are endless. But when it comes to onboarding a new staff member, think small, not big. 

“While large video chats are great for communicating pieces of information that everybody needs to understand, if you want to just get to know someone, it’s probably better to do that in smaller groups,” Edward explains. 

“We’ve been arranging video meetings in small groups with no more than three people at a time to help the new employee settle in.” 

Pencil it in  

Meeting all your new colleagues is intimidating in person, let alone over Zoom. 

That’s why it’s really important to set up meetings between your newest staff member and their colleagues to help them settle in and form those relationships. 

“Build up a bit of a timetable across the first week so that slowly, the new employee can meet everyone and start to build relationships,” he says.  

Talk it out 

Working alone and from home means that a quick ‘over the desk’ conversation you used to have to sort out a problem, isn’t happening.  

That’s why it’s really important that managers and other employees are available to answer any of those quick questions over online chat platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Google Chat, and everyone is clear on when they are available to respond. 

“It’s really important new staff know how to quickly contact their team mates or managers throughout the day to ask questions,” he says.

“Checking in in the mornings and checking out in the afternoons so that people know when their colleagues are actually online and offline to give them that sense that they’ve got someone to go to when they need it.”


And if you’re starting a new job from home, check out part one of our remote work series, where we sit down with Save the Children’s Angus Young for some tips on starting a new job from your home office. 

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