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How to Run the New Hire Onboarding Process Remotely?

12 minutes read

Since 2005, the number of people working remotely has increased by 159%. And, this number is only going to increase further in the coming years. With such a large population moving to remote work, companies are making a shift to remotely onboarding their new employees.

An effective onboarding process is crucial for both regular and remote employees. It helps in improving employee retention and workforce efficiency. But how can you ensure that your new employees are properly onboarded and trained while operating remotely?

Luckily, with internet and modern tech tools, we can run the onboarding process remotely. And, make it as effective as a regular onboarding process. All you need here is a perfect remote onboarding plan and we have got you covered with that.

Below is a fully remote new hire onboarding plan. This plan explains how to do your onboarding activities virtually– including training sessions, discussion panels, assessments, contests, etc. Check it out:

Remote Onboarding Plan

Virtual Pre-boarding

There is not much difference between a remote pre-boarding process and a normal pre-boarding process as pre-boarding is usually done remotely.

Definition of Pre-boarding: Pre-boarding is a process of engaging with your new hires between the time they accept your offer and their first day.

The pre-boarding process is even more crucial for the remote employees as it helps in making them comfortable in communicating remotely with everyone in the company. It also helps you to get through many tedious onboarding processes quickly. Here is a checklist to follow to pre-board your remote employees

One Month Before the Start Date
  • Send an email congratulating and welcoming them to their new company.
  • The next step is to finish the documentation virtually. Have your employees submit all the necessary documents in your company app/website. Use tools like ‘electronic signature’ in order to procure their signatures. This will help you to keep everything organized digitally.
  • Then, have your current employees interact with your new hires via LinkedIn, phone call or video call.
  • Introduce your new employees to your company’s culture. Share the pictures of your annual events, team parties, fun activities, team trips and many more. Also, if possible share some inspirational stories of your employees who have done a great job in the past and made an impact in your organization.
  • Share publicly available information about your company with your new hires. This includes market information, compliances, and policies, competitor information, etc.
  • Encourage your managers to check-in on them regularly to see if they need any help. Also, ask them to patiently address any questions or concerns that they might have.
  • Provide relevant details and encourage your new hires to connect with the subject matter experts from various departments in your company. They could connect over email, WhatsApp, phone call or video call. This will enable the new hires (especially the freshers) to understand the role and contributions of various departments in your company’s success.
One week before the Start Date
  • Equip the new hire with laptops, ipads and any other IT equipment that they need to start their work. Ask your IT department to arrange for home delivery of this equipment to your new hires’ homes.

    Pro Tip: - In case you need to order new equipment for the new hires, make sure that you order them well in advance. Because, due to the current crisis all the ecommerce companies are taking longer than usual to deliver the products. Ensures that your new hires receive their equipment one week before the start date.

  • Send the detailed schedule of their first day (when to login, when does the induction sessions start, what to expect etc,)
  • Share the contact details of the IT staff so that the new hires can reach out in case they have any trouble with the IT equipment they have been provided
  • Share the contact information of the HR department who can address any questions that the new hires might have before their start date
One day before the Start Date
  • One day before the day one, call all your new hires to ask and confirm if they have got their IT equipment. Also, make sure that they have access to all the apps and platforms that they will need to get started.
  • Have the head of the department record a video welcoming the new hires and send it to them.

Virtual First Day

On the morning of day one, send a welcome feed to all the new hires. Along with it, send an invitation to join the video conference. Now, conduct your first-day induction program through this video conference. Greet each one personally and learn a little about each one of them. Then introduce them to the company, company culture and share customer success stories. Next, introduce them to the training plan that you will be following for the next 90 days.

Tip: - If you have the budget, sponsor food and beverages for them on the day. Gift them your company’s merch (Tshirts, coffee mugs, bags, etc.,). Know your new hires' food and gift preferences and get them all delivered to their respective homes.

90 Days Virtual Training Plan

Here’s a 90 days virtual training plan for your remote employees.

2-30 (Learn)

Purpose: The first month should be about getting your new hires started on the right foot. They should emerge from this month with a thorough knowledge of the products, pricing, competition, and existing collateral.

Here is how to achieve that:

  • Virtual Training sessions: Conduct virtual training sessions and webinars in the place of classroom training. Leverage live video calls, voice calls, and other tools to conduct these sessions. Make a schedule for this and have the trainers and the trainees collaborate for these virtual training sessions.

  • Regular reinforcements: The first month of training is extremely crucial in the new hire training as the employees will be exposed to a lot of new and crucial information. So, just the training sessions alone are not enough. This training should be supplemented with regular reinforcements of whatever they have learned in the virtual training sessions.

    Adopt a digital training platform to do this. It helps in breaking down the complex and lengthy training content into bite-sized information. You can then deliver this micro-content to your new hires at regular intervals through an app. This makes the training content easily digestible. It also gives your reps access to crucial information whenever and wherever they need. You can also conduct quizzes through the app to help them recall crucial information.

Learn How you can use SmartWinnr to virtually train your employees. SmartFeeds, Quizzes, Survey, and SmartPaths help your employees to learn just by using their smartphones.

  • Virtual discussion panel: Use a virtual discussion panel where your new hires can post any doubts/queries that they might have. These questions will then be answered or discussed by their seniors or peers. This makes collaboration easy when they are remotely learning.

  • Buddy up: Buddy up your new hires with some of your existing employees who are very experienced and talented. Each new hire can be paired up with a buddy. Now the primary responsibility of these buddies is to assist the new hires with their learning and work during the 3 months of the onboarding.

    Buddies should always be available to assist the new hires. And, they should offer their knowledge, guidance, advice and encouragement regarding the day-to-day work aspects.

    The buddies and new hires can connect with each other over video calls, phone calls, WhatsApp or in your company’s chat room. This facilitates a peer-to-peer learning environment which makes it easy for the new hires to find their feet in their new job.

Pro Tip: - Select the buddy from your experienced employees, based on:

  • Demonstrates strong performance
  • Is ready to be available to assist the new hires
  • Is skilled and has great knowledge
  • Has patience, good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Can be a role model for the new hires
  • Is a good coach
  • Assessment of Theoretical knowledge: At the end of 30 days, conduct an online assessment for your remote employees. This helps you to gauge how effective their first-month training was and how ready they are to enter the second level of training.

    Set a threshold score that they have to achieve in the assessment to go into the next phase of training. People who fail to achieve this score should be given another chance to prepare again and re-attempt the test. You can send them just-in-time learning content during this time to help them prepare for the assessment and get through it.


Purpose: Month #2’s focus should be on putting month #1’s learnings into action. This is the time to build practical knowledge around the rep’s theoretical knowledge. Expectations should be reasonable, depending on your new hire’s level of experience.

Plan: Here is the virtual training plan for this phase of training:

  • Virtual Practice Sessions: Conduct virtual practice sessions like– virtual role-plays and mock demos to expand your reps’ company/product knowledge and selling skills. Make your reps pitch a product, give a demo or act out a sales conversation with a certain prospect.

    Use a digital training platform to do this virtually. Leverage video coaching and ask your reps to record a video articulating a certain sales scenario and upload it. The trainers or managers can then review this video and provide their feedback. This instantly helps the reps to rectify their mistakes and improve their performance. This provides a safe environment for them to practice and prepare for the real sales world.

Learn How to run automated and virtual sales coaching sessions using SmartWinnr.

  • Assessment of Practical Knowledge: Similar to the previous month, test your reps’ preparedness for the next level of training at the end of this month. Assess their practical/articulation skills by giving them some sales tasks to finish. These tasks should focus on developing their strategic planning and implementation.

Pro-Tip: - Give a combination of a mock sales task and a real sales task. Make sure that the real sales task is very basic and simple for the new reps. This will give them a good start to begin their job. This will also help you to get a better understanding of their practical skills and how prepared they are for the next phase where they have to interact with the actual customers.

Here are example tasks that you can use:

Real Sales Task: Call up two existing customers in your territory and learn about their pain points and what they like about the product.

Deliverable / Measurement of Success: A documented report talking about

  • The pain points of the customers and how do you think we can solve them

  • What all do they love about the product

  • Any other crucial findings.

  • Resources: The customer marketing and account management teams can help you connect with the customers

Mock Sales Task: Customer says that your pricing is too high when compared to the competitor XYZ who is offering the same services. Record a video showing how you would handle this objection.

Deliverables/ Measurement of Success: Your performance will be measured against the below KPIs:

  • Confidence

  • Body language

  • Clarity in explaining and highlighting the product features

  • Positive approach to handling objections

Resources: Best practices to overcome objections, Competitor analysis, Product and features playbook.

60-90 (Do)

Purpose: The third month should be all about seeing your new sales reps springing into action. Goals should start to get more aggressive. Each rep should be reasonably armed for success at this point. This is the correct time to give the new hires some real-world sales exposure by making them connect with your customers and partners.

Plan: Here is the virtual training plan for this phase:

  • The real sales world exposure: While exposing your new reps to the real sales world, it is important that you leave their hand little by little and turn them into independent sellers slowly.

    So, assign your top-performing senior sales reps as mentors for your new sales reps. Now, these senior reps have to assist the new reps with their job until they get comfortable with handling everything independently.

    For example, if the new sales rep is connected with a client over a phone call or video call then have her mentor also join the call. Now, if the new hire gets stuck somewhere or is unable to handle a difficult situation then her mentor can jump in and take over the conversation. This way new hires will get an opportunity to know and work closely with their seniors. And, they will also be able to learn from the best.

  • Gamified Assessment of sales performance: Assessments are necessary to qualify your new reps from this phase of training as well. Gamify these assessments to make them interesting for your reps. Here is how to do that:

    • Create multiple tasks for the reps which they can do remotely. Set some targets for each task. Now the new reps’ performance will be measured against these targets/KPIs. And, they should understand that they will be judged on outcomes as much as thinking and process.
    • Gamifying the process of achieving these targets by conducting virtual competitions around each task. Measure the performance of each rep in these competitions and see who performs exceptionally well.

      Track the progress of the competition on a live leaderboard. This leaderboard should be easily accessible to you and your reps from a smartphone. The reps who successfully meet or exceed the targets will win the competitions. These winners should then be recognized and rewarded with cash bonuses and other prizes.

Learn How SmartWinnr helps in running sales contests virtually

Here is an example task that you can use in this phase:

Task #1: Reach out to 5 new contacts via phone or video call, converting 50% of them into the next stage of the buyer’s journey.

Deliverable / Measurement of Success: Number of new opportunities created in the pipeline.

Resources: The territory account executive can help you to make new connections.

Looking for some exciting sales contest ideas for your onboarding?

Read: 5 Sales Contests for your Next Sales Onboarding Process

Searching for a gamified sales training plan?

30 60 90 Days Gamified Sales Training Plan

Looking for strategies to make your new hires productive very quickly?

5 Strategies to Reduce Ramp-up Time for Your New Sales Recruits

Want to know how sales enablement helps to drive the new hire onboarding successfully?

How can sales enablement help to drive new hire onboarding?

Want to know how you can partner with your HR to streamline your onboarding process?

Read: How to partner with HR to streamline your onboarding process?

Customer Success Story: Poly

Learn how Poly runs its new hire sales training program successfully through SmartWinnr

Looking for a sales gamification software that will run a gamified new hire onboarding program?

Explore SmartWinnr’s Learning and Gamification features and learn how to run a gamified new hire sales onboarding program that’s repeatable, and takes only 10 min of your time. Curious to learn more about it? Book a demo today!

Published on Tue Apr 7 2020

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