Remote Onboarding - Tips & Tricks & Best Practices

Remote Onboarding session can be stressful and difficult — especially if you're not used to it.

In Grand Parade we all loved the first day of each month when we had a chance to greet new colleagues with a welcome gift pack in hand. Surprisingly, day by day, we had to turn everything upside down and quickly adapt to the new normal to make sure newcomers have the best possible onboarding experience.

We caught up with Marta Hajdasz - HR Business Partner in Grand Parade who took the challenge and created and implemented a smooth remote onboarding process. Read the article to hear top tips based on what we've learned so far!

Marta, could you tell us a little bit about your background and how did you end up in Grand Parade?

The thing I loved (and still do) is that people are the core of the business so I ‘fell’ into HR already during my studies. Finally, I completed Business Administration, Economics and Talent Management and have been involved in HR from the very beginning working in technology companies.

At some point I decided to raise the bar and join the most challenging environment – IT engineering world and it had proven to be the right choice for me.

Creating consistent employee experience is a key thing, so when I saw an advert for Engagement Manager to join HR Team in Grand Parade I wasn’t hesitating long.


Over the last three months, you've been coordinating the whole process of remote onboarding (more than 40 new colleagues) - never done before in our company. Do you remember the first one?

Sure, it was a new thing for everybody. A sudden need to adapt out pre-lockdown onboarding plan and create new solutions. Exciting, still stressful. I did coordinate the whole process, but it was truly a team effort to make sure we are ready to welcome 15 new colleagues fully remotely just 2 weeks after the lockdown has started. 


What is the most challenging about the remote onboarding comparing to the usual one?

Maintaining social while having limited social interactions - there’s something unique and special to be gained from face-to-face interaction. Replicating that is hard to do remotely.

Another thing is introducing new colleagues to company culture. If culture is represented by people behaviours when nobody’s looking, then it’s even harder when so many interactions are almost invisible.

The challenge is how to show the culture without possibility to invite them to the office and assure they gain both the official and non-official knowledge about what and how we are doing in GP/WH.

And reducing the feeling of isolation. On-site you could meet everybody in person, have a chat and drink coffee together. It’s not the same with a dozen faces on a video call muting and unmuting as they try not to talk over each other.

To put it simply it’s stressful enough to be new that’s why it’s so important to make sure we offer support and friendly messages between scheduled meetings.


What did surprise you or turn out to be completely different than you expected?

That it wasn’t that difficult as we thought. The commitment to provide an excellent experience was great, even as we were interacting through our screens. All involved: HR team, IT support, trainers, leadership, managers and teams supported each other to make sure our new colleagues feel expected and welcome.

Also, new colleagues were really understanding and supportive in given circumstances. And we acted quickly to ensure they will have nice first onboarding impressions.

What tips would you give to any company or manager that is about to onboard new colleagues?     

Start before they start - preboarding is just the same important. Focus on intentional communication, take the time to explain your actions along the way, never leave an email without a reply and be kind. Do not underestimate the importance of building relations and personal connections, even online ;)  They bring people together. Over-communicate ;) which means have a clear plan, virtual meetings and conversations with the whole team.

Remember, it’s all about getting your new hires comfortable and feeling like they belong with the team. Make sure they feel comfortable enough to start concentrating on doing great work.

In the end, think what else will make onboarding successful, enjoyable and more human. And Go the extra mile (or rather Go 1 Better :)).