Give Your Remote Leadership Onboarding Geared Towards Success

Onboarding a new manager remotely demands meticulous planning and a strategic approach to ensure a smooth and successful transition. Remote work is a relatively new challenge in our world of business. The emergence of remote work and the need for remote onboarding took hold in everyone’s favorite year, 2020, with the onset of the pandemic.

In May 2020, a poll was taken of companies’ current onboarding practices.

“Of the 125 who responded, 75% said that their organizations were still onboarding leaders, albeit many (45%) at a lower rate than before the crisis. However, only 17% indicated that their organizations had developed systems for onboarding new leaders into remote-work environments.” – Harvard Business Review- Onboarding a New Leader Remotely

In 2023 we can all hope that more than 17% of us have adapted somewhat to systems that involve a remote workforce. In this new frontier, businesses have successfully embraced remote hybrid positions. In many ways, this is a great transition, but it can present problems when it comes to onboarding, especially for onboarding leaders.

When onboarding remote employees having a structured solution is pivotal to success, but even more so when new leaders are inheriting remote teams and remote projects. The next time a remote executive or manager makes the team, we encourage you to understand and implement these 6 onboarding tips.


remote employees vector illustration

1. Set Crystal Clear Expectations

Clarity is the cornerstone of a successful remote onboarding process. New managers must swiftly grasp how to create value in their roles, particularly during times of crisis. Thus, it is imperative to communicate expectations explicitly from the outset. Clearly define their responsibilities, objectives, and key performance indicators, setting the stage for their immediate impact.

The importance of clarity and expectations cannot be understated in ANY position, but especially one of a leader. It is wise to have weekly touchpoints for the first 45-60 days of employment.

2. A Structured Learning Process

The remote setting demands a more robust approach to the learning process. Rather than overwhelming new managers with an upfront “document dump,” carefully curate the information they receive. Provide essential resources such as organizational charts, financial reports, project documentation, and crisis response plans in a structured and digestible manner. This enables them to assimilate information efficiently and contribute effectively to the organization’s goals.

In the process of giving all the necessary information to the position, this is a good time to give your new hire information about shared accounts, documents, and the team’s current ways of organization. (There is nothing worse than not knowing a password and having to track down the associated phone number or email address.)

3. Strengthen Stakeholder Engagement

Remote onboarding necessitates building a strong stakeholder engagement plan. Facilitate connections with key individuals across departments, ensuring the new manager gains a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s inner workings. Consider establishing mentorship relationships with peers or individuals possessing a holistic view of the company, proving invaluable resources to the new leader. Encourage face-to-face remote calls by requiring your team members to be on video. Using a chat program such as Microsoft Teams is another way to make remote employees feel connected.

close up of man's hands typing on a desk at home

4. Virtual Onboarding Buddy

Assigning a virtual onboarding buddy can significantly ease the transition. This individual should not be part of the new leader’s chain of command but rather a peer or knowledgeable colleague who can provide “big picture” insights. The onboarding buddy serves as a guide, offering support, answering questions, and fostering a sense of camaraderie in the remote work environment.

5. Foster Virtual Team-Building

Virtual team-building is vital for new managers integrating into remote teams. Implement an assimilation process that encourages team bonding and collaboration. Facilitate virtual team-building exercises, interactive sessions, and opportunities for social interaction to establish strong team dynamics even from a distance.

6. The Impact of Coaching

Consider enlisting the support of a transition coach for the new manager. Given the current crisis-driven circumstances, the role of coaches becomes even more significant. These coaches can provide personalized guidance and assistance, helping the new hire acclimate faster to their role and the organization’s unique challenges.


Successful Remote Onboarding Starts with a Plan

“As a remote employee in a different time zone from my team, I was worried that I would feel disconnected, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Much of that is contributed to my onboarding. It’s a strange feeling when you “go to your first day of work” without leaving the house. My team made onboarding a breeze. I was given a written schedule for the first week. I onboarded with Francine, whom I’d now consider a friend. She helped me get all my programs in order, all the logins I needed, and was a great resource to me.

While Francine was assigned as my onboarding buddy, team members also stepped in to help and made themselves available. Megan was great at using teams and made casual reach outs, similar to the way new team members would stop by your desk if you were in the office.

The reality is, remote work is the future. It saves on expenses, emissions, and wasting time. It also provides a unique opportunity for work-life balance, unlike anything we’ve seen before. When embraced, remote work can be even more productive than being in the office, but it starts at the very beginning of employment.” – Ellie LaPosha

Successfully onboarding a new manager remotely requires a well-thought-out and proactive approach. By being clear about expectations, offering structured learning, fostering stakeholder engagement, providing a virtual onboarding buddy, facilitating virtual team-building, and considering coaching, organizations can set their new leaders up for success, even amidst challenging times. Embrace these steps to ensure a seamless and impactful onboarding experience for your remote managers.

Ellie LaPosha

Ellie LaPosha

Marketing Manager

Meet Ellie, our esteemed team member who joined Merito Group in March 2023. With a background as the Marketing Director of a local wedding venue in Missouri, Ellie brings a wealth of experience in marketing strategy and execution. Prior to that, she honed her skills by working with small businesses, focusing on small business website design and brand development. Today, Ellie leads our dedicated marketing team, driving our clients’ success through user experience and digital marketing expertise. Her passion for creating impactful campaigns and delivering exceptional results makes her an invaluable asset to our organization.