Remote vs Face-to-Face Onboarding (Part 1)

As more companies adopt remote work or hybrid models, the onboarding process has undergone some significant transformations.

It’s no longer simply a case of presenting slides over an online platform. So, let’s explore some of the key differences and advantages of each approach, starting with the benefits to the learners.


When it comes to remote onboarding, one of the first things that stands out is the greater level of planning required. Since team members are not physically present, a well-thought-out plan becomes crucial to ensure a smooth onboarding experience. This means mapping out the process in detail, scheduling video calls, and setting clear expectations from day one.

With remote onboarding, it’s all about being granular in your planning. Breaking down the onboarding process into smaller, actionable steps can help new hires navigate their roles, responsibilities, and training materials more effectively.

Preparation is key, and this also includes testing any IT equipment beforehand to minimise technical interruptions.


Clear and consistent communication is paramount. Throughout the onboarding process, make sure to regularly communicate with new hires, providing them with all the information they need. Whether it’s through video calls, emails, or a dedicated communication platform, keep the lines of communication open and encourage questions and feedback. This will allow you to understand how the learners are feeling.


Signposting is vital for remote onboarding. When working remotely, interruptions are abundant and it’s easier to feel lost or disconnected. Providing a roadmap of expectations, timelines, and resources can help new hires navigate their new environment more smoothly.


Another key aspect of remote onboarding is being more conscious of introductions. When working face-to-face, it’s easier to naturally bump into people and introduce yourself. But in a remote setting, it’s crucial to make those introductions intentional and provide opportunities for new hires to connect with team members beyond their immediate department.

Networking and social engagement:

Networking and social engagement needs to be consciously built into the remote onboarding process. While face-to-face onboarding often naturally includes being part of a cohort and having spontaneous social interactions, remote onboarding requires deliberate efforts to create a sense of community. Online chats, icebreakers, and games; or even virtual coffee breaks, team-building activities or escape rooms can help new hires bond with their colleagues and feel part of the team, fostering connections despite the physical distance.


Establishing buddy or mentorship programmes can be incredibly valuable for remote onboarding. Pair new hires with experienced team members who can guide and support them through the initial stages. Encourage regular virtual mentorship sessions where they can discuss challenges, ask questions, and receive guidance tailored to their needs in a safe environment.

One of our clients reported that a new recruit, trained by Davies, received a 5-star customer review within days of starting their role.

Thinking about the aspects above will ensure your learners feel included and welcomed into the culture of your organisation, along with improving attrition and engagement rates. Look out for my next article where I will go into more detail about the advantages to your business of a successful onboarding programme.

Lee Russell

Consulting Director

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