Remote vs Face-to-Face Onboarding (Part 2)

Continuing from my first blog and from my experience, I would like to highlight some key areas organisations can benefit from when conducting onboarding programmes face-to-face or remotely for their new joiners.

Employee retention:

Both styles of onboarding offer benefits in this respect. Remote onboarding can contribute to improved employee retention rates, primarily because it offers flexibility and work-life balance. Employees who have a positive remote onboarding experience and feel supported in their remote work setup are more likely to stay with the company long-term.

On the other hand, face-to-face onboarding can also enhance employee retention, as the interpersonal connections formed during in-person interactions can foster a sense of belonging and loyalty to the organisation.

After introducing our induction programme to one of our clients, they saw their attrition rate improve by 10%.


The first factor to consider is the nature of the role and the tasks involved. Some roles may require hands-on training, direct observation, or immediate in-person interactions. In such cases, face-to-face onboarding may be more effective in providing a comprehensive understanding of the job requirements and facilitating skills development.

Alternatively, remote onboarding can be equally effective for roles that primarily involve digital collaboration, independent work, or remote communication. Remote onboarding allows new hires to get accustomed to the digital tools and systems they’ll be working with, and it promotes self-reliance and problem-solving skills that are essential in remote work environments.

After a successful onboarding programme delivery, we saved our client 1350 hours through speed to competency and the handling of customer contacts by new hires.

Return on Investment (ROI):

Remote onboarding typically requires fewer resources and costs compared to face-to-face onboarding. With remote onboarding, companies can save on expenses such as office space, travel, accommodation, and in-person training materials. This can lead to significant cost savings, especially for businesses with distributed teams or those hiring talent from different geographical locations. So why should you bring your training back to the office? Face-to-face onboarding may offer unique benefits such as immediate hands-on training, direct observation, and in-person relationship building. It also provides the advantage of immediate candid interactions and real-time feedback. Being physically present in the office allows new hires to engage with colleagues, build relationships, and receive direct guidance, which can lead to a quicker integration into the team and potentially higher initial productivity levels.

When it comes to the ROI difference between remote and face-to-face onboarding, it’s important to consider the financial costs, productivity impact, and employee retention rates. Ultimately, the choice depends on the specific needs and goals of your business.

Results from an onboarding transformation delivered by Davies saw a cost saving of approximately £423,000. This was achieved through increased productivity and reduced training time and buddy costs.

Now, let’s not forget about face-to-face onboarding. When new hires are physically present, the advantage lies in the ability to work side by side with their colleagues. They can observe and learn from their peers, ask questions in real time, and quickly build relationships through in-person and spontaneous interactions.

On the other hand, remote onboarding allows for flexibility and the elimination of geographical barriers. It gives new hires the freedom to work from anywhere, and it enables companies to tap into a global talent pool. With the right tools and technologies, remote onboarding can be just as effective as face-to-face, if not more.

Regardless of the onboarding method, encourage continuous feedback and reflection. Provide new hires with regular opportunities to share their thoughts, experiences, and suggestions for improvement. Conduct surveys and feedback sessions, or even create online discussion forums where new employees can openly express their ideas and contribute to the growth of the team.

You might be asking yourself, is physical proximity essential when welcoming new hires?

The shift from face-to-face to remote onboarding implies a larger transformation in the way we work and connect. It challenges us to re-evaluate our assumptions and embrace the potential of technology to bridge geographical gaps, create inclusive environments, and reshape the future of work. It calls for a reimagining of traditional practices and a deeper understanding of how to leverage digital tools to build strong, engaged, and successful teams in a rapidly evolving world.

Reach out to my team and we will work together to power performance through your people.

Lee Russell

Consulting Director

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