Aquent Aquent

Checklist for on-boarding remote hires

by Lizzie Fajardo

Checklist for on-boarding remote hires

You’ve picked the perfect candidate, they’re keen to start right away. But you’re all confined to your homes. Our Amsterdam based Account Director Lizzie Fajardo shares her checklist for on-boarding your new hire - ensuring momentum and brand values are also held up at home.

I’ve just completed week 4 of social distancing and working from home at my kitchen table (a privilege I recognise and one I am not taking for granted). Hangovers from virtually socialising are worse than ever, I haven’t learnt a new life skill or language and I’ve discovered that I’m a pretty poor chess player. What I have noticed though through conversation with my customers, is that adapting to remote working is not new for many of their existing employees, nor is undertaking virtual meetings for them as managers – a nice reminder of the resilience and adaptability of people.

Whilst recruitment isn’t high on the agenda for a number of managers and businesses, for others they have now been thrown into the deep end of needing to hire quickly, up-skill these talents remotely and ensure that their brand values and culture are being upheld whilst work is being delivered at pace.

As an agency that has supported remote work and has done for years (over 1,000 of our talent work remotely each day) we ensure that our talent has the proper equipment and connections to be fully productive on your team. We have a certified secure operating environment that talent can use to continue making progress on your projects and we also work with talent that have only ever worked in a remote capacity – project and programme managers overseeing large global teams across different time zones combined with creatives that can step in on a project at any point and aid it’s delivery.

Yet, the questions I am asked are unsurprisingly not about hiring freelancers but questions around “how do I onboard a salaried fixed term contractor or permanent hire in these conditions?” or “culture, inclusion and diversity are at the heart of what we do – it is impossible to have someone start remotely”. My response back tends to be the same –

“what will the impact be to the team if you don't
make this hire and onboard them remotely?”

..and if the impact of not having them is greater than the fear of on-boarding, we can work through this together and give you the confidence that you can have a new employee feel connected and bring about success remotely.

Here’s my checklist of things to have in place to make sure your new hire is prepped for a strong start.

Tech Infrastructure

  • Use secure document platforms like Docusign or Moxis to share sensitive documentation that requires a signature
  • Have IT create email accounts, system access, laptop security checks all before the start date
  • Once the tech tools are ready to be couriered out to their house, don’t forget this is a nice engagement moment to include any company swag or a personal note about them joining the team
  • Ensure there is access given to your digital centralised portal for all business documentation such as a google drive or an accessible intranet
  • Make sure your tech for communication is agreed company wide - Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype for business, Slack and see if the new employee has used this before. If they haven’t used the platforms then ask them to do some reading on the tech / training before they start 


  • Sync with HR to ensure there are company culture decks available. Sharing material on your company values and beliefs will help showcase your expectations of them as an employee
  • Put together a 30, 60 and 90 training plan tailored to the individual’s job role - they will also be responsible in ensuring that this way of learning also works for them so having an early conversation with them is key – are they a visual learner, do they like reading material, interactive training etc
  • Schedule-in introductions to the whole team on the first day (the feeling of walking into the office & meeting the team can be just as interactive over Zoom) along with a recurring 1:1 video call with your direct report for the first 3 months  
  • Streamline & be realistic about the number of activities you expect them to deliver on- daily/weekly. Information sharing and engagement are certainly important but it’s vital to balance this against the employee’s personal motivations, learning behaviours, and professional development goals


  • Set standards, deliverables and expectations clearly, the way you would if they were in the office - particularly communication and expectations both internally and externally
  • Have a person and/or team dedicated to providing support via chat/IM, email, and calls during the first two weeks to answer any questions that may arise
  • Outline your comms platform stack helping new hires to understand where the dialogue happens...Whatsapp in an informal team chat, hangouts or slack for projects, internal dialogue should run through platform/content messaging platforms like google hangouts or Microsoft create a space that your new employee can ask questions for future success
  • Keep the meetings as focused, engaged, and productive as possible - add the agenda to the meeting invite so everyone knows the prep & the point of the meeting


Whatever you decide to do,
just make sure you’re providing
consistent support and connection


The reality is that if you have been able to on-board in the office in the past, then you will be able to do it remotely and probably even more successfully as we are forced to communicate more succinctly and more often. It can be as simple as setting up a primary contact who’s available from their first day, and introducing them to the team via a Hangouts call. It can be as complex as a three-month schedule of webinars, a weekly phone call with the CEO, a virtual reality headset, laptop, swag bag, and gift card to set up a home office. 

If you have been having difficulties on-boarding new talent or you have had successes with different methods than to those I have outlined, please do reach out to me & we can continue the conversation.

About Author

Lizzie Fajardo is an Account Director at Aquent in Amsterdam, sharing what she knows with the creative industry on how to attract, retain & engage the best talent for your team.

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