Ultimate Remote Employee Onboarding Checklist Template

After a long hiring process, you want the new hire to take charge. Only issue? They don’t know where to begin. That’s where a comprehensive onboarding process comes into the picture. 

Many business owners make the mistake of throwing new employees into the deep end and seeing if they can swim. But this sink-or-swim attitude comes with high risk and little reward. For instance, they might second-guess every decision they make.   

If you want a smooth transition that sets them up for success, stick around because we will share our remote employee onboarding template. By the end of the article, you’ll be able to map out the first few weeks and months of your new hire’s experience. 🗺️

For this guide, we’ll use SmartSuite (👈 affiliate link).

Take notes with the video or the checklist below!

Brief Tour of SmartSuite’s Onboarding Template (02:07)

Before reviewing our onboarding employee checklist, let’s explore a pre-built template you can use and customize in SmartSuite (👈 affiliate link).

After signing into your account, search for the Employee On/Off Boarding template. Once it loads, you’ll see two notable areas: 

➡ Task areas for your admin and new hires.
➡ Database, aka a library, featuring details like your HR handbook, mission, values, and more. 

💡 Pro tip: Digitize your onboarding process with a PM tool so you don’t lose track of vital information. Discover the benefits of upgrading to a digital system here!

Resource Library houses relevant information, such as customer avatars, org charts, and brand guides. All of which you can share with new team members and update over time. 📚

On the right-hand side of the employee onboarding table, you’ll find Linked Records, which connects tasks to your data. It acts as a bridge between databases, so new hires can see everything they need in one centralized place. 

Each task includes the following fields:

    • Task name
    • Detailed description
    • Related resources

📝 Quick note: You can update the Resource Library across databases and avoid duplicate data entry. Yay!

If there are too many fields for your taste, you can modify what people see or
don’t see with the permissions feature.  

How to Onboard a New Employee (09:42)

Prepare to break out your notebooks because it’s time to review our official onboarding process. 

⚠️Warning: Our onboarding employee checklist is long but thorough. Take your time, and feel free to add any helpful steps to your current system.⚠️

  1. Complete a virtual office tour: A staff member can meet with the new hire and show a video walkthrough of your software.

  2. Learn how to track time: It may be in your PM tool or a separate time-tracking app, like Toggl.

  3. Review calendar invites for upcoming meetings: Ask your new staff member to RSVP to virtual meetings.

  4. Bookmark the onboarding template for future reference. 🔖

  5. Read the team handbook: This step allows them to understand your work culture, values, expectations, and protocols.

  6. Upload a profile photo. 📸

  7. Meet the onboarding buddy: Introduce them to another team player who can give them the lay of the land. They’ll act as peer support for check-ins and questions.

  8. Meet the manager: Provide the manager’s information and prompt the new employee to reach out. 

📝 Side note: Onboarding doesn’t happen overnight. Create a schedule with clear milestones to stay on top of their progress.

9. Update last name to reflect the company: We have every staff member set their last name to the business’ name. For example, it would be “William at [insert business name here]” instead of “William Shakespeare.”

Learn about the team: Instruct them to read about the staff from the employee directory. Eventually, they’ll meet everyone, but until then, it’s a great way to get familiar with the crew.  

Provide the IP address: If you’re using Google Analytics to track leads, it’s helpful to distinguish between your team and prospects. Find out where your new employee reports from.

Read the company’s mission, vision, and values. 💭

Review the sales page.

Learn about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Encourage them to review their KPIs and explain how they relate to their role(s).

Explore the communication style guide: Communicating can be confusing, especially on a remote team. Do you email, Slack, or leave a comment in the PM tool? Clarify any confusion by describing the best ways to reach the team.  


💡 The why: The goal of a step-by-step onboarding process is to be proactive. Skip the “just figure it out” attitude and inspire your new employees to learn your business like the back of their hands. 

16. Complete a CliftonStrengths Assessment:
This personality assessment gives you an overview of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses so you can incorporate their skillset without any guesswork. 

Get familiar with Missive (or your main email tool): Missive is a team inbox app that makes it easy for staff members to collaborate. We typically train new hires on how to use it. If you want to learn more about Missive, check out this video! 📧 

Fill out the professional profile: Humanize the work environment by asking them questions. For instance: 

    • Who’s your favorite person? 
    • When are you most productive? 
    • How do you prefer to communicate?
    • Do you have any pets?

19. Learn how “idea tasks” work in the organization:
We break down our approach to ideas we want to do vs tasks we must complete. Consider teaching this approach within the first 30 days so new team members can prioritize their responsibilities.


📢 Course shoutout: If you want to incorporate this method (and so much more!) into your business structure, be sure to sign up for our signature program, ProcessDriven Foundations™!

20. Study the CARS method: CARS stands for context, attempts, request, and stakes. In addition to your communication style guide, dive into the most efficient ways to communicate remotely. Watch this video for more details about this framework.     

21. Review the decision-making policy: We know people are scared to make mistakes at work, especially when they’re new. But, we promote autonomous decisions to encourage everyone to be more independent. 

Look over the written and visual brand guides. 🔍

Take the business courses (if you offer any): Beyond your employee training course, request new employees to go through your online programs. For instance, we have every team member study ProcessDriven’s How To SmartSuite, which teaches participants how to use SmartSuite within a few hours. 

Set a work schedule. 📅

Review the role flowchart: Provide a business hierarchy visual so everyone knows who to report to. We share our org charts in this post

Learn about email frameworks: Help new staff members nail the business’ tone in every email they write by providing email templates. Store them in a shared digital folder for easy access.

Watch a video on Radical Candor: Radical Candor (👈 affiliate link!)  is a framework that focuses on clear and honest communication. Like the CARS approach, we introduce various methods to improve our communication styles.

Subscribe to the Gusto calendar (or your designated payroll platform): Once new hires integrate with the Gusto calendar, they can see everyone’s time off, paydays, and holidays. 


🔔 Mini reminder: This checklist is a remote employee onboarding template. You can modify it to support a hybrid or in-person workplace.   

29. Watch our review tutorials: Consider recording virtual meetings and quarterly reviews to give newcomers an inside scoop of the company. 

30. Learn how to write SOPs: Teaching new hires how to develop steps in a process will save you lots of time in the long term. 

Request time off: Ask them to submit time off for upcoming vacations so you can plan accordingly. 

Take a newly branded photo and add it to related accounts. 📷

Learn about dependencies: Order of operations is crucial for many projects. The sooner they master it, the better they’ll be able to navigate workflows. 

Review customer avatars. 🧑 

Add teammates to the Google calendar: This step makes it easier to schedule virtual meetings with everyone.

Watch our training, The Blueprint: It outlines our approach, philosophy, and more. If you want to learn how to build systems visually, click here to watch this free training.

Explore any remaining references: Provide access to your Resource Library for additional resources. 

Enroll in ProcessDriven Foundations™: To piggyback off the business course point, we have new employees study our signature program to show them how we operate. 😎

39. Offer 30, 60, and 90-day reviews: Schedule routine check-ins to assess their progress and results.


🎉 Congratulations! You made it to the end of the onboarding employee checklist. Take a quick breather before reviewing the related admin tasks below.  

Admin Onboarding Tasks (28:42)

Many of the following points are directly connected to the new hire’s to-do list, so there *shouldn’t* be any surprises. Let’s dive in!

  1. Adjust permissions: Update permissions to ensure the employee onboarding template is only available for the new worker.
  2. Reassign routine obligations: Assign work routines to the new employee to give them a glimpse of their daily workload.

  3. Customize the onboarding employee checklist: Review and tweak bullet points according to the role.

  4. Create a photo folder for profile images. 📁
  5. Give them access to SmartSuite (or your PM software of choice).

  6. Create a 1:1 dashboard for the new hire: This digital workspace is for time tracking, payroll, essential resources, and additional reporting.

  7. Update existing calendar events to include new staff member.

  8. Have all existing workers subscribe to the new hire’s calendar.

  9. Request employees to update their last name with your company’s name: For example, Jennifer at [insert business name here].   

  10. Provide access to all software and team apps.

  11. Add the new hire to the website. You can learn more about our crew (and pets!) on our About page. 🐶   

  12. Purchase the CliftonStrengths Assessment: Add the personality results to your project management software.

  13. Review time tracking with new employee.

  14. Update meeting agendas.

  15. Revise the team org chart to include the new hire.

  16. Order swag and mail it. 👕

  17. Post an announcement to the team to introduce the new recruit.

  18. Set up performance reviews through Gusto (or your designated HR software).

  19. Create a branded profile picture of the new hire.

  20. Assign key metrics: This step relates to updating the new employee’s tasks.

  21. Schedule onboarding calls: The meetings may include welcome calls, 1:1 check-ins, onboarding chats, and tours of your software. 


Create Your Remote Employee Onboarding Template

The onboarding process is like an intensive learning boot camp. When you provide a comprehensive roadmap to guide your new hires, they will: 

🧠 Know what they’re doing
🧠 Understand why they’re doing it
🧠 Be able to contribute to meaningful work sooner rather than later    

Feel free to save our checklist for inspiration and update it as your business evolves. 

Did you find this onboarding guide helpful? Great, then you’ll also appreciate our new program, Indie Ops Network™, where we share our favorite processes and tips for fixing them with our community! 

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