Sales onboarding in a remote world: 10 steps for success


The demand for flexibility in where and how people work is increasing. Before COVID-19, 80% of employees wanted to work from home at least some of the time. Over a third would take a pay cut in exchange for the option. 

The experience of working at home during the crisis hasn’t been ideal for all, but it has given people a taste of what could be. The likelihood is that businesses will need to cater to a remote workforce and, with this in mind, we want to discuss steps on how to onboard sales teams successfully in a remote world. 

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the process where new employees are introduced to an organization. They may learn social and performance aspects of their job to help them understand their position, the company and their job requirements. Often onboarding will include company values, ethos and culture, employee expectations and behaviors so they can function effectively in an organization. 

What are the goals of onboarding?

  1. Setting clear expectations allows so employees to understand their role from the start.

  1. To ramp up new employees as quickly as possible in order for them to settle at work and start being productive.

  1. To create a positive and engaging experience that will carry over into their attitude and engagement at work. 

53% of HR professionals say that better onboarding creates engaged employees, which then carries over to their career within the company.

  1. Improving employee retention. Employee turnover is often highest in a new starter’s first 90 days. This can be attributed to poor onboarding and can cost organizations thousands of dollars.

  1. Promote a better company culture. New starters should feel valued, educated, and supported by the company.

Different approaches to onboarding remote workers

In the past, many sales teams had face-to-face interactions when onboarding their new starters. This would give them a good sense of company culture and meet people from their own and different departments. 

Since COVID-19, many salespeople have been based at home and organizations have had to adapt their onboarding with a remote experience.

When Jiminny onboarded a new remote team in summer 2020 we found that having frequent check-ins from a different member of the leadership team throughout the day helped them feel more connected. 

Find out more in this blog here

10 steps for onboarding success

  1. IT setup

Has their new computer arrived? Do they have all the tools they need to do the work? Do they have logins and passwords to start? Do they need help from someone in the company to get started? 

  1. Send a timetable of events

Sharing a plan or agenda for onboarding can reduce anxiety during the early days. Letting people know from the start expectations on what will be happening and when shows them you’ve worked hard to make sure they will be looked after. 

  1. Don’t schedule too many back-to-back video meetings

This can be exhausting and often information doesn’t sink in. Schedule frequent breaks and a range of tasks on and off-screen to get them started.

  1. Schedule a mix of 1-2-1s and group video meetings or calls

This can help people get to know each other and meet on a formal and informal basis. A group watercooler can break the ice for many and lift the mood. This can encourage confidence for a new person to open up and start being themselves. A small exercise with a member from another department can help them develop more knowledge about the company and its people.

  1. Create events that are non-work related

As you can’t go for lunch or a drink together after work. This will help engage and connect your employees. What about a virtual break-out room where you enjoy a takeout on the company at the same time? Or a virtual fitness class? Why not set a poll of a few options for your new colleagues to vote on?

  1. Record training sessions

When we have information overload it’s hard to remember everything important. Having a video call and playlist of onboarding sessions can allow people to review what they learned and not bombard others with too many questions.

  1. Create a place where the new group can ask questions

This could be via a Slack channel or another workgroup folder where all the information is stored in one place. This can be handy for future employees to look at too. Show them where to find a digital staff handbook.

  1. End the first day - first week - and end of onboarding on a high

Send a gift like company swag or make a company announcement acknowledging how hard the new employees are working or any milestones they have reached. Show how you’re excited about the value they will be adding to the organization. Make people feel connected and excited about their future.

  1. Ask for feedback

Ask each new remote employee to pay close attention to the process and tell you what worked and what didn’t in the form of an anonymous questionnaire. This will allow you to continuously improve the process for your future hires.

  1. What we’ve learned at Jiminny

Breaking the ice as early as possible is so important. We have a tradition of putting new starters in the hot seat so everyone can get to know them and letting them put the existing team in the hot seat at another watercooler meeting. This helps everyone get familiar with the company culture as well as their new teammates. 

Patience is a virtue with remote onboarding. With tools like Jiminny, it becomes a lot easier to ramp up new employees, but giving people time to settle and not bombarding them with meeting after meeting helps people get comfortable. 

For more information on how Jiminny can support your remote sales teams, visit our page here.