5 Ways to Make Remote Onboarding Work for your Marketing Team

First published on Digital Donut June 2021.


I joined Armadillo in November of 2020, very much in the thick of pandemic stress and lockdowns. It was a strange experience starting a new job at such a time. Despite the fact it was an experience I shared with so many others, it felt incredibly lonely and daunting at times. New job nerves are bad enough without not being able to meet your colleagues or head into the office!

Remote onboarding is never going to be easy, but I was lucky enough to work for a company that worked hard to make it as positive an experience as possible. I cannot stress enough how difficult it feels to build relationships and connections with people you’ve never met in person. And yet I’ve absolutely loved my first six months at Armadillo because they did everything they could to make it work.

Here are five things you can do to make onboarding remotely a positive experience:

Keep Cameras On 

We’ve all experienced Zoom fatigue, and I completely understand that feeling, but it’s so important to ensure you have cameras on policy during work meetings. Being able to put faces to names was massive for me as a new starter. Video was pretty much the only contact I had with my new colleagues and so it was so important for human connection’s sake that I was able to see faces.

When I started at Armadillo, I had a lot of video meetings with various people across the business. It helped me understand each different aspect of the business better and how it worked as a whole. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet everyone and introduce myself to the team.

Encourage Questions 

In the office, it’s common to tap someone on the shoulder and ask a quick question or pick their brains at the coffee machine. It’s difficult and nerve-wracking to be new to the business and not be able to ask those questions or get that quick clarification. So, encourage questions! And if that means hopping on a quick call then go for it.

Create Online Social Events 

Informal time to build relationships with colleagues is just as important as formal meeting time. As a business, try to help facilitate this. At Armadillo, we have virtual fitness club on Thursdays. I was nervous and reluctant to get involved at first since I didn’t know anyone particularly well, but had such a lovely time when I joined in.

It was a great opportunity to meet people within the business that I wouldn’t get a chance to interact with on the day-to-day, and a unique activity to enjoy while stuck at home.

Consider a Coach 

Armadillo offers staff individual business coaching with the fantastic confidence coach Jo Emerson. This has been an absolutely brilliant resource and I wish I’d taken it up even sooner. Jo not only helps with personal challenges but really supports you in working on your approach to the workplace.

Initially, I didn’t want to book my sessions, telling myself I would do so when I’d settled in, but Jo has been paramount to that process and has helped me take initiative to embrace opportunities to engage with others in the business.

Buddy Up 

Though working from home can be lonely at times, especially when you’re starting a new job, remember that you aren’t alone. It’s worth looking into if there are any other new starters within the business, or if there is anyone who joined the team fairly recently.

Jo encouraged me to reach out to a member of the client services team and we had a regular weekly catch up together. Yes, we talked about work, but we also got to know each other on a more personal level. When we were allowed, we met up for a coffee and took a walk. I built a friendship with a colleague who understood the strange experience of joining remotely.

If You Can Meet in Person, it’s Really Worth Doing 

I was lucky enough to start at Armadillo during a brief break in lockdown, meaning I was able to spend some of my first days with Armadillo Innovation Director, Rob Pellow. We met in a coworking space, and he ran me through what I needed to know. That initial meeting eased me into the job role and allowed me to properly meet a member of the Armadillo team. It made all the difference to the onboarding process.

It might not always be possible given restrictions and lockdowns, but if you can, it’s definitely worth meeting at least one other person face to face during your first week or so at the business.


First published on Digital Donut June 2021.