Skip to main content

Do’s and Don’t’s of Onboarding for a Distributed Workforce

The excitement of a new job is akin to the first day of school and comes with a lot of the same hopes and expectations. But for many employees, starting work outside of a conventional office environment is a different world that can feel less welcoming and more isolating than they have ever experienced. Additionally, Gen Z and new graduates who have never known the office environment may not be set up for success without focused efforts to help provide them with the processes and platforms they need to get started in their new roles.

After the global pandemic, companies found themselves having to pivot their in-person onboarding experiences for new employees to support a remote or hybrid workforce and the importance of these efforts is paramount to the success of these new team members. Interestingly enough, up to 20 percent of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days, making a structured, valuable onboarding program critical for talent retention.

At Matillion, our people are our greatest asset and we want them to know we are invested in their success on Day 1. The competition for top talent is fierce across the globe. We created an Onboarding Academy to support each member of Team Green as soon as they enter our company. This five-day immersive experience is meant to showcase what it means to join the business, a deep dive into our six core values, provide an overview of IT and People Ops policies, introduce executives and department heads and, most importantly, give the newest members of Team Green everything they need to feel welcome.

Our first cohort in the Onboarding Academy graduated the week of April 25th and since then, we have welcomed a total of 124 people into Matillion with new joiners entering the business every two weeks. Here are some do’s and don’ts of onboarding that we learned along the way.


DON’T put everything in a slide deck

Part of what makes the Onboarding Academy so useful is the engagement and interaction that new team members experience. There are live games, meet and greets with executive team members, and opportunities for asynchronous learning through our courses on Udemy. The mix of live and self-paced sessions can help people learn at their own pace and use their time as they need. 


DO explain the importance of culture

If you want new employees to live your values on day 1, it’s important to explain the how and the why of those important company mantras. Explaining the importance of those values can help but you can go even further to demonstrate those values in action. Take the time to explain how those values work across different departments and at different levels to make them more resonant. 


DON’T hide access to business apps and benefits

The first week at a new job can be overwhelming with new platforms and software to learn and manage. It’s important to ensure that access to Slack, video communication platforms such as Zoom or Skype, and employee intranets are easy to access. Plus, in addition to work productivity, many organizations have invested in wellness programs to help employees develop in their personal lives. For example, we share all People Ops policies and procedures with new starters and arm them with the platforms they need to invest in themselves including Udemy, Blinkist, and Headspace. 


DO provide information on your company’s specific lexicon

Let’s face it, every company has its own way of talking. The use of acronyms, product code names, and references to customers and partners are often used in meetings and digital communications. Sharing your company’s terminology, product demos, partner organizations, and customer stories can help new employees get up to speed quickly and feel part of the team in their interactions with new coworkers. 


DO share the company vision for the future

People join a company for a variety of reasons. A new challenge, shorter commute, and better benefits could play a part in why someone accepted the role. Once they are in the door, you want to make sure they understand what the company wants to achieve and how they can play a part in that mission. For example, at Matillion we share our Vision – Strategy – Planning with every new joiner so they can see exactly where the company is headed and what it will take to make that happen. Getting buy-in at the very start helps employees understand, and even challenge, how their work plays a part in a larger story. 


DON’T forget to ask for feedback 

The best way to ensure that your onboarding process is serving its purpose is to simply ask for feedback. Whether anonymous or in a formal setting, feedback will help you learn which parts of the program need tweaking or what is really resonating with new employees. After a few cohorts successfully graduated from the Onboarding Academy, we managed to improve and iterate on our sessions. Plus, it never hurts seeing feedback like this:

“I feel like starting [at] a company like this has allowed me to start to build relationships in the various departments since we all are going to be going to different roles. Typically you learn about your immediate team and then departments and the rest of the company is a big black box. This is a great way to start!”


Are you looking to start your new chapter at a remote-friendly workplace? Browse our open roles at