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Understanding How Remote Onboarding Is Different From Offline Onboarding

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Organizations have been stepping towards a complete digital transformation of their systems and processes for the past few years. However, the year 2020, owing to the global pandemic, has revolutionized the functioning of an organization.

Organizations are investing profusely in the development of customized virtual onboarding tools, customer onboarding software, project management dashboards, document management systems, and learning management systems.

Effective onboarding acts as a gateway for the new joiners. It enables them to develop a sense of belongingness towards the organization from their initial days. With the introduction of new tools and technologies, the process of remote onboarding of new joiners has increasingly become popular. But how is it different from the offline onboarding process?

Offline Onboarding Process for new joiners 

Traditionally, the onboarding of employees was done in an offline mode. In simple words, it means that the new joiners would come to the office on their official joining date, where they would be welcomed by the HR professionals. The new joiners would bring a set of attested documents, usually proofs of their identity, and their professional and academic credentials.

Offline onboarding would include the following activities:

  • Completion and submission of duly signed onboarding documents and forms
  • Interactive sessions with the leadership team
  • Assignment of office equipment, tools, and software
  • Presentations on company policies and procedures
  • Feedback and surveys to analyze the experience of new joiners

Additionally, the orientation program would often include fun activities, an elaborate lunch, and socializing sessions.

Remote Onboarding Process for new joiners

The remote onboarding process is conceptually the same as offline onboarding in terms of the outcome. The goal is to make new joiners feel comfortable and welcome in the organization and to enable them to get to know their colleagues and leaders.

However, the primary differentiator of remote onboarding is the extensive use of tech tools, ranging from video conferencing, webinars, and e-learning to a virtual reality onboarding experience.

How is Remote Onboarding different from Offline Onboarding?

It is important to understand the difference between Remote Onboarding and Offline Onboarding so that the organizations can tailor the onboarding process according to their requirements.

1.      Document Management

As a mandate, employees are required to share copies of their personal information with the organization for official records. These are highly sensitive and confidential.

During offline onboarding, these documents are usually stored in filing cabinets that have restricted access. 

Alternatively, remote onboarding provisions a secure, cloud-based platform where the employees may upload soft copies of their duly filled documents and forms.

2.      Socialization

The onboarding process is driven by multiple interactive sessions between the new joiners and the organization’s leadership team, managers, and other employees.

Offline onboarding enables one-to-one personal interactions, which in turn help in developing professional bonds between the new joiners and their co-workers at an early stage.

Multiple video conferencing systems are used during remote onboarding to support the creation of personal connections between old employees/leaders of the organization, and new joiners.

3.      Financial Expenditures

For offline onboarding, the organization is required to make arrangements for food, travel, and accommodation of new joiners. It is also required to book a physical space to conduct the orientation program and arrange audio-visual equipment. A fair amount is also spent on printing forms, documents, pamphlets, and brochures.

For remote onboarding, the organization is required to invest in various tools, virtual platforms, and dashboards. The organization is also required to make arrangements to deliver the necessary official equipment to the remote locations of their new joiners.  


The desired result of both offline and remote onboarding processes are the same – to allow the new joiners to understand the vision, goals, and values of the organization, get to know their colleagues, and learn about the skills that they would need to exhibit to grow within the organization. 

However, both types of onboarding processes have their own merits and demerits. Weighing both their options carefully would help the organizations to develop a customized onboarding process that would suit the needs of both the organization and the new joiners.

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