Gamify Your Remote Employee Onboarding and Save Yourself A Headache

Jun 2, 2016 | Remote work

Your remote hire is ready to go; they’re eager to start their first day. They log in, jump into a call with you and… Promptly throw their expectations out the window when greeted with a stack of instructions and little enthusiasm from the team.

We all know how difficult it can be to properly onboard a remote employee. One little slip and you run the risk of leaving them isolated, reluctant to communicate or collaborate even when faced with a problem. At the same time, this puts you under a lot of stress as you need to take the time to ensure that they are properly integrated into the company culture.

So, how exactly can you successfully onboard your new hire whilst taking some of the strain off your back? In two words, onboarding gamification.

Admittedly, at this point the terms feels a little buzzword-y, but stick with me and I’ll show you how you can let your company culture fully onboard your remote employees for you. Well, almost completely.

Naturally Onboard Your Employees With Competitions


When you host a competition, it’s only natural that those taking part (and especially those in direct competition) will chat amongst themselves, even if they don’t necessarily know each other that well. This serves as a perfect environment for your new remote employee to form bonds with the rest of your team and become more comfortable in their working environment.

Think of it this way; one of the main goals of your employee onboarding process should be to get them introduced to the rest of your team and have them talk to each member. Doing this will ensure that the hire feels completely at home, and any reluctance to reach out to the rest of their team will be at the minimum.

Hosting a friendly competition achieves this perfectly. Whilst you need to make sure that it is indeed a friendly competition so as to not alienate them with a cutthroat sales contest, something casual can set the perfect tone to get your hire talking to the rest of the team.

For example, back at Process Street, we’re currently running two competitions; one to encourage casual work chat, and the other to strengthen individual relationships. The first is a light-hearted challenge to select the best worst old film you can find every week, with the choice rotating between team members. Not only does it give us all an excuse to indulge in films like Starship Troopers and The Beast Must Die, but the whole team comes together in a joyous celebration of cheese; employee culture 101, if you will.

The second is a Hearthstone tournament. We’re unashamedly geeky, and so a casual card game between departments was a great way to get everyone familiar with the rest of the company. Plus, playing Hearthstone and publicising the times in the company’s Slack channel allows everyone to spectate and chat to the combatants as they play – all with just a brief setup time on your part.

Obviously, this can be swapped out for your game (or activity) of your choice, but putting your employees head-to-head (again, without the cutthroat attitude) serves as a great way to break down the communication walls between departments.

Gamification Sets An Encouraging, Casual Tone


As previously stated, remote employees run the risk of becoming isolated from the rest of their team, not only because they are physically distant, but their own hesitance to be seen as a bother can crush their motivation to reach out.

Gamifying your onboarding automatically places them in a comfortable space and provides rewards for their interactions / progress. Whether you provide them a checklist of duties for their first day, or take advantage of your current tools to provide some instant positive feedback, allowing the new hire to see what they have achieved and have the satisfaction of ticking off their tasks can be a huge boon to their confidence.

Using our own onboarding process as an example, one of the first tasks any new remote hire has to go through is getting to grips with Slack. Not only does this handy IM allow you to introduce the hire to your teams and employees individually so as to avoid confusion, but they take advantage of gamification during the onboarding process for the tool itself.

Chatting to Slackbot to get started is another one of those vital casual tone-setters which allow the employee to set off on the right foot. By asking them for information rather than requiring a profile page to be setup, they naturally learn how to use the program and have already started communicating (albeit with a bot).

Another technique we employ to ensure that any new hire is met with a (sometimes literal) fanfare is to use Slack’s Giphy integration to roll the dice with a good old-fashioned “/giphy welcome”. From whales, to dogs, to Peter Stormare waving creepily, a random giphy from each team member is pretty much guaranteed to get a chuckle.

All in all, no matter what technique you employ, try adding a little spice by gamifying your remote employee onboarding process. Not only does it encourage communication with the rest of your employees from the get go, but it allows them to take some of the onboarding load off your shoulders in the best possible way.

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NoBorder Productions LLC

NoBorder Productions LLC

NoBorder Productions LLC
101 West Broadway, Suite 300
92101 CA, San Diego