Remote onboarding is becoming the new normal, and if your company doesn’t adapt to the new work environment, your company will be left behind.

What is Remote Onboarding?

Remote onboarding is the process of assimilating a new employee into the company and teaching them corporate policies but doing so over technology, whether that be video, phone, or chat.

Remote Onboarding and Modern Workforces

A remote workforce is a norm in many industries and job markets rather than the exception. More people work from home than ever before. Many enterprises are learning that supporting a remote workforce, once the right technical infrastructure is in place, can be cost-effective and responsive to modern challenges.

The challenges that arise from such a workforce, however, come in a few critical areas:

  • Paperwork: Employers must obtain specific employee documentation, including tax forms, waivers, and identification documents. In person, this isn’t a problem, but remote document exchange and verification can prove difficult in many cases.
  • Training: Employees often undergo on-site training with a mentor they shadow throughout the day. With a remote workforce, making sure your people have the right hands-on training can be tricky.
  • Resources: Outside of hiring paperwork, employees should have the resources they need to do their job, such as documents, records, or tools. They should have access to these resources when they start.

By far, remote onboarding ranks as one of the most challenging aspects of modern business. According to a survey from Sapling HR, employees must complete, on average, 54 onboarding activities.

These tasks involve critical document exchanges and administrative tasks, tasks that count toward areas like tax and compliance reporting, payroll and HR documentation, and just basic training for the job.

Furthermore, these tasks will often pertain to security: creating identities for cloud platforms and HR services, signing up for MFA, and onboarding on to any compliant security measures, like identity proofing or document verification.

With that said, it’s critical for enterprises to make remote onboarding easy and effective so that security and efficiency are maintained at every step.

Remote Onboarding and Security

Perhaps the most critical part of the onboarding process is worker identification, verification, and security onboarding.

The details of this fact may change depending on the company or industry, but generally speaking, employers are required to confirm worker eligibility and tax documentation. On top of that, any additional security or compliance requirements will invariably include additional authentication steps.

To support remote onboarding, several technologies can come into play:

  • Document and Identity Verification: An employer expects to have several documents completed during onboarding, including proof of eligibility to work. This includes several steps of identification and verification—prospects that can prove difficult in remote settings. That’s where automated documents and identity verification come into play.

These technologies can help you ensure that a contractor or full-time employee provides accurate and truthful documentation, whether it’s in the form of a driver’s license, passport, or social security card.

Furthermore, these technologies can help enterprises with specific security needs verify identity through images, video chats, and other verification methods.

Finally, self-serve onboarding helps you scale the process without devoting more work hours and technology to it.

  • Authentication Onboarding: Remote workers will need to access company resources—which means that authentication is critical. HR or the IT department will onboard employees into a multi-factor authentication system by providing credentials, but it’s up to the employee to set up one-time passwords or biometrics from wherever they are at.
  • Liveness Testing and Identity Proofing: Spear and whale phishing are more and more common, with many cases stemming from poor identity authentication of contractors. Liveness testing can force users to authenticate alongside video confirmation of their presence, while identity proofing can leverage documents and other artifacts to ensure that whoever accesses system resources is who they say they are.

These technologies all refer to specific challenges related to fraud, misidentification, and noncompliance—all of which can be addressed with the right tools and practices.

What Are Some Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees?

Even with the right technologies, it’s critical for an enterprise to practice strong, secure onboarding for all remote workers and contractors. These practices complement secure technology to provide an organization easy onboarding and to protect company resources.

Some best practices include the following:

  • Allow Self-Service Onboarding: Depending on your platform, self-service onboarding may be an option. This can include using mobile devices to perform identity proofing and liveness tests, scanning documents for automatic identity verification, and streamlining authentication credential setup.

With a streamlined onboarding process, you remove the chances that information is lost during communication or that workers will use substandard practices due to the difficulty of the process.

Furthermore, as onboarding technologies improve, verification’s effectiveness, security, and accuracy will just make the process easier.

  • Assign Dedicated Staff to Onboard: If workers are currently in the onboarding process, ensure that you have a dedicated person assigned to help them. This includes answering questions, directing information to the right people, and ensuring that workers always send information where it should go.

This goes beyond orienting the employee. It helps minimize confusion in setting up critical functions like technology and services and avoids problems that IT would otherwise have to dedicate time to deal with.

  • Create Easy-to-Follow Task Lists and Expectations: A simple and effective onboarding task list could live in your project management tool. Give access to this list to workers and allow them to work on the items as they will, check items they complete, and communicate via comments or direct messages to streamline the process.
  • Create Community: Remote work can be isolating, and onboarding often serves as the primary way that workers get to know their colleagues. Even if you use remote, self-serve onboarding tools, make sure to create open spaces of communication for new workers through remote events and interactive activities. This can help make those workers feel invited and welcome and reduce levels of isolation that can come from the nature of remote employment.

Streamline Remote Onboarding with 1Kosmos

At the heart of onboarding is verification and security, which doesn’t change when workers are remote. Employees must be able to set up secure credentials from wherever they are for a host of services, and employers must have the ability to verify the identities and documentation of those workers.

1Kosmos provides a distributed, streamlined, and secure platform to support remote employee onboarding. With advanced self-serve features to ease administrative workloads, you can make onboarding easy for both the employee and your organization. Furthermore, with security standards meeting NIST 800-63-3, IAL2, and FIDO2 certifications, you can guarantee the identity of the worker, the authenticity of their documents, and the security and compliance of your system.

1Kosmos includes the following features:

  • Identity Proofing: BlockID verifies identity anywhere, anytime and on any device with over 99% accuracy.
  • Identity-Based Authentication Orchestration: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through credential triangulation and identity verification.
  • Cloud-Native Architecture: Flexible and scalable cloud architecture makes it simple to build applications using our standard API and SDK.
  • Privacy by Design: Embedding privacy into the design of our ecosystem is a core principle of 1Kosmos. We protect personally identifiable information in a distributed identity architecture and the encrypted data is only accessible by the user. 

To learn more about 1Kosmos’s remote onboarding capabilities, read up on BlockID Remote Access support. Additionally, register for our upcoming webinar, “After Lapsus$, How to protect your SSO from vendor and contractor compromise.

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Meet the Author

Javed Shah

Former Senior Vice President Of Product Management

Javed has spent his entire twenty year career designing and building blockchain and identity management solutions. He has led large customer facing pre-sales teams, led product management for identity management platforms like the ForgeRock Identity Platform and the ForgeRock Identity Cloud. Javed has an MBA from UC Berkeley.