Onboarding remote leaders


The market has undergone a shift from predominantly office-based businesses to entire workforces operating remotely, which has meant change on a grand scale for many in senior management. Some of these changes have included (but were not limited to): how to get all levels of employees working effectively in a new way and environment; how to instal or utilise existing technology to facilitate widespread remote working; how to manage and motivate employees remotely; and even how to onboard remotely. 

Onboarding remote leaders successfully is crucial to upholding business standards and morale, which puts additional pressure on what can already be a fraught process. In the first instance, you need to have the confidence to make key decisions without meeting face to face – this is why many businesses have opted for interim managers during this time, alleviating much of the pressure to get the ‘perfect’ fit – but whether your leaders are joining on a permanent or an interim basis the challenge of onboarding remotely remains. It is as important as always, however, to ensure this runs smoothly.  

Achieving this will require open channels of communication, excellent IT support and ways of introducing the new employees to other people and other aspects of the business – a challenge without physical introductions. It will also mean striking the right balance between ensuring the interim manager has the necessary support and visibility while maintaining their level of autonomy and evidence of your trust in them. Potential pitfalls in the process should be assessed prior to onboarding executives, with defined strategies to overcome them. 


Why do you need remote onboarding for interim managers? 

Although the last few months brought many unexpected complications and challenges that are likely to continue into the months to come, interim managers are well-positioned to adapt to challenging circumstances and are comfortable being ‘thrown in the deep end’ as they’re often deployed during periods of change or uncertainty. This makes them highly adaptable and able to work effectively under pressure. 

If you are looking to onboard interim managers for your leadership team, ensuring the process runs smoothly enhances the chance of greater stability within your organisation, and therefore better business results. 

4 Tips to  successful onboarding: 


  • Define approval process 
  • Set clear timeframes 
  • Encourage your permanent staff to be supportive and collaborative 
  • Appoint a senior sponsor 


Onboarding process steps: 


Offer your interim manager as much information about processes and expectations at the outset, this will reduce the amount of time they need to check in with various stakeholders. This also minimises the chances of mistakes being made and allows you to make adjustments to processes or systems quickly before they cause a roadblock further down the line.  


Whilst interim managers are very good at corralling team members often across different departments, or even between businesses in a merger or acquisition, it is still a good idea for senior management to encourage open lines of communication between your team and your interim. Your colleagues may feel hesitant about reaching out to an interim in a leadership position, so it’s a good idea to create a space for formal introductions via video calls or meetings and to encourage any and all queries to be conducted to the interim overseeing the project. This will help your interim manager quickly feel out the remote resources and support they have for the project. 

Finally, while interim managers are typically senior executives and are used to working autonomously with set expectations and deliverables, providing a senior sponsor, who can help push initiatives through the executive and/or provide guidance on navigating the intricacies and politics will not only enable a successful engagement, but will most likely result in the project completing more smoothly, on time and in budget, which only benefits the business on the whole.  


Oakwood Resources can help to accelerate your business requirements by sourcing interim managers who are assessed based on their skills and experience, and who can work alongside you to deliver successful outcomes for your business operational needs.  


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