Onboarding Global Freelancers And Full Time Remote Workers

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If you’re expanding your talent pool overseas and looking to hire global freelancers and employees, establishing a solid onboarding process is essential. 

Your remote workers have different needs from your in-house employees, and it’s critical that global hires are compliant with all necessary laws before they begin to work for you.

If your onboarding systems aren’t up to standard, you could risk expensive tax fines, potential legal problems, and the loss of your top performing overseas talent.

Here are our top tips for effectively and compliantly onboarding new remote employees and freelancers for your organization.

What Is Onboarding?

Onboarding relates to all the steps that your new hires go through before they start their first project with your organization.

This typically includes things like background checks, submitting tax details and bank account numbers, signing contracts and non-disclosure agreements, familiarizing themselves with your company, and reading through in-house documents such as brand guides and internal policies.

No matter what the onboarding process looks like for your specific business, developing a standardized system for your new global workers has a number of benefits. 

You’ll create a great first impression with your new hires, and your business can ensure that all compliance elements have been ticked off before any work begins.

It’s important that your remote workers can be onboarded smoothly and quickly, no matter where in the world they are.

Creating A Seamless Onboarding Experience

Successful onboarding for your new global hires means taking a holistic look at how you will include and integrate your international workers with your company.

You’ll need to think about:

  • How to create an initial experience that makes your new hires excited to work with your organization
  • How you will set and manage expectations
  • How you will communicate asynchronously across time zones
  • How you will give your global workers access to the resources they need without risk to your company’s IP assets
  • How to make your global hires feel like a welcome part of your team, even though they’re living in another part of the world

A Checklist For Onboarding Your Global Talent 

When you’re developing a standardized onboarding process, or setting up the technology to help you automate your onboarding, it’s important that you begin by documenting all the steps you currently take (plus the steps you should be taking…but might have overlooked!).

Having a centralized platform makes hiring and managing global employees a lot easier, and it means you can track each step of your onboarding process as it’s completed.

These are some of the checklist items you might include as you structure your onboarding workflow:

Before your global talent begins work:

  • Ensure your job offer is compliant with local and international protocols
  • Get all parties to digitally sign a contract that is compliant with their respective country’s laws, and your own
  • Collect all of their necessary employment, payment, and tax details
  • Have your global employees complete their basic details (or profiles) so you can store these in a central place and easily check their contact details, bank details, background, and work history when you need to
  • Create an onboarding guide to introduce new global hires to your company, and ensure they’re familiar with your internal policies
  • Ensure they have everything they need in terms of resources, equipment, or software to be successful in their new role

After your global workers have completed onboarding:

  • Ensure they have access to work emails, platforms, and communication tools
  • Introduce them to the rest of their team, key stakeholders, and main points of contact
  • Make time for a meet and greet event for each new global hire, or create weekly social check-ins that are fun and engaging for everyone
  • Ensure they have an open line of communication to ask for help at any time
  • Make regular times for manager feedback and check-ins.

A successful and memorable onboarding experience is one that’s both supportive and proactive for everyone involved. Take time to think about what that looks like for your specific company.

You could also survey your existing workers and ask them what they loved about your onboarding, and what they think needs improving – so you can hit the ground running with your new and improved onboarding process.

Standardizing The Key Parts Of Your Onboarding Process

Having a standardized onboarding process ensures that all the essential parts of hiring new global workers are taken care of, and that nothing accidentally gets overlooked.

The key elements of onboarding will look different for every organization, but here are some of the main onboarding aspects to think about before your new global employees and freelancers begin work.


No matter whether you’re working with employees or freelancers overseas, having a binding contract is critical as part of your onboarding.

You should ensure that you create and distribute contracts that are legally compliant and binding both locally, and in the country where each global worker lives, to ensure that both your talent and your organization are protected during the period that you work together.


Employment laws vary around the world, and are subject to frequent change. This could mean that you hire an employee or contractor under the current labor laws in their country, but a slight law change could mean your working arrangements become non-compliant further down the track. 

Having manual systems in place to check that you’re always compliant across the countries you hire global workers in can be costly and time consuming. Working with a technology partner like Worksuite can help streamline this process for you. This can give your organization peace of mind that your global talent pool remains compliant at all times.

Trial Periods

Most companies use trial periods as part of their onboarding process to ensure that both the employee and the company have found a good fit to work together on a long term basis.

When you’re working with international employees, you’ll need to create probation policies that are compliant with international laws.

You’ll also need to communicate clearly with your new overseas workers about what this trial period entails, what is expected of them during this time, and what will happen after the probation period ends.

Payment Of Invoices And Expenses

Managing global workers means creating systems that enable you to receive, approve, and process invoices, expenses, and payments at scale.

It will also mean you need to ensure that your international payments aren’t incurring huge international fees for your company, and that transfers get to where they’re supposed to without delays.

You’ll most likely be managing payments to many countries, with multiple different currencies. This can create a lot of extra work for your finance team to deal with.

If you’re beginning to expand your talent pool to include overseas workers, automating your payments can remove a lot of time and stress for your managers and accounts department. 

Solutions like Worksuite Pay allow you to pay individual invoices, or pay your workers at scale, no matter where they are in the world.

Check Ins And Feedback

Your remote workers need to feel like part of your team, even though they can’t make it into the office. 

During the onboarding period, it’s essential that you check in regularly with your new global hires to make them feel welcome and connected with your company. This applies to freelancers as well as employees.

Make sure they know who they can contact at your company if they have any queries or problems, and schedule regular times for checking in and giving and receiving feedback.

Having regular check-ins as part of your onboarding and long-term employment process can help your international workers feel less isolated. It can also build trust, increase retention, and help you to pinpoint any issues before they become a problem.

Paid And Unpaid Leave

Hiring overseas employees means you need to understand the rules for different countries around both paid and unpaid leave.

You’ll need to get legal advice about what your employees in other countries are entitled to in respect of vacations, sickness, compassionate leave, local or religious holidays, and other personal leave situations that might arise as you work together.

Performance Management

When you’re hiring freelancers or employees from overseas, putting a performance management process in place for your newly onboarded workers can help you keep track of your talent at every stage of their journey with your company.

It can also alert you to workers who may need a little more support and guidance, and assist you in case of matters that require disciplinary action.

Performance management, improvement, and disciplinary plans should be scrutinized to ensure they meet overseas standards – as well as local legal requirements.

HR Teams

Ensure your HR team has a good understanding of global HR standards and protocols, and that they’re meeting all the necessary international standards in terms of labor laws. 

Hiring overseas talent can involve a lot of paperwork for your HR department – so if you’re planning on hiring global talent at scale, investing in technology can help relieve some of this workload.

Having a good HR process is essential both during the onboarding and trial period (or orientation) of your new global hires. Items such as background checks, payroll matters, contracts, labor rights, privacy, discrimination, equal employment opportunities, and more need to be dealt with before work begins so that nothing important is overlooked.

For this reason, many companies who hire overseas look to solutions such as Employer of Record services to ensure that they remain compliant at every step of the onboarding process – and beyond.


A robust onboarding program can drastically increase the retention rates for your organization. 

Statistics have shown that:

  • Companies with a standardized onboarding process can expect 50% more productivity from their new hires
  • 69% of employees are likely to stay with an organization for three years if they have a great onboarding experience.

To ensure your company retains excellent international workers, it’s important to commit to their success during their time with your organization.

Make sure they have all the resources and help they need to do a great job and stay focused and connected – and think about creative ways you can make them feel like a valued part of your team on a day to day basis.

Offboarding Your Global Workers

Unfortunately, some of your global hires might not work out as well as you hoped. Offboarding (or termination) of your global workers needs to be thought about just as much as your onboarding process.

You’ll need to know your responsibilities when it comes to ending the working relationships with your overseas workers to ensure your business stays compliant and avoids any legal entanglements.

If termination arises as the result of an unforeseen circumstance, this can be difficult for an overseas employee, as they may not have a support network they can ask for help.

Ensure that your global workers have access to support during their offboarding if they need it.

Onboarding Your Global Freelancers and Employees With Worksuite

Partnering with a technology provider like Worksuite enables you to create and customize onboarding workflows that are specific to your organization’s needs.

Once the workflows are set up, your global workers can enjoy a smooth experience as they create their personal profiles, sign contracts, and ensure their bank and tax details are all uploaded to the centralized Worksuite platform.

From your side, your teams and managers can monitor the progress of onboarding for every individual, check documents have been signed, and ensure bank details are correct so that payments can be made swiftly and accurately around the world.

Worksuite enables you to pay your global employees and freelancers easily and at scale across over 150 countries and 120 currencies.

Learn more about how Worksuite can help you create customized onboarding flows for your organization, and ensure compliance for your global talent.

Book your personalized demo today

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