Tips for Improving the Virtual Onboarding Process

With the shift for many businesses to a remote workforce, virtual onboarding has become the most important part of a new hire’s journey. Todd Moran, chief learning strategist for NovoEd, shares this sentiment. “Organizations have the power to shape their future employees and leaders, so they must take onboarding much more seriously,” he said. “Incorporating culture explicitly into onboarding processes, practicing those cultural elements and ensuring that new employees are forming the relationships that they will need to prosper with fellow employees are all critical to employee and organizational success.” The shift to a virtual onboarding process has presented businesses with the opportunity to revamp their age-old onboarding practices as another means of ingratiating new hires. With that being said, here are some tips to help you devise a more successful virtual onboarding process.

  1. Early Communication: Pre-boarding has become an increasingly common practice. The idea is to utilize the time between when an employee’s application is accepted, and their first day on the job. By providing access to company contacts, an employee handbook, or virtual training sessions, you can provide new employees with the chance to hit the ground running on their first day.
  2. Instill Company Values: The onboarding process is the perfect time to express your business’ values and beliefs. Virtual workplace culture is critical to making an employee feel engaged with the company’s values. You can consider putting new hires into break out groups with veteran employees who can communicate the business’ beliefs, providing new hires with a tangible vision of what an engaged employee looks like.
  3. Over Communicating: It is commonly thought that a new employee needs to be gradually eased into their position, and so it is important not to bombard them with too much information. This is a misconception. Deluge their inbox with resources for any situation they might be uncomfortable in or inexperienced with. Take it a step further and make time to check in with them frequently, which leads to the next tip:
  4. Technology First: LinkedIn made it common practice for new employees to receive a company laptop during orientation. This allowed LinkedIn to ensure all employees had a reliable means of work and communication, and that there were not any issues in setting up and configuring the computer. By providing the proper technology, you can save an employee from the hassle of trying to figure out a new operating system, video conference tool, or software/application
  5. Spread Out: Onboarding doesn’t need to take place in a single day, now that employees are attending virtually, there is no longer the need to squeeze as much training into as little time as possible. Shorter bursts of training sessions allow for more information to be digested and retained in far more effective a manner than longer sessions over fewer days. 
  6. Run Frequent Check-Ins: Schedule one-on-one meetings with your employee regularly while they’re still settling in. This type of communication is valuable for introducing structure into the employee’s work life. It can also help towards building a rapport with the employee, and is exemplary of a workplace that encourages open communication. Open and honest communication is critical to the success of any business that wants to thrive, and by promoting communication early on in an employees career, you’re not only setting a good example, but enabling their success. 
  7. Off the Clock Mentors: Lastly, assigning your new recruit with a seasoned employee, or higher up, is an incredibly affected means of introducing the employee to their new role. Knowing that there is somebody there to help out when you’re in need can have a positive effect on a new employee’s self-esteem and willingness to engage with coworkers. While the mentor provides guidance and advice, it also provides your employees with a method of engaging with each other outside the workplace. 
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