With remote work becoming the norm, managers are having to restructure their onboarding procedures for new employees to fit the virtual landscape. Walking a new employee through the company and their new position within it is a bit different when done virtually versus the in-person onboarding everyone was used to. With some personal tailoring and additional attention to detail, the process can be done just as well virtually.
To ensure that new employees feel welcome in the organization and understand the ins and outs of their position as well as the company’s values and culture, the virtual onboarding process needs to be laid out just right. Below, 14 members of Forbes Business Council discuss the important steps that managers can take to improve their organization’s virtual onboarding procedures.
1. Think Like A New Member Of The Team
Walk the walk and think like a new member of the team. What would you want to know and learn in the first day, week and month? Throw out the old onboarding checklist as meeting people virtually requires more than a tick in the box, especially with new virtual technology and processes. Ask them what they expect and then tailor it to them, ensuring they feel welcome and have the support that they need. – Joanna Swash, Moneypenny
2. Stay In Touch Every Step Of The Way
Stay in touch with the candidate every step of the way and ensure there’s a strong feeling of “homecoming” once the candidate joins in. One big miss which I’ve noticed across virtual onboarding programs is the lack of warmth and excitement when getting a new team member. Ensure empathy, proactive communication and multiple virtual meet-ups to introduce the new joiner to internal teams. – Saurabh Goenka, MindMap Digital
3. Study Analytics On Past Onboarding
Studying the analytics of past onboarding might point out exactly what is missing or what needs to be improved in these procedures. Take a look at the timelines for a newcomer to adapt to the work environment and understand all the processes. A long process might mean that there aren’t enough resources for them to understand exactly what’s happening in the organization. – Radu Magdin, Smartlink Communications
4. Assign Experienced Employees As Mentors
Assign employees who can provide an excellent working knowledge of the company and are able to lead by example. It would be the virtual equivalent of having a compatible colleague meet you for coffee over the first few weeks, being willing and available for questions and progressive check-ins. This enhances onboarding, as well as benefits the new hire, mentor and company overall. – Hao Lam, Best in Class Education Center
5. Create An Inspiring, Interactive Experience
Forget the PowerPoint! Adults do not learn by listening to someone go through a deck. It is better to present a concept, discuss it and practice it. Onboarding should be an inspiring and interactive experience for employees. Too many times, new employees have remorse after joining a company because the onboarding was so poor. There are many apps to leverage to make your onboarding more impactful. – Emilia D’Anzica, Growth Molecules
6. Explain Things With Video Instructions
Video instructions can be very helpful by better explaining how to navigate your virtual environment. One way to do this is with a welcome video. A buddy system is also an effective tool, which pairs new hires with seasoned employees who’ve been onboard for longer and know where things are located and what processes need to be completed first. – Ritesh Dalal, Intellective
7. Utilize Virtual Collaboration Technology
Utilizing virtual collaboration technology such as Spatial, which integrates with familiar platforms like Microsoft Teams, will bridge the gap between in-person onboarding and virtual. We utilize VR as a way to replicate our in-office environment, bring new starts on virtual tours, present documentation in new way and complete presentations in an immersive environment. – Paul Prior, GRY. MTTR.
8. Foster Integration And Communication
When onboarding employees virtually, personalization and participation are key. Onboarding showcases an organizations’ lived values, introduces its culture and creates the baseline for colleague relationships. The most impactful things a manager can do are intentionally foster integration with individual team members, have empathy in the learning curve and promote consistent open communication. – Cybele Negris, Webnames.ca Inc.
9. Create An Inclusive Company Handbook
The best way to get started is to create a company handbook outlining your company’s mission and vision, goals and values. Describe how you work, when you work and everything else that an employee should know before they even decide to interview. – Dimitri Akhrin, CRMDialer
10. Empower Your Team To Contribute
Empower your entire team to contribute to the onboarding process, from the CEO to all levels across your company. This will give the new employee visibility on your purpose, mission, vision and the great people in your company in order to fuel collaboration and strong relationships. Also, seek suggestions on what can be improved from new recruits to elevate the experience in the future. – Andreea Vanacker, SPARKX5
11. Shoulder Shortcomings And Promote Strengths
Not every employee is tech-savvy. Being aware of people’s shortcomings makes for a greased machine. Help the team in its totality reach online goals by shouldering the shortcomings of people and promoting the strengths of others. Push internet-savvy employees to the forefront of marketing. – Shakeel Ahmed, Atlas Surgical Group
12. Incorporate Virtual Reality Experiences
Using virtual reality experiences as part of the onboarding process, especially for new hires who are remote workers, allows for building better connections. In addition, providing opportunities for multiple, interactive sessions on induction topics and with various colleagues also helps the new hire gain perspective and get a better sense of the company culture. – Sindhu Kutty, Kuroshio Consulting
13. Make Onboarding Active And Participative
Do not let the onboarding process happen over email and reading! Make onboarding active and participative. Even if virtual, using video (rather than just emails or phone calls) to onboard new employees and orient them to the company’s culture, benefits and systems is important to getting people acclimated quickly. – James Langabeer, Yellowstone Consulting, LLC
14. Make Sure Expectations Are Clear
Make sure that expectations from the onboarding process are clearly set. We encourage every new specialist to suggest improvements for every chapter of the onboarding educational program. It is even more than welcome if the specialist makes improvements based on one’s own suggestions. – Sergej Derzap, Amasty