Virtual Onboarding: How To Do It Right

Introduction

Owing to COVID-19, there’s no doubt that for many enterprises, virtual working has become a way of usual business–a fact that raises an important question:

“How are businesses hiring new employees in this remote style of working? More importantly, how are they training and setting up employees to rise to the work requirements?”

We have two words for you: virtual onboarding. In fact, even the Harvard Business Review states that in order for organizations to retain talent, they need a consistent and structured onboarding process. Before we jump into the specifics of how to engage in virtual onboarding, let’s understand what it means.

What Is Virtual Onboarding?

Similar to the traditional onboarding process, the virtual onboarding process is quite simply welcoming new employees to your organization’s processes, values, mission, goals, etc., via virtual aka online tools, resources, and other means. This could include webinars, online resources, video conferences, virtual interactive programs/exercises, and so on, which the new hires can access using their desktop/smartphone/tablet. In terms of its wide-spread advantages, here are the top-4 factors to keep in mind:

  • Allows you to engage with new employees, irrespective of their geographic location
  • Helps you to scale your onboarding process seamlessly and speedily
  • Fosters diversification of talent when hiring
  • Encourages a culture of flexible and accountability-driven work style

Now that we’ve understood what virtual onboarding is and what its top advantages include, let’s look at the best-practices to keep in mind when onboarding employees virtually and digitizing the onboarding process.

5 Factors To Consider During Your Virtual Onboarding Process

1. Welcoming New Hires

 

Since physical office tours are not feasible when working remotely, you can capitalize on virtual meeting tools and video calls instead to welcome new employees and acquaint them with their team members as well as senior leadership to start with. Take a look at LinkedIn’s onboarding program, which has now expanded into a week-long virtual program (instead of a one-day stint), owing to the increasing importance of remote work:

You can also conduct video-driven one-on-ones and address any concerns/issues your new employee may be facing. To build more excitement, initiate your virtual onboarding process at least seven days prior to the employee’s joining date. At this time, you can send the employee digital assets that they can browse through to get to know your company.

You can also consider making a virtual “Welcome Guide” of sorts that’s customized to the employee’s needs and responsibilities. Finally, you can gift your new employees a “Welcome Kit,” company-branded elements (such as cup, notebook, pen, badge, laptop sleeve, etc.) for their home office, or in other words, the company swag so that they feel valued, welcomed, and appreciated.

Pro tip: Consider assigning the new hire a “virtual welcome buddy” who can advise and guide the new employee effectively and help draft a customized learning path to accelerate the onboarding process as GitLab does.

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2. Providing Virtual Guidance For The Company’s Policies & Work Culture

 

Truth be told, the first day at a new company can become overwhelming–more so in today’s remote work environment. Here’s where a virtual agent a.k.a. chatbot can lend a helping hand. These 24×7 bots can be trained to assist the new hire in a number of ways, such as:

  • Answering FAQs about the work policies, leaves and vacation plans, etc.
  • Gathering employee feedback regarding the onboarding process which can be used to make improvements and additions for future hires
  • Offering 24x7x365 support and driving employee engagement
  • Designing remote onboarding guides with the help of real-time employee information that the bot collects
  • Providing resources and documents that contain critical data such as roles, responsibilities, onboarding systems, etc. to keep employees informed and accountable

3. Leveling Up The Playing Field Using eLearning Courses

 

Another aspect that requires laser-focus is eLearning. From the outset, your employees will need all the necessary educational resources and training-related information at the tip of their fingertips. This is where a Learning Management System (LMS) software can come in handy. For one, it can facilitate an engaging work culture.

For instance, you can assign new hires a series of training sessions that they can complete before they join. Plus, it can allow you to create an onboarding process that spans over several weeks or even months. This can greatly benefit your employees, who may learn smarter and better if they have the luxury of learning diverse information at their own convenience and with time on their hands.

4. Fostering Personal Connections Through Frequent Check-Ins

 

When it comes to onboarding, one of the most common mistakes that most organizations end up making is that they stop ‘checking-in’ with the new hires and driving real-time feedback once the initial documentation and procedures are complete.

For your virtual onboarding process to be a success, you’ll need to continually and dedicatedly check-in with your employees and see how they’re faring. At this point, it’s important to specifically engage in video calls as these kinds of “face-to-face” interactions can eliminate feelings of anxiety and stress. So, make sure to chart out a schedule for your weekly one-on-ones. Another interesting way of organically connecting with your employee is by driving a long-term onboarding blueprint–one that encourages your new employee to:

  • Understand the onboarding goals:
  • Get in-depth insights into the roles and responsibilities of the employee as well as their colleagues across departments
  • Build their network over time

Finally, you can periodically roll out videos from the senior leadership to keep the employees informed and motivated. Here’s an example:

Click here

You can also have virtual team celebrations, ‘happy hour’ sessions, themed parties and meet-ups, mindfulness programs, etc. and go the extra mile in demonstrating your company’s inherent work culture, albeit virtually:

Virtual Classroom

As you can imagine, these virtual initiatives can build a sense of community and belonging for the new as well as existing employees.

5.  Setting SMART Goals

Finally, every successful virtual onboarding process finds its roots in a SMART goals-led framework. In its expanded form, SMART stands for:

Specific: The goals should be clear and specific.

Measurable: It should be measurable and trackable.

Achievable: It should be challenging yet attainable by the employee.

Relevant: It should align with the company’s goals as well as the employee’s individual policies.

Time-based: It should specify the time period within which the goal must be achieved.

All in all, when you’re thinking about what your virtual onboarding program and the process should look like, it should follow the “SMART” policy to be effective and productive.

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Wrapping Up

One of the biggest advantages of virtual onboarding is that employees can always go back to the training material and resources. This allows a greater level of freedom and flexibility that’s not available during the traditional onboarding journey.

Ironically, virtual onboarding can help new hires to get acquainted with the company’s culture while nurturing relationships from their 17-inch screens. At the end of the day, virtual onboarding can engage employees in a far more immersive capacity (as opposed to traditional onboarding) and assist them at every step of their onboarding journey (and beyond).

Click here, to learn how Paradiso LMS can improve your onboarding process and help grow your company. Start your eLearning journey by setting up a demo with one of our sales representatives and build an engaging virtual onboarding experience by the hand of one of the best eLearning company.

To schedule a demo meeting, send us an e-mail to [email protected]

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