Virtual onboarding has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more businesses move to remote work models.
If you’re new to the concept, virtual onboarding is the process of orienting and training new remote employees online, rather than in person.
While it may seem daunting at first, there are plenty of easy ways to get your new hires up to speed with your company culture and values. Here are ten simple steps to help you get started.
Making your remote team bigger? If so, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed.
How do you onboard someone without ever meeting them in person? And how do you make sure they feel connected to the team and their work?
Don’t worry – it’s easier than you think!
1. Pre-onboard your new hires to get them off the right foot
In today’s business climate, more and more companies are hiring remote workers. If you’re new to the world of virtual onboarding, you may be wondering how to get your new hires off on the right foot.
Provide documentation & resources
The first step in any successful onboarding process is to make sure your new hires have all the information they need to do their job.
Pre-onboarding is a great way to set your new remote hires up for success. Before their first day, the hiring manager should send them all the materials they’ll need to get started, such as a company handbook, job description, and contact information for their direct supervisor.
It’s a great way to reduce the stress of their first day and make them start their new job in ideal conditions.
Send them a welcome package
Even if employees are joining the company virtually, it’s still important to make them feel like they’re part of the team and that their presence is valued.
One way to do this is by sending them a welcome package with some company-branded goodies. This can include a t-shirt with the company logo, a mug, or even a small gift card.
It’s a great detail that will definitely level up the onboarding experience!
2. Make sure technology is not an issue & that new employees are all set up before day one!
While working remotely in a virtual environment, technology is key to success, but also to anything at all. Without that connexion, that tool, or that device, a new employee just can’t be productive at all or, in some cases, can’t even start working…
One very important step is to make sure that new employees have the tools they need to be productive on day one. This includes giving them a laptop or computer, a company email account, and access to the necessary collaboration tools and apps used by the company.
If you’re using any video call or virtual meeting platform, like Zoom or Google Meet, send out instructions ahead of time, so your new hires can familiarize themselves with it.
If there are any specific programs or software they’ll need to use for their job, make sure they have access and know-how to log in before their first day.
The last thing you want is for them to be struggling with technical issues on their first day!
3. Organize one-on-one meetings with relevant people
One-on-one with an HR representative
As soon as the candidate accepts the new job and is ready to be onboarded into the organization he is integrating, meeting with one of the HR leaders is a great way to learn more about the company’s policies and procedures.
It’s also an opportunity to ask any questions about benefits, vacation time, dress code, the company’s mission, and other important topics.
One-on-one with the manager
This is a great opportunity to get to know each other and start building a professional relationship.
It’s also a chance to discuss clear expectations, set goals, and ask any questions the new hire might have on the details of the position, training sessions, and more.
One-on-one with the knowledgable co-workers
To make sure the new remote employees know what to do, schedule one-on-ones with the people who are important to their work.
For example, if the new hire will be working closely with someone in marketing, set up a meeting so they can introduce themselves and get to know each other’s work styles and best practices.
4. Have the new hires introduce themselves in a dynamic way
One of the main challenges of remote onboarding is to integrate the new employees virtually. Not being able to meet the entire team in person can make the process of building relationships way more difficult.
Don’t limit yourself to PowerPoint presentations.
So one way to give a positive first impression and to try and make the new hires feel like part of the team right from the start is to have them interact with their immediate team in a fun and dynamic way.
Forget the boring introductions!
For a new hire to present themselves to new teammates, try to create an icebreaker that will make the introduction more original.
For example, you could ask them to prepare a short video presentation, share an interesting fact about themselves, or answer some fast this or that questions.
This will be a pleasant experience for everyone to get to know one another.
Build relationships through virtual team-building
It’s also important to give new hires the opportunity to share their own personal story and why they decided to join the company.
By getting to know each other, employees will feel more comfortable and connected from the start. And as an added bonus, this process can also help to build team morale and cohesion.
To do so, you can add to your virtual onboarding program a team-building activity that will enhance collaboration and help build strong relationships between the full team.
Pro tip: For more tips on building a virtual team, have a look at our dedicated blog post!
5. Make sure to highlight your company culture & mission
It’s no secret that first impressions matter – especially when it comes to starting a new job. That’s why virtual onboarding is so important. It’s your chance to set the tone for your new employee’s time with your organization and to make sure they understand your company culture and mission.
The key to making your organization stand out is culture.
Culture is what makes your organization different and provides a unique perspective.
By taking the time to understand and create a strong culture, you’ll be able to set your company apart from the competition.
According to the Academy of Management, more than 70% of employees named corporate culture as a significant factor in their choice to work for any specific firm.
So don’t be afraid to show off your company’s culture!
You can do this by sharing stories about your company history or by highlighting some of your core values. And don’t forget to mention your company mission – it’s an important part of what motivates your team to come to work every day.
6. Use a facilitator to keep everyone energized
If you are virtually onboarding a big group, we recommend using a facilitator.
A facilitator will help you lead the onboarding activities, keep everyone engaged and make sure the process runs smoothly.
To find a good facilitator, you can ask for recommendations from your network or look for someone with experience leading virtual team-building activities.
7. Set them up with a remote buddy at work
Assign a buddy or mentor to the new employee. This person can answer any questions the new employee has and provide guidance as they settle into their new role.
Working remotely can be stressful when it comes to simple questions. You might not want to send an email to a colleague to ask where a specific file is located.
A remote buddy can help with these kinds of questions, help your new employees feel more comfortable and confident in their first few weeks on, and be a great sounding board for any challenges the new employee is facing.
8. Make sure they connect with the other team members
Virtual onboarding can be especially challenging since building rapport, and trust with team members who are only ever seen through a screen can be difficult.
It’s important to create opportunities for social interaction, whether that’s through regular check-ins, virtual happy hours, or team-building exercises.
It can also be organizing a team lunch once in a while to give the opportunity for the remote employees to meet in person.
Another way to allow people to talk and chat in a virtual setting is to create a dedicated communication channel on off-work topics. It can be done through a Slack channel or a Whatsapp group with all employees of the team who share their personal lives and activities.
9. Keep in touch & plan ahead for regular check-ins
Keep an open way for feedback
And lastly, be available to answer any questions they may have along the way. It’s important that you check in with your new hires and get constant feedback to make sure everything is going well on their side.
Set up weekly and monthly check-ins
You should also touch base with your remote hires regularly to see how they’re doing in comparison with their set objectives, answer any questions they may have, provide any training they might need, and give them feedback on their progress.
In the beginning, you can organize some meetings every day and weeks with your new remote workers. Indeed, being far away from the office can present a lot more challenges, so it’s important to check in more frequently at the beginning.
You can then gradually space out the meetings as they get more comfortable and settled into their roles. Once they’re more settled up, you can then switch to monthly meetings.
10. Put together a comprehensive training program
When it comes to training, you want to make sure your new remote employees have all the tools and resources they need to succeed in their roles.
One way to do this is to create a comprehensive training program that covers everything from the basics of the job to more specific tasks related to their role.
You can also supplement this with additional training that can be done virtually, through webinars, video conferencing, or even just sending out instructional materials.
You can also help employees learn informally. This can be done by giving them access to a library of resources or by pairing them up with more experienced team members who can act as mentors.
FAQ: Virtual Onboarding
What is virtual onboarding?
Virtual onboarding is a process that allows new employees to complete the majority of their onboarding remotely, using online tools and resources.
With virtual onboarding, employers can provide new hires with everything they need to get started in their new role without the need for in-person meetings or interruptions to their workflow.
What are the benefits of virtual onboarding?
While virtual onboarding can take some time to set up, it can be a convenient and effective way to onboard new employees.
Plus, virtual onboarding can help to improve employee engagement and productivity, as well as reduce recruitment costs.
How to virtual onboard new employees?
To virtually onboard new hires, you can simply do that through a set of video conferences and virtual experiences between the new team members and the HR professionals, the manager, and the co-workers.
Make sure they have all the essential information they will need, such as contact information for their supervisor, HR, and IT. You can also provide new hires with access to an online portal that contains all the information they need to get started in their new role. Or an online learning portal where they can access training materials and resources.
Additionally, it’s important your new team member feel part of the company quickly. In that way, you’ll be responsible for making him connect with their co-workers. You can also set up regular check-ins and touchpoints so that new hires feel supported throughout the onboarding process.
Finally, don’t forget to send a welcome package to your new employees!
Pro tip: Follow our easy steps above to enhance your virtual onboarding process.
What does a virtual onboarding process include?
A virtual onboarding process can include a variety of activities, all designed to help new employees feel welcome and prepared for their roles within the company.
Typically, the process begins with an introduction from the HR team, followed by a tour of the workplace (if applicable). Next, new employees will receive an overview of company policies and procedures. They may also meet with their manager or team leader to discuss expectations and start working on assignments.
Throughout the onboarding process, there should be opportunities for new employees to ask questions and get feedback. By taking advantage of all that virtual onboarding has to offer, companies can set their new hires up for success.
How do you make virtual onboarding fun?
One way to make virtual onboarding more fun is to get creative with the format. Rather than having dry, lecture-style presentations, try incorporating interactive activities or games that will help new hires learn about the company culture and their fellow team members.
You can also use video conferencing tools to create a more personal experience or send a welcome package with some company swag to help new hires feel like part of the team. No matter what
Nowadays, a lot of people work remotely. This means that companies need to be able to onboard employees properly when they start working.
Versus in-person onboarding, virtual onboarding can present some challenges but also opportunities. When done right, it can help new employees feel welcomed and prepared for their roles, even from a distance, without the need for expensive and time-consuming in-person meetings.
By following the steps outlined above, you can set your new hires up for success with a fun and effective virtual onboarding experience from the comfort of your home!