The importance of virtual onboarding

The importance of virtual onboarding

Zoom and Teams have become our new BFFs over the last 12 months. It’s hard to know how businesses could have continued to operate without them during the pandemic.

For recruiters, they have been a real blessing, meaning that interviews could take place, and candidates could continue to be hired.

However, once the job has been filled, the next step is the onboarding process. And doing that remotely is an entirely different challenge. Offering the support that a new employee needs, integrating them into the team, ensuring they have the tools they require, all without ever meeting them, isn’t the easiest thing to manage.  

But to minimise additional worry at that most stressful of times – starting a new job – you owe it to your new team member to get it sorted.

We’re all aware of the importance of effective onboarding processes. 54% higher engagement, a 25% increase in retention rate and an 11% increase in productivity are just three of the benefits that research reveals a good experience delivers. (source FinancesOnline)

So here is our advice on perfecting your virtual onboarding process until the time when we can do it in person once again.

Start as you mean to go on

Once the job has been accepted, email any important information so that they have plenty of time to read and absorb before their actual start date. If there are a lot of documents to read, break them up into manageable amounts and send them over a few days or weeks. If there are papers to be signed and returned, an online document signing app will make life a lot easier for the new starter, rather than asking for scanning or posting.

Sort out the technology

Talk to your IT people and ensure that your new person receives all the right equipment, software, logins and passwords so that they can be set up and ready to go from day one. If you are despatching hardware, ensure that it is preloaded with the necessary software and include an IT contact’s information in case of any issues. Even if they are using their own computer, you’ll need to give them information on computer security guidelines and instructions for setting up their workstation.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

It’s so important to keep in touch regularly with your new employee. Working at home can be isolating at the best of time, but when you are new and have never actually met your boss or co-workers, it’s even harder. They are missing out on those coffee machine chats and drinks after work that cement new relationships. 

Make sure you add them into any social groups, arrange introductions to the rest of the team, include them in meetings and ring them every day to see how they are getting on. 

Work on the intangibles

Some things that get picked up during onboarding can’t be emailed through to a new employee. The culture and ethos of the company, its approach to staff and customers, the way it accepts feedback, the value it places on people. These are things you need to show with actions – a welcome gift delivered to the new person’s home, colleagues checking in with them to ensure all is well, taking time to find out about their home life, making it clear how they raise concerns. 

Virtual onboarding may be much harder to do successfully, but it’s well worth making an effort. You are helping to build the foundations needed for your new team member to have positive relationships in your organisation. You are also supporting them in having a voice – vitally important when working remotely. 

Have you had to use virtual onboarding – and if so, can you share any tips on making the process a success?

Posted in

Share this article