Remote work which was once a luxury for most organizations is now normal. Whether your business has just recently turned remote or you had already been operating remotely, a top-notch virtual onboarding process is a must-have.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is a human resources management industry term referring to the process of introducing a newly hired employee into an organization. It is an important part of helping employees understand their new position and job requirements and help them integrate seamlessly with the rest of the company. the idea behind the onboarding process is to make employees will feel confident and competent enough for their new job.

Virtual onboarding is simply executing these activities via online or digital channels, a practice that has become commonplace since the “arrival” of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual onboarding best practices below will almost always guarantee a positive experience that excites new employees and improves retention for your remote workforce.

1. Prepare thoroughly.

For virtual onboarding to be successful, it needs to be extensively prepared and conducted over a variety of interactive sessions. Some of the core considerations in your planning process include equipment like computers and access to accounts, tools, and software. For this, you can either have a member of the IT team on hand to help them get set up on their first day or if your IT team is at capacity or unreachable at times, consider creating a series of instructional videos.

2. Keep in mind that your goals are the same goals, it’s the venue that has changed.

The goals of employee onboarding remain the same online as they were when you had the opportunity to meet the team in person. They include:

  • Getting them familiar with your company, mission, and values.
  • Make the new hire feel welcome, connected, and included.
  • Give them the tools and training they need to be effective on the job.

These goals should be top of mind even as you move this exercise to the virtual space.

3. Connect deeply with the candidate.

Although these sessions will not be happening in person, you should ensure that your new hire still feels connected to you and the company culture. Getting senior leadership involved in the earliest engagement sessions for example can do wonders to help explain the company story and direction to new hires.

For example, you can set up a virtual meeting with the director or HR manager to introduce your company culture, values, mission, and the story behind how the company got started.


4. Mix it up to keep it interesting.

Rather than blow out all the information at once, pace it between job training. Consider offering flexibility by allowing new hires to work through some onboarding materials at their own pace and report back on it to you. Create videos, PDFs, and virtual interactive content in advance and make it easy for candidates to consume it on-demand as their schedule allows.

Finally, like most Human Resource Management-related aspects, virtual onboarding will need to upgrade and pivot as your company does and you will be required to make it more effective, and aligned with business and staffing needs over time. This is where feedback comes in handy. Engage current hires about the effectiveness of your current onboarding process. In fact, some organizations deploy an almost immediate survey when the client completes the final steps to ensure that they are on the pulse and ready to pivot when the need arises.

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