On-Boarding in an Increasingly Virtual World

It’s no secret that remote work continues to become the norm for an increasing number of businesses; in fact, the number of permanently remote workers is set to double in 2021, according to a survey completed by Enterprise Technology Research (E.T.R.). Despite that, you still only get one chance to make a first impression on new employees, and according to research done by Gallup, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job of onboarding.

Here are our top 5 tips to ensure your onboarding process is as successful as it can be:

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  1. Have a plan before the first conversation.

Without access to a dedicated company-owned workspace, you must anticipate what employees may need to do their work properly. This includes hardware such as a laptop, or software licenses that are critical to their role. Other factors you might want to include are:

  • Access to shared servers, and company logins.
  • Wi-Fi or upgraded internet plans.
  • Security measures such as VPNs.
  • Tools for virtual conferencing such as noise-canceling headphones or webcams.
  1. Clearly explain your onboarding process, milestones, and responsibilities.

Proper alignment between employees and the organization is paramount from the beginning. When you update your onboarding process, fully articulate what milestones the employees can expect once they begin their new role. Provide a digital copy of your process that employees can easily refer to later on. Fully remote work is new for many of us, providing new employees with a clear roadmap of what to expect will almost always reduce the anxiety new staff face with their role.

  1. Virtual introductions are vital.

In a pre-COVID-19 world walking new employees through the office can help new hires feel more welcomed in their new environment; the virtual equivalent of this should still be implemented. Virtual introductions are an incredibly easy process for new hires to meet their colleagues, to understand the management structure, and company culture. Instead of taking out a new hire for lunch, try a coffee or tea meeting to get to know each other better. We may be physically distanced, but we don’t have to be socially distanced.

  1. Keep staff engaged.

Many organizations are implementing weekly scheduled “coffee chats” through virtual platforms to replace the conversations staff may have had over coffee in the morning, or at lunch. This could also extend to scheduled group exercise, yoga, or meditation classes – get creative, and survey your staff and see what virtual group activity would resonate most. Here are 5 examples of virtual games that remote teams can play together.

  1. Ask for feedback.

Over the last year, every organization has had to pivot to some degree and be agile with its business practices. Remote onboarding is a relatively new process, and you’re not going to perfect it with your first batch of new hires. Being open to feedback is a universally positive facet of any company culture, and you can do that through a variety of methods such as post-hire surveys, and regularly scheduled one-on-ones. New staff has an outsider’s perspective on your organization, and their feedback might lead to a more positive experience for everyone involved.

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