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Virtual On-Boarding

Virtual On-Boarding

Posted on 25th Aug, 2020

Virtual On-Boarding

Roll Out the Welcome Mat: Getting a New Employee On-Board

Making new employees feel part of the team should begin from the moment they accept their job offer. A great place to start is with a welcome email along with a "Getting to Know You" questionnaire that asks them to share some interesting and fun facts which could range from their interests and hobbies to favorite movies.

Before the new employee starts, managers should be informed about the training needed for them so they can build weekly plans. Sending those plans to the employee before their start date can lessen some of the anxiety that comes with starting a new role in an unfamiliar place.

Onboarding new hires at an organization i.e., how employers handle the first few days and months of a new employee's experience is crucial to any company, with a study by Glassdoor finding that great employee on-boarding, can improve employee retention by 82% and increase productivity by over 70%.

While these numbers may seem to be rather unachievable in the face of the current scenario – where employers are being forced to hire and onboard employees without ever meeting them face-to-face – this does not take away from the fact that effective employee onboarding significantly impacts retention and productivity!

What is Onboarding?

New employee on-boarding – a process that begins the minute an employee starts their first day on a job - refers to the process of assimilating a new employee into the organization and its culture, as well as equipping him/her with the tools and information they need to become a productive member of the team.

What exactly is Virtual Onboarding?

As new hires are being brought on board during the lockdown - and beyond; the shift is being seen from physical onboarding programs to innovative, fully virtual experiences aimed at making new joiners who are working from home, feel included and welcome.

Virtual onboarding is this process that is in place when one carries out the entire on-boarding process online without meeting the new employees face-to-face.

What Does Onboarding Entail?

Taking a well-planned approach, allows room for fewer errors and keeps any process – including onboarding, free from confusions. Any onboarding – whether physical or virtual, is incomplete without the following:

  • Paperwork

    • During onboarding, it is essential to make sure that the employee completely understand the company’s leave policy, healthcare coverage, asset policies, and data security rules, etc.

    • To ensure they have all the context required, its recommended to talk them through each document individually, and ensure that they revert with all attachments with their digital signatures.

  • Role Clarity

    • With employee dissatisfaction most commonly arising out of lack of awareness on scope for growth in their role, or the inability to create impact in their current roles. Setting expectations from the get-go, and clarifying expectations, thus, significantly positively impacts retention!

  • Training

    • Training gives a new employee perspective into how the company functions.

    • Now more than ever, it's easy for new employees to feel out of touch with the company they're joining—there may be no"sense of belonging" because they don't know the people behind the functions.

    • Employees introduced to all the functions in the organizations, and their respective roles are inducted right off the bat into understanding that they do not work in silos, but rather co-create organizational growth.

  • Culture Induction

    • When a new employee joins, to flourish in the company, they must learn to align with the organization’s culture.

    • The easiest way to dip their toes into how things work is to give them access to the company intranet, where they can witness how approachable managers are, gauge the tone of conversations, and get an understanding of how open the company is to feedback.

    • Encouraging an understanding of the company's mission and vision statements, can also help new hires align their goals better.

Tips to Successfully Onboard Your New-Hires, Virtually

  • Establish personal connections

    • The Tour: Traditionally on an employee’s first day, they would be shown around the office and introduced to their co-workers and new team members.

    • Connections Still Matter: Even though there is no physical office to tour, in the era of virtual onboarding, establishing these connections is an integral part of the onboarding process and should not be forgotten.

    • Video conference: Virtual meeting tools can be easily leveraged to facilitate welcome introductions which can be just as seamless and effortless as they would be in person, allowing new hires to connect and engage with their managers and teammates.

    • "Onboarding Buddies": To provide even more direct support on the first day, the HR department can assign new hires a virtual "welcome buddy." (This system can also be integrated not offline onboarding, as needed).

      This might be an existing employee of similar rank, or a friendly face from the office who has gone through the traditional onboarding process and can advise on how to have a successful start at the company.

    • Face-to-Face Meetings: "Face-to-face" interactions can help bridge potential communication gaps by providing the ability to express tone and body language. Encouraging meetings with new-hires being largely face-to-face or via video conferencing can yield seemingly simple benefits which can help convey the company’s workplace culture to the employee, meaningfully.

  • Create an Onboarding Roadmap: Plan for a Journey, not a Day

    • "Meet-and-Greet Calendar": It is a good idea to establish a schedule that stretches out several weeks can help connect new employees to other persons they should know to build their internal networks while remote.

      This also helps them learn more about the company by talking to employees in other departments and gain a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities of their colleagues.

    • Virtual Mentorship: Assigning new hires a virtual mentor who can guide them on a customized learning path which can speed up the onboarding time and allow for more learning and growth.

    • Pace the Journey: It is important not to overwhelm the new hires. So, one ought to consider rolling out information and training to new hires at a slower pace, than one would do during physical on-boarding.

      By spacing out learning the new hire gets a chance to absorb the information and ask questions instead of being inundated with content all at once.

    • Document Any Changes: If any changes are made to the onboarding process, it is important to document the edits and design remote onboarding guides to keep managers informed.

      The transition to remote working can make things relatively ambiguous - Having access to documentation which offers a framework of roles and responsibilities, and keeps one apprised of changes to on-boarding in a remote environment, helps keep everyone informed and accountable.

  • Culture Matters – Establish an Engaging Virtual Culture: Corporate culture expands much beyond the physical boundaries of an office and is critical during the transition to a remote environment – but explaining culture to new hires secluded in their homes, may not be as easy as expected!

    • Set Up Check-ins and Touchpoints: Develop a regular schedule for interaction and communication – for everyone, but especially for new hires – so no one feels isolated or alone.

    • Adapt to the Virtual Environment: Any employee engagement activities and programs which can be adapted to virtual environment, must be!

      Participating in such activities creates a shared sense of camaraderie and community that can be developed even before a new hire sets foot into the physical buildings.

    • Highlight Positivity: Remote working precludes regular perks such as team outings or play your song Fridays, making maintaining a positive workplace culture harder than usual!

      Initiating such experiences will be one of the main considerations for how new recruits judge their experience.

  • Keep the Onboarding Path Clear

    • Effective onboarding guarantees a clear path for employees as they enter a new company.

    • Even in these unprecedented times, the transition to remote work should not prevent new employees from having some of the traditional experiences, and organizations should be prepared to onboard more employees in this remote setting.

    • By executing new practices to assist the remote working model, employers can make themselves more appealing to prospective employees, while maintaining continuity of the businesses.