As the chaos of managing remote teams has mellowed down, companies have started to realize the valuable role virtual platforms play in forming connections and enabling seamless communication between employers and their employees.

Now, managing an existing team is one thing, but it is a completely different ball game when it comes to onboarding new hires. Whether you have entirely shifted to a work-from-home approach or operate in multiple regions and would like to have a unified space to onboard new team members, a well-designed virtual onboarding program will make this process simpler and more effective than traditional, time consuming procedures.

new hire attending a virtual onboarding program on laptop

Now, of course, if you’re used to in-person onboarding, virtual onboarding may feel intimidating at first, but when done right, we assure you that it’s a game changer when it comes to your HR process, as well as the new hires’ experience. 

You might also be interested to read: 6 reasons why your organization needs a virtual onboarding fair

new hire writing notes from virtual onboarding sessions on laptop

This article will walk you through the entire process of onboarding employees using an online platform.

1. Give a warm welcome

The first thing that every organization should offer to new employees is a very warm welcome. Employees, especially when working remotely, usually have no clue of what to expect, or where to go on day one. Send them a welcome email and don’t forget to attach a starter’s pack along with that. A starter’s pack may include the following:

  • Meeting links and details based on introductory sessions with line managers.
  • Check-in arrangements.
  • A welcome video consisting of current employees.
  • Company swag.
  • Checklist of provided equipment such as laptop, headphones, and so on.

new employee meeting the team during virtual onboarding

 2. Focus on employer branding

It sounds odd to mention this after talent has been hired, right? Well, to be honest, this is one of the most crucial steps that a lot of companies seem to ignore.

New hires, from their very first day, are seeking validation towards their decision to work for you. 33% of employees know whether they want to stay long-term at a company within one week on the job. So, a negative onboarding experience may result in new hires being more likely to look for other opportunities. 

Highlighting company successes can help emotionally charge new employees. Talking about accomplishments at an organizational, as well as at employees’ level, will not only make them proud of where they work but will also motivate them to jump right into it, and make their contributions loud and clear. 

corporate team raising hands and celebrating success

3. Don’t forget to emphasize on the culture

Everything you incorporate into your virtual onboarding program should reflect your company’s culture. It is important to showcase the values and attitudes that define your company, beyond just talking about it.

Especially for remote teams, it is important for them to understand the company’s roots. Activities and videos can help create a sense of belonging from a very early stage. This will therefore develop the desired attitude towards their work, colleagues, as well as clients.

owner representing company culture

4. Schedule time for introductions

A virtual onboarding fair is an easy and effective way to help new hires explore different employee programs that your company offers. They can simply visit virtual booths and attend webinars outlining the company’s mission, vision, values, departments and overall hierarchy. 

With the help of a virtual onboarding fair, you can in fact ensure your new hires are informed and energized for the role they have been assigned. 

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5. Assignment of tasks

As a new hire, he or she will be looking forward to the ‘real work’. Make sure your onboarding pack consists of necessary training modules for new hires. Alternatively, assign relevant tasks to make sure employees are comfortable and confident using the methods and approaches in terms of responsibilities that they are to be handed over.

team helping new hire with virtual onboarding

6. Turn it into a social experience

The fact that your activities are all taking place online, you need to make sure your new hires don’t lose out on the human element of the company. Set up sessions and invite new employees to mingle with existing teams outside of work meetings. You can do so by organizing weekly/fortnightly virtual happy hours to make sure people don’t feel isolated right at the beginning, and can experience the culture in its true form.

colleagues having lunch together

7. Take it for a test drive

Now that you’re all set with activities, tasks, and sessions that make up a formal virtual onboarding process, it’s time to do a test run to ensure smooth operations. After all, you don’t want to set a bad impression, or leave your new hires hanging in the middle of a poorly planning onboarding process.

Next Steps

If you’re living in the year 2021, just like the rest of us, it is most likely that the first contact you had with your new hire was virtual in nature. 

As an employer, the responsibility that began from hiring, has now moved on to settling in your new employees and equipping them with a strong understanding of the workplace operations – this is a foundation you set for them to build onto. 

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