5 Tips to Improve Your Virtual Onboarding Experience
We’re all relying a little more heavily on our internet connection these days. One of the places we’ve been feeling the friction of online spaces though is hiring! No longer are we simply posting jobs and collecting candidate information online, we’re also interviewing, hiring, and onboarding online.
Interviewing: that’s manageable – we’ve moved our discussions from being over the phone or in-person to an online meeting.
Hiring: that’s also manageable – contracts can be shared and signed through a doc signer.
Onboarding: we’ve had to start looking at this in a different way.
So, how do you maintain the same standards and level of connection with your new hires, completely virtually?
We’ve been working on a solution! Straight from us to you, here are the tried and tested components of a virtual onboarding experience that will wow your new employees and ensure that they are onboarded well, feel part of a team, and are working efficiently.
- Define & hold the space.
Turn virtual onboarding into a virtual onboarding experience with this step. Think about how someone will begin and end their onboarding. Answer these questions:
1. What’s the best introduction to their role / your organization you can provide?
2. How will you be sure that your new hire has gained the knowledge they need?
3. How will you acknowledge (or maybe even celebrate) their completion of onboarding?
Don’t assume someone will be able to jump right in to get started. Even a skilled and confident worker can be overwhelmed when not provided with the structure they need to succeed. Remember, most training and onboarding is not completed in one day. This is not a one-and-done event. Define and hold the space.
- Integrate your values into how you onboard virtually. We’re often communicating with people – even when we’re not explicitly saying anything.
If your organization values being technically proficient, find creative ways to engage with your new hires that demonstrate this value – use online polls, quizzes, personality tests, record videos, use avatars or bitmojis to represent yourselves!
If your organization values mindfulness, build in periods of reflection and walking meditations.
If your organization values clear communication, find ways to integrate the different methods of communication your organization uses and use them to drive communication the way you expect from your employees, ex. If you use Slack and want it to be for quick check-ins and personal communications – don’t message new hires in Slack with big logistical details.
- Designate roles. Leaders, Managers and Supervisors don’t need to be the only people involved in your virtual onboarding - they almost certainly wouldn’t be during the in-person experience! Invite others to play specific roles and make sure those roles and associated tasks are clearly outlined and shared. You’ll want to include details like how often feedback should be given, their level of authority, and their specific role in the trainee’s development. Roles you may want to integrate into your onboarding process include:
(a) trainer – the individual who is responsible for training a new employee
(b) peer support / mentor – a current employee who has been with your organization and performs well who can support your new hire in their day-to-day, as well as their integration into your team
(c) buddy – another new hire who can offer connection and emotional support
- Create supportive materials that remind you and your new hire of where you are in the process. Prepare a slideshow or documents for training - these are resources that can be prepared once and then updated as needed to support all new hires.
Your onboarding resource materials may include:
(a) timelines and workplans (letting your new hire know when they can expect to start working independently),
(b) checklists, to help support a sense of progression
(c) other documentation (ex. glossary of common terms / short forms).
- Have face-to-face time. Trust us, even with a screen between you this is important. Don’t let virtual onboarding be your excuse to just hand over a prepared document for your new hire to review. Doing things virtually often means being even more intentional than you would be in a traditional, in-person workplace. Set aside time to check-in on a regular basis with your new hire and get their feedback on how they’re getting along in the onboarding process.
Still not sure you’re on board? Here’s what a few of our recent hires had to say about our new fully virtual onboarding process:
It was a great experience and made me feel much more comfortable transitioning into the workplace. - Mira
My experience with online onboarding at Flow was really good. It was a lot smoother and more efficient than I thought it would be. I don't feel like anything was lacking or like I missed out at all having everything conducted online. I think the materials used were effective and straightforward and there was a lot of opportunity to ask questions and approach team members as necessary. I think the process gave me the tools and resources I needed to be fairly independent early on in my employment in as much as I knew mostly where to look/who to go to for more information.- Jess
Do you need help taking your virtual onboarding to the next level? We’re here for you. Email us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org