When you add a new team member to your organization, the experience they have during their new hire onboarding sets the framework for their time at the organization. In fact, great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%.[i] As we navigate our new remote workforce, many onboarding programs and procedures quickly shifted to virtual without a new plan in place. This drastic shift in the way we deliver onboarding to new hires has left many organizations unsure of the best path forward.
We recently came across an article written by LinkedIn which highlights 7 Steps to Create a Virtual Employee Onboarding Program at your organization:[ii]
- Spread your onboarding program out over a number of days – Packing a full day of onboarding into a single day may work when delivering in person, but needs to be adjusted for virtual in order to avoid fatigue, retain employees, and keep them engaged. Breaking down the onboarding into digestible chunks will allow a better experience for the employee and keep your new team members engaged.
- Embrace the idea that you can’t over communicate – When delivering onboarding virtually, there is no such thing as over communicating. While you want to make sure you don’t overwhelm your new hire, it’s important to make them feel they are supported and are getting the information they need to be successful virtually. Schedule quick meetings in the morning and end of day.
- Get technology into the hands of new employees as quickly as possible – Typically, new hires receive their laptops within the first week of beginning their onboarding. However, when delivering onboarding virtually, it can be beneficial to get the technology in to the hands of new hires before the start of onboarding. This can help ensure that they can become comfortable with the technology and begin exploring the resources they have available to them.
- Emphasize your company’s culture and values – It is no secret how important company culture is for employee retention. When delivering your onboarding virtually it’s important to go above and beyond to make sure your culture shines through. If possible, try to incorporate company or department events so your new employees can quickly feel part of the team.
- Make online employee onboarding interactive to keep participants engaged and connected – When delivering onboarding virtually, it can be beneficial to make it as interactive as possible. Virtual platforms like zoom allow opportunities for breaks and breakout rooms, which can be great if you are onboarding multiple new employees at the same time.
- Emphasize the role of the new hiring manager and a designated buddy – For any new hire, the hiring manager plays an integral role in their success. It’s important to ensure that they are staying in touch with the new employee and checking in with them frequently. It can also be beneficial to designate a buddy or mentor to your new hires as an additional resource.
- Model continuous learning by asking for feedback and acting on it quickly – Virtual onboarding is new to many organizations and employees. Be sure to constantly ask for feedback and put it into action as quickly as possible. This helps ensure that the virtual onboarding experience is constantly developing and improving.
How you welcome new members of your team sets the framework for the culture you create at your organization. Ensuring your onboarding program is engaging and informative is important whether it is delivered virtually or in-person.