The Top 5 Tips for Virtual Onboarding

Onboarding new hires goes beyond simple job training. It’s also an opportunity to welcome and immediately involve employees with your culture and team. Onboarding virtually isn’t so very different from introducing team members to company values, processes, and personnel through traditional, in-person means. These top 5 tips for virtual onboarding will help new hires start off on the right foot when orientation takes place online.

Tip #1: Meet & greet visually

After a successful virtual interview, sharing engaging company and staff videos with your new employee is the next best thing to walking them around a physical office environment.

You might consider:

  • Having colleagues and managers record personalized, virtual greetings
  • Producing a brief training video overview of your newest team member’s duties
  • Filming staff from other departments to demonstrate workflow connections

Having your personnel casually talk about their job roles on-camera will break the introductory ice and help your new hire feel welcome.

Tip #2: Take advantage of pre-boarding

Many virtual onboarding tasks can be performed in advance, directly by your new employee. To assemble a checklist that they can work through before their first day, give some thought to the following:

  • What tools will they need to download? Think video conferencing programs, time management apps, project or document-sharing software.
  • Which communication channels will they need to be part of? Does your remote team use a private messaging app or an account-based collaboration platform like SharePoint, Google Workspace, or Microsoft Teams?
  • Can your employee documents be shared or signed virtually? Perhaps you’re providing a contract, a set of company policies or an employee handbook, for example.

Giving your new hire access to pre-boarding documentation and other internal resources at one centralized, online location will save time and make the onboarding process more seamless.

Tip #3: Keep ‘Day One’ informal

Video walk-throughs and pre-boarding processes lead to another big bonus: they allow you to minimize awkward first day formalities.

It’s important that virtual employees get to know one another right out of the gate. By setting up and facilitating an interactive online game day, lunch, or virtual ice-breaking event, you can get your team started building trust and social rapport from day one.

Tip #4: Plan the first week of work

You’ll get your new team member up to speed and contributing faster if you prepare in advance for their first week of employment.

Your plan may include:

  • Setting aside time for them to watch safety videos and complete online training programs
  • Scheduling one-on-one virtual face time sessions where they can ask questions and teammates, team leads, and department managers can share resources, reconfirm job responsibilities, and clarify expectations
  • Setting up a video conference with yourself and/or someone from HR to explain employment policies, outline payment procedures, and answer any pay-related questions

Remember: The more structured and detailed your orientation, the less likely your new employee is to feel anxious, overwhelmed, or confused.

Tip #5: Assign an onboarding buddy

Your virtual onboarding will run more smoothly if you pair the newest addition to your team with a staff member dedicated to overseeing their transition.

Ideally, an onboarding buddy will:

  • Check in regularly or screen-share daily with their new teammate to mimic a real work environment
  • Act as a mentor, giving ongoing guidance as needed
  • Encourage connection opportunities with other team members

Given the challenges of working and collaborating remotely, it’s more important than ever that employees feel settled and productive as quickly as possible. A solid virtual onboarding process will help you set new hires up for success, reducing the likelihood of having to let them go down the road.

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