Onboarding can help new employees learn about your company while also streamlining their integration into your workplace culture. The popularity of virtual onboarding is quickly eclipsing face-to-face orientation in our post-pandemic world as more and more people choose to work from home. Of course, employees who are remote often start working without ever meeting their bosses or coworkers. Without meeting new employees in person, how can employers ensure they are delivering a robust onboarding process? If you want to set the tone for a positive employee experience and ensure that new employees have everything they need to succeed, you need to get your virtual onboarding right. Here are four tips to get you started:
- Make it Interactive and Engaging
Your new hire is most likely excited to begin their new role. So, make the onboarding process interactive and engaging to keep that momentum going. Create an onboarding kit for each employee that includes a schedule of events, a description of what to expect from training, an organizational chart, and contact information for any key colleagues. Include some swag in the welcome package, consider assigning a buddy to “shadow” each new hire, and incorporate fun icebreakers and “getting to know you” activities that are relevant to your company culture. The objective is to foster a sense of belonging and connection which will make your new hires feel more at ease when interacting virtually with one another.
- Keep it Short, Sweet, and to the point
It’s no secret that meetings can be draining, and virtual meetings where you are locked to a screen are even more so. Take frequent breaks, and leave time after each module for questions. To keep the onboarding training from becoming too lengthy, only include the essential information as part of the onboarding process. Integrate AI to automate tasks employees can complete off-screen, such as filling out HR paperwork.
- Research Their Learning Styles
People learn in various ways, so it’s critical to meet them where they are. Consider diverse training methods and the tools you’ll need to bring them to life. For example, include a mix of lectures, videos, and graphics in your training. A visual learner may struggle if the training consists of just one person speaking on camera for several hours, so try bringing in different team members to facilitate parts of the training. Also, be aware of body language and offer to take a break or teach the module differently if you notice people are losing focus.
- Test and Refine
Perhaps most importantly, you should constantly update your onboarding process. Before rolling out the training, test it with an internal team. Gather feedback and ask the team for suggestions. You don’t have to wait until each new group of hires is trained to make adjustments. Gather feedback after each module and make the necessary changes to keep things active and engaging. Don’t conduct the same stale training over and over. Because each group you onboard will be different, it’s critical to have various tools on hand to meet their needs.
The Harvard Business Review points out that it’s easy for companies with remote employees to slip into isolated silos where people stop communicating with each other and become disconnected from the team. Luckily, they also agree that virtual onboarding can be engaging and successful. If employees feel connected, productivity and retention can increase. Remember that the onboarding process continues long after your training session. You should continue to check in with your new hires periodically, ask what questions they have, and encourage them to reach out regularly.