With a shift towards remote and hybrid work arrangements, onboarding new employees properly is more important now than ever, with 80% of new hires who receive a poor onboarding experience saying they plan to quit. To help you streamline your virtual onboarding process, we've gathered 12 effective strategies from top HR professionals. From creating SOPs with video links to incorporating Zoom and Loom recordings, these leaders, including Human Resources managers and Chief People Officers, share their best practices.
Provide a Comprehensive Orientation and Checklist
Effectively onboarding remote employees demands a tailored approach for a warm and supported start.
Begin by offering a comprehensive orientation covering company culture, values, and objectives. This can be delivered through video calls or pre-recorded videos for flexibility. Additionally, a well-defined onboarding checklist is vital to set clear role expectations, outlining key tasks and milestones for their initial weeks.
Sanya Nagpal, Head, Human Resources, Leena AI
Build a Robust Communication Foundation
My goal as an HR professional is to ensure new employees feel welcome, understand our values, and experience the trust and flexibility we offer during their tenure with us. To effectively manage the virtual employee onboarding process, I advocate for building a robust foundation with communication, alignment, and clear guideline explanations for newcomers.
This foundation is constructed by emphasizing and communicating the company's culture, values, mission, vision, and collaboration process with colleagues, clients, and partners. Moreover, it entails summarizing the sectors in which the organization operates, giving newcomers insight into diverse business interests, aligning objectives for the upcoming year, outlining priorities and goals.
Finally, it involves going through HR policies in detail and explaining the guidelines and practices followed. This holistic approach ensures that employees experience a psychologically safe and welcoming virtual onboarding process.
Divvya Desai, HR, NamanHR
Pre-define Digestible Processes
I think that the best strategy you can take for virtual employee onboarding is to have all of your processes predefined and ready in a digestible format so that you're not having to go back over onboarding aspects or repeat processes. For example, videos preempting common onboarding questions with answers and guidance, rather than waiting for the questions to be asked first.
Tracey Beveridge, HR Director, Personnel Checks
"Chunk" the Onboarding Processes
One approach we've seen work consistently is to "chunk" onboarding processes rather than having a set onboarding time or day for a new employee. Ultimately, this gives more clarity over individual onboarding requirements, and it's nowhere near as overwhelming compared to a set onboarding schedule where the process is "one and done."
Wendy Makinson, HR Manager, Joloda Hydraroll
Create a Structured and Adaptive Engagement
Onboarding in a virtual environment presents both unique challenges and opportunities. At EchoGlobal, we've discovered that the cornerstone of successful virtual onboarding is structured yet adaptive engagement. From day one, new hires are immersed in an interactive digital orientation that pairs them with 'onboarding buddies'—seasoned employees who not only guide them through the technicalities of our systems but also impart the intangible culture of our organization.
Furthermore, we've leveraged advanced analytics to monitor the engagement levels of our newcomers, allowing us to provide real-time feedback and make immediate course corrections. This dual-pronged approach ensures that each individual integrates seamlessly into their role and feels an immediate sense of belonging and connection to the broader EchoGlobal family.
Lou Reverchuk, Co-Founder and CEO, EchoGlobal
Establish an Early Sense of Belonging
Onboarding is the perfect time to establish a sense of belonging with new employees — and a sense of belonging has been shown to be a huge driver of employee retention and engagement, so it's a worthwhile investment upfront!
At Peoplism, we start small and recommend that for our clients too. That means something really simple, like a message from the hiring manager with a few lines about why they are the best person for the job. It's amazing what a bit of validation will accomplish!
Sofie Leon, DEI Consultant Manager, Peoplism
Create SOPs with Video Links
Our team leads have created SOPs that include links to videos of recorded processes so that onboarding can be done at a remote employee's own pace. It can be repeated and rewatched as many times as needed at any point, which reduces time to onboard.
Jarir Mallah, Human Resources Manager, Ling App
Prioritize a Day-One Tech Session
Start with a tech session straight from day one. If your new employees struggle to access your onboarding tools, it becomes impossible to learn and can make a bad first impression. With a guided IT session, experts can bring your new hires up to speed and answer any questions they may have about the software, hardware, and platforms.
Leave enough time after the session for your hires to freely ask questions and troubleshoot any issues that arise together.
Robert Kaskel, Chief People Officer, Checkr
Provide a Comprehensive Digital Welcome Package
When a new hire joins, we provide them with a comprehensive digital welcome package. This kit, accessible through an online portal, dives into the company's history, showcases culture videos, offers a detailed departmental breakdown, and lists key contact information.
One of our newest team members mentioned how this approach eliminated the initial overwhelming feeling of joining a vast organization. They felt grounded, informed, and ready to interact with their peers. On the practical side, the digital onboarding kit costs almost nothing to make but helps companies save on materials and HR time.
Eugenia Syrytsia, HR Expert, Recruiter, Editorial.Link
Implement Virtual Onboarding Roadmaps
Managing virtual employee onboarding processes can be made effective with the use of virtual onboarding roadmaps. These structured guides provide new hires with a clear path from their first day to full productivity, including scheduled virtual meet-and-greets, training sessions, and milestone reviews.
This approach ensures that new hires are not only well-informed but also engaged and integrated into the company culture from day one. It also allows managers to track progress and make timely interventions if needed.
A well-structured onboarding process is crucial for setting new hires up for success, especially in a virtual environment.
Madhurima Halder, Content Manager, Recruit CRM
Incorporate Zoom and Loom Recordings
Whether it's a live Zoom call with the new employee or recorded Loom videos they can refer back to, this adds a helpful dynamic to the onboarding process. On the employee's end, it helps them get to know some of the team.
For HR, it improves the efficacy of how information is shared with that new team member. Adding a video element to your virtual onboarding process is a smart way to up your game.
Kelsey Bishop, CEO and Founder, Candor
The collective insights from these leading HR professionals present a comprehensive guide to revolutionizing virtual onboarding practices. The emphasis on tailored orientations, clear communication foundations, and adaptable engagement strategies signifies a paradigm shift in welcoming remote employees.
The suggestions to create a supportive and inclusive environment, combined with technological integration and adding a dynamic and personal touch to the virtual experience, collectively pave the way for organizations to elevate their virtual onboarding and foster a seamless and engaging integration process for new team members.
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