Virtual Onboarding: Tips & Tricks for Onboarding Employees Remotely

- Agile HR

Hands-on Management 3.0 leadership workshops focus on tangible practices to help managers, team leaders, middle management, and C-level executives increase employee engagement and foster transformational change within their organizations. Start Your Leadership Journey Today!

by Management 3.0 Facilitator Erick Masgo

Many organizations have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic that we have been facing. The human resources areas in particular, continue to transform their processes in the context of remote work and this includes things such as remote onboarding. I consider the first three months with a new employee key for the rest of the employment relationship. As more and more employees work remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, matching new hires to company culture and procedures can be challenging.

It is with this in mind, that we must take into account the following recommendations to have a successful remote onboarding process:

1: Avoid improvisation during remote onboarding

Plan in advance the list of tasks for onboarding a new employee so that you can provide the best entry experience. Contact the new team member a few days before their start date to digitally communicate the documentation that is needed and welcome them.

Send them the required legal documentation to be read without distractions (for example: contract, code of conduct or general policies of the organization, among others)

Think about a personalized onboarding package containing the most important information:

  • Personalized welcome can be a video with words from the CEO
  • Company video
  • Testimonials from future coworkers
  • Description of benefits
  • Description of functions

Make sure the equipment and supplies the new hire needs are available and operational before day one.

Carry out the coordinated work between Human Resources, IT, Communications and other areas so that both the labor documentation, technical and communication resources are ready for the first day.

Certified Management 3.0 Agile in HR Workshop Attendee

In our Agility in HR Workshop by Management 3.0 people who work in or closely with human resources, will learn about the Agile mindset, organizational design, roles, career paths, performance, goals & motivation, promotions, talent acquisition and retention as well as learning and development. The ICAgile-accredited workshop lasts 16 hours and is available in-person as well as online.

2: Do a 180 degree turn from the typical first day session for remote onboarding

Make a great first impression on new hires by making that first day interactive and fun.

Create a sense of belonging, for example, by sending the new employee a welcome kit. This could include a company t-shirt, mug, pencil or polo shirt with a personalized message.

Avoid boring Power Point presentations and opt for team-building activities, animated videos, and interactive group conversations to bond and encourage participation.

You can make use of the following digital tools during virtual onboarding:

  • To simulate onboarding as if we were physically in the office, make use of virtual offices such as: Sosoco, Welo and Kumospace
  • Send the new team member a welcome Kudo Card thanking them for being part of the company
  • Have meetings during the first day of work with virtual reality: 3D Immersive Collaboration and MeetinVR

Grow your team successfully and achieve even greater employee engagement by carrying out an effective recruitment process. Our Hire Great People module is part of the Agility in HR Workshop.

3: Assign a mentor to each new employee for the virtual onboarding

The mentor is a highly experienced employee who will be there to help the new employee integrate and develop their skills and temperament in the position and within the organization. It is important to schedule a video conference or phone call between the mentor and the new hire on the first day of work.

4: Set expectations during virtual onboarding

Schedule a video conference or phone call for the employee’s first day to set expectations. Review the responsibilities, goals, and expectations of the position and explain how your role contributes to the success of the company. Talk to the new hire about key issues such as work hours, time management practices, the organization’s digital culture, career development, and how performance is measured.

Read on: Remote Leadership Do’s and Dont’s

5: Promote interaction and communication during remote onboarding

During the first few days on the job, use video conferencing to help introduce the new hire to key members of the company and their team. These presentations should generally be short, but they are very important in helping employees feel welcome. Have some questions ready to start a conversation and allow the team to get to know each other. Then schedule regular virtual meetings between remote workers and their coworkers.

If you are going to manage a business, you have to understand the different personalities, interests and individual needs that come together to make up your team. Our Individuals & Interactions module is part of the Agility in HR workshop.

6: Ask for feedback during and after remote onboarding

Schedule regular calls or video conferences to check in with new hires and see how they are doing with their new role and remote work, and if they need additional training or clarification on workplace expectations. Here are some sample questions about what a supervisor can ask a new hire in the first 90 days.

  • How are you? How are you doing in the new job?
  • What do you like the most about the position?
  • Is the position / team / company as you expected?
  • Is there anything that surprised you? What is it?
  • Do you have all the tools and resources you need?
  • How is the relationship with your colleagues?
  • Do you feel excluded in any way?
  • Is there anything we should make available to new hires that we don’t?
  • What is going well and what is not going so well?
  • Do you have any questions about your position, the team or the company?
  • Can I do anything else as a boss?
  • What can I do to ease your transition into the new position?

Supervisors should also provide performance feedback immediately after a behavior they would like to reinforce or address. Also consider taking a more comprehensive evaluation (like every 90 days), especially during your first year on the job.

Interested in Agile HR topics? Read on: Why Companies Need their HR to be Agile

7: Recognize remote work

One of the complaints from remote workers, is that their work is not as valued or less visible than that of employees who work in the traditional workplace.

Recognize remote workers for their contributions according to the company’s desired culture, and praise them for their good work and publicly highlight their achievements.

8: Evaluate the success of the remote onboarding process

New hires’ feedback is one of the best ways to evaluate the success of the onboarding process. If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed. Ask remote workers and anyone else involved in the onboarding process, for feedback on their experience. Use online surveys to evaluate the experience of the first day of work and online surveys to follow up at 30 or 90 days.

Finally, I would like to share the experience of an excellent human resource professionals who was part of my Management 3.0 Online Agility in HR Workshop, who shared their experience with me on how she has achieved remote onboarding in their organizations:

Example of Remote Onboarding Best Practices

Katherine Ortiz is a Human Capital Analyst at Consulting Group de Costa Rica and tells us the following:

From the moment the pandemic started and the onboarding sessions increased remotely, I faced a series of important challenges, such as:

  • How to connect with people
  • How to know if they understand, if they were focused on the session, and/or if they show interest in the topics covered during the sessions.

All this led me to study, research and train myself on more tools that will help facilitate the induction sessions effectively, while ensuring a good experience.

Among the main strategies that I established and that have helped me during this process, is to talk about “feelings”, and transmit tranquility and confidence to the new person (in some cases this could be their first work experience, and working remotely can generate more anxiety). I try to be 100% focused on their well-being, provide support during their ramp-up process, taking into consideration that the onboarding session must be a continuous effort and have proper follow up and is not just a one-day session.

It is important that from day one, the new associate feels part of the culture, and that we show them how they can grow as a person and professional. It is essential to properly manage the amount of information provided, and combine it with playful activities, that allow for more fun and faster learning.

Another very relevant aspect when delivering onboarding sessions remotely, is to give continuous feedback, understanding that there are always opportunities for improvement. Receiving associate feedback in these early stages is crucial to understand how people felt during the sessions and if there were aspects that could be improve.

This approach and efforts will help us highlight the continuous improvement and company culture. The possibility to receive and work with new associates on their first day is a great opportunity and responsibility, which we must do with empathy, patience and humanity. All these factors will guarantee our colleagues have a good experience and can grow in the company.

Overview of all Management 3.0 Workshops
Overview of all Management 3.0 Modules
All upcoming Events

Header photo via Unsplash

Have you already read these?