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5 Tips to Up Your Virtual Onboarding Game

Published: June 30, 2020 In: Remote Hiring

Employee onboarding is more than paperwork. It’s the important process of literally bringing a new hire on board at your organization. Considering most employees decide whether they want to stay in an organization within 1 week of starting, creating a welcoming onboarding process is critical. 

But today, organizations face a new challenge. They need a way to make new employees feel welcome virtually. With the normal office vibe, handshakes or hugs, the office tour, the decorated cubicles no longer an option, how do we start developing a beautiful employment relationship while we all work from home? These 5 tips can help. 

Remote Work Perks and Office Supplies 

When your new hire signs their offer letter, make sure to communicate next steps and onboarding logistics. Preparing answers to frequently asked questions in advance will ease new job anxiety. Some of the most frequently asked questions new remote employees have is related to perks and office supplies. “How do I get my computer?” “What computer will I get?” “Do I need to order it myself or will someone send it to me themselves?” “When will it come in?” “Will I get a stipend to set up a home office?” “If I need a corporate phone, how should I manage that or should I expense my current phone?” To make sure employees are up to speed and comfortable leading up to their first day, be proactive and get the ball rolling prior to day one. 

Get the First Day Greeting Right 

Speaking of day one, one of the most uncomfortable aspects of starting a new job virtually is simply showing up. New hires have so many questions usually starting with “When do I arrive?” and “What do I do now?” Set up a game plan for hiring managers to welcome new, virtual employees the same way they would in the office. Start with a phone call or video meeting and have Hiring Managers “walk” employees through what their day and week one should look like. 

Introduce Your New Employee to the Team

Although remote work has plenty of benefits, one of the drawbacks can be loneliness. That’s why facilitating introductions, conversations, and collaboration among new team members can help new employees not only get up to speed in a new role, but can also help them make new friends as well as feel engaged and connected to the team. 

Prior to day one, managers should notify teammates that a new hire will be starting. Writing a nice introduction email or Slack announcement to share the good news and fun facts like where the person grew up, what foods they like, and any hobbies or interests they have can break the ice and allow for some natural conversation starters when the teammate finally does join. 

Then, on a new team member’s first day, the manager should not only greet the new hire with a warm welcome meeting, they should also virtually introduce the employee to the larger team and start side conversations with key team members they need to know. Just because someone is working from home does and should not mean that there is no office tour. It simply means it needs to be virtual.

Facilitate Company Training 

In terms of company training, make sure that any training given is absolutely critical, has a specific purpose, and is up to date. Don’t just dump hours of old company videos onto new hires to watch on their own. This will lead to instant disengagement and information overload. Providing only up-to-date and essential learning and training materials will create a much easier learning and onboarding experience.  

Even more, make sure that you’re giving new hires the proper time to complete the training. Employees will feel rushed and anxious if they are given days worth of content to learn in hours. 

Further, we talk a lot about personalizing the hiring process. That should continue with onboarding. Understand that everyone has a different and unique learning style. Providing options that are suitable for different learning styles can really make a new hire feel welcome. 

Send Goodies

When starting a new job, one of the most exciting times is showing up to your desk and finding a personalized, handwritten welcome note from your new manager along with company swag and goodies. Just because an employee is virtual doesn’t mean you still can’t create that same welcome experience and gift basket. Create and mail a gift basket and welcome note that includes fun things like some personalized business cards, a company t-shirt or jacket, a water bottle, and maybe even some pens or stickers. Bonus points if the gifts tie into company values or include invitations to company interest groups. This will really make any new hire feel embraced from day one. 

Onboarding is an important part of the Talent Acquisition process. Making sure to follow simple and easy best practices can make a big difference in making new, remote employees feel welcome in any organization. 


Tags: Remote Hiring

Written by: Micole Garatti

Micole Garatti is the Marketing Manager at Talview, the founder and CEO at SocialMicole.com, and the author of The Most Inclusive HR Influencer List. She's passionate about making the HR and Influencer communities more diverse and creating space for new voices in the industry. She has her MBA from William and Mary and a BA in English from the University of Florida.

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