Virtual Onboarding: Supporting New Hires
The onboarding process is a critical step in the overall recruitment journey and plays a crucial role in ensuring the the new candidate succeeds in their job. With remote and hybrid workplaces becoming the new normal, we need to adjust the recruitment process accordingly.
Creating an onboarding experience during covid means orienting new hires and making them feel welcome to make a lasting impact and get them excited to be part of the organization. It sets the tone for the rest of their career at the workplace and the HR department’s overall success.
You have to look for new and innovative ways to make the virtual onboarding experience positive as well as boost the overall productivity of the organization. Plus, it gives you insight into an otherwise overlooked recruitment process and helps you improve it even if you return to working from the office.
Make sure all employees are on the same page
While the current onboarding process may work for you, you must ensure that the way you get new hires up to speed will work well virtually. Since this is a new change, it will take some time to get your current staff used to it, but ensuring that all stakeholders are in the loop makes a huge difference. Keep open lines of communication, so everyone knows how the process will roll out.
Since new candidates joining the company won’t be in the office, you have to make sure they are informed and connected to the right people in their team. It’s your job to provide them with all the information and resources they need to be productive and aware of what lies ahead.
Create a balanced virtual onboarding experience
An onboarding week consisting of orientation activities and no real tasks about the new hire’s role will make them feel unproductive. This doesn’t mean you should reduce the onboarding period but spread out the activities throughout the week to get the new hire accustomed to their new workplace. For example, if your onboarding activities usually take a day or two, you can divide them into smaller sessions to avoid overwhelming the new candidate.
Start the virtual onboarding with the basics
All employees that work remotely need the right equipment to start working, and it’s your job as an employer to provide it. This includes all electronic items such as laptops, monitors, headsets, and welcome packs with employee branding. Send them all these items before their confirmed start date so they can set up their workspace beforehand.
Get the complete documentation to the candidate beforehand and get their signatures before their start date. If you plan to mail the documents to the candidate, make sure you do it at least 2-3 days before, or you can always use DocuSign to send the paperwork.
Focus on building connections with the candidates
Virtual or even physical onboarding should be interactive so that new hires stay connected and engaged during the process. You must find a way to ensure each step is personalized, have multiple breakout sessions, or conduct interactive polls and engage them on chat. This will give new hires a chance to mingle with each other and familiarize themselves with the overall culture at the workplace. You can even go the extra mile and send lunch and coffee to the candidate’s remote location as a welcome treat. It works well for your employer brand because new candidates are more likely to share this token of appreciation on their personal social channels.
Assign a virtual onboarding buddy
Some newly onboarded people might find it more challenging to settle into a new place, especially when they don’t know who to reach out for help. It’s always a good idea to introduce one point of contact to the new candidate to stay in touch and understand the company’s processes and overall culture. This person doesn’t have to be from human resources but can be anyone from a relevant function with enough experience and tenure to guide the new person. They can also help them get accustomed to whichever collaboration tool you use at the workplace.
Talk about your company values
New candidates are more likely to connect to your values, but just talking about them during a virtual onboarding session won’t cut it. Create a virtual handbook that talks about your values and include videos and events that celebrate your values in the orientation. For example, if giving back to society is something you practice as an organization, talk about your affiliations to some notable non-profits or share links of fundraisers at work.
Being aware of the onboarding process
Working remotely is more challenging for some people than others, and navigating the nuances of a remote work environment is tricky. However, you will be successful if you take an empathic approach and ensure that the onboarding process is smoother by making all possible help accessible to the new hires.