10 Ways to Instantly Improve Virtual Onboarding

Categories: Global Teams

For both managers and employees, the onboarding process can be long and tedious. It’s a long process. There is new software to install, new protocols to study, and a dizzying array of new guidelines, best practices, and logistics to consider.

Adding to the headaches these days? The modern trend towards virtual work. This rise, driven by new technologies, busy schedules, and even global events like the coronavirus outbreak—has upended many traditional office processes. 

The onboarding process is no different. The question of “How to onboard a new hire?” has never been trickier. In the modern work environment, managers may face the challenge of orienting and integrating a new hire into a company from thousands of miles away in a process called either “virtual onboarding” or “remote onboarding.” Now, the question for HR leaders and other managers is “How to train remote employees.” 

So, what are the virtual onboarding best practices for their new employees?

Here are 10 best practices for virtual onboarding training:

Overprepare for your new employee.

One of the best practices for onboarding new employees in this environment? Overprepare. When working in a virtual environment, it’s much easier for details to get missed. This problem gets quadrupled when an employee is new and is trying to absorb so much over a short period. Creating detailed guidance (even if it feels overly detailed to some) can pay off down the line. Try leveraging tools like Asana boards to keep track of items, help with prioritization, and keep an eye on progress with online onboarding.

Fill downtime with self-study items.

Create a list of “self-study” items (documents, essential articles, websites, competitors’ information) to fill those breaks in the schedule during the new employee onboarding process flow. This will also help to break up the monotony of constantly being on calls.

Schedule a face-to-face webcam introduction with the team.

One of the critical virtual onboarding tips? Let your new employee get an early interaction with the essential members of your team. It’s a great way to get everyone familiar with each other.

Set up virtual meetings with crucial company figures and colleagues.

Give your employee a list of some of the critical people they’ll be working with outside your specific team, and have them set up some virtual meetings. Craft a few starter questions for them to help break the ice and kick off conversations.

Connect them to other virtual colleagues.

Set up some time for your new employee to talk to other colleagues that also work virtually. They can share tips, insights, and strategies, and will also be a valuable resource to each other in the future.

Check-in on them regularly.

When putting together your thoughts on how to train new employees virtually, keep this in mind: Try to schedule one-on-one meetings with your virtual employee a bit more frequently than you would with a colocated one – at least for the first few months of their tenure. This type of communication will be valuable going forward.

Identify an off-hour “mentor.”

This is especially important for the supervision of an employee in a different time zone. Pick out a “mentor” for virtual onboarding programs that’s close to their specific time zone that your remote employee can go to for any pressing questions, concerns, or worries in those hours when you may be offline.

Document everything!

It’s essential to provide your new hire written documentation of everything important, like job-specific processes and procedures, for virtual onboarding activities. Don’t rely on “in-your-head” knowledge when the employee is in another location.

Use your internal experts. 

Don’t let your employee get fatigued by one voice throughout virtual meetings! Try to bring in a combination of different voices. If you need to onboard them for an internal system, see if one of your team’s “professionals” at that tool can lead the onboarding. This is a critical aspect of virtual onboarding and the new hire experience. 

Rethink your budget.

Consider budgeting for virtual lunch with your new hire and your team. Allocate each team member a certain amount of money they can use to buy lunch, and then have everyone enjoy a meal together on a video conference.

Three key takeaways to know

How do you prepare for virtual onboarding?

Overprepare for the new hires. Schedule self-study items for a person’s downtime. Be sure to put a face-to-face webcam introduction with the rest of the team on the schedule. Oh, and be sure to put them in touch with other virtual colleagues.

How do companies do virtual onboarding?

Companies do virtual onboarding in a variety of different ways, depending on their culture and other logistical factors. However you do it, it’s essential that the process remains inclusive, engaging, and comprehensive.

What is virtual onboarding process?

The virtual onboarding process encompasses everything that a new employee needs to know—delivered over virtual applications and programs instead of the traditional in-person onboarding.

Looking for more tips on how to adjust to the “new normal” workplace?