Blog: Virtual onboarding in the new normal

Employee Relations

Virtual onboarding in the new normal

While firms like Dell and Marriot have been pioneers in this approach towards virtual onboarding, other companies like Mahindra and Mahindra, RBS, Flipkart and P&G are quickly hoping on to this bandwagon.
Virtual onboarding in the new normal

Welcoming an employee, newly joining your organization is easy when you can be present to do it in person. Their queries and concerns can be taken care of real time and the best employee experience can be delivered with ease. However, the present scenario is different. With social distancing and work from home becoming a necessity more than an option it is obvious that the approach towards induction and onboarding will also have to go through a paradigm shift from being face to face to becoming completely virtual. 

While firms like Dell and Marriot have been pioneers in this approach towards virtual onboarding, other companies like Mahindra and Mahindra, RBS, Flipkart and P&G are quickly hoping on to this bandwagon.  

Here are a few things to keep in mind while designing a virtual onboarding plan for your organization.

  • Equip new employees – The foremost thing to ensure before you start virtually inducting employees is to ensure that the necessary resources have reached them or are available with them. A steady internet connection, laptop / desktop being the basic requirements to start off with. Documentation will also need to be moved online. Ensuring that the Onboarding checklist is detailed and in place will lead to an uninterrupted employee onboarding experience.
  • Connect before you actually connect – Before you send them a formal induction schedule take some time out to connect with them over call / video call. With creches and schools not operating and additional responsibility of household chores all our schedules are haywire, connecting and getting clarity on their schedule before making the formal induction plan will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Avoid Information overload – Ensure that the induction is spread across to at least 3-4 days instead of covering all in one go in a day long session. Bombarding new joiners with too much information regarding company policies, values, goals etc will only end up overwhelming them. Its imperative to prioritize the information which needs to be shared and then share it in small bytes over a couple of days.
  • Involve the team – In the normal setting , the new joiners are introduced to team members face to face with everyone speaking a bit about their role in the team , however presently no one of us know when we will be able to psychically meet our colleagues. This should not stop the team in making the new team member feel welcome. Icebreakers with the team through video calling should be an essential part of virtual onboarding. Virtual lunches / coffee meets are a great way of catching up and breaking the ice informally. 
  • Engage them – Going through lengthy induction videos and presentations with too much information about the new organization can quickly become boring for any new joiner. Instead of following the traditional approach, it would be a good idea to include fun trivia/ pop quizzes in regular intervals to keep up interest levels. LinkedIn ups the engagement quotient by making its new joiners play a virtual scavenger hunt to find hidden treasures on the company website. Platforms such as Zoom allow for breakout of groups into 3-4, group discussions / case studies focused on the organization’s values /goals can be used to make the session interesting.
  • Ensure continuous Feedback – Most of us are new to virtual onboarding and the only way to improve the quality of the onboarding / induction process is to ask the new joiners what they liked or did not like about the session . A few good ideas may come up from the feedback received which can be utilized in the upcoming sessions.


New joiners are quick to form first impressions as soon as their formal interaction with various stakeholders starts. Their experience during the onboarding and induction process plays a crucial role in how they perceive the new organization. While it was relatively easier to ensure smooth induction while it was face to face, virtual induction may not be a cake walk to start of with.  As they say “Change is the only constant “, and we all know this change is here to stay. Therefore, it is time we adapt quickly and make virtual onboarding and induction the new normal.


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Topics: Employee Relations, #GuestArticle

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