In these times of social distancing, human resources departments have moved to virtual onboarding. But to provide a superb onboarding experience, you need a structured plan that addresses specific challenges, such as the inability to meet and greet new employees physically.
Employee experience is a key determinant of an organization’s success and how true they are to their values. Onboarding new employees is a very important part of company culture as it sets the tone for what the employee can expect at the organization in his/her tenure. With this in mind organizations should adapt to a virtual onboarding process for assured employee success. Of course, the current health crisis meant that companies have to scale their virtual onboarding programme to include all new joinees across locations.
Here are some tips on how to successfully plan virtual onboarding programmes.
- Create pre - onboarding material: While waiting to initiate the onboarding process on a new employee, providing training material to make them work ready will be beneficial. Platforms like Trailhead, a free online learning platform can upskill new employees before they join the workforce.
- Design an employee journey map: The excitement of being a new employee can quickly fizzle out or get confusing if the onboarding programme isn’t structured with clear milestones and expected outcomes. Have a system in place that keeps onboarding teams, hiring managers and new hires on track with must-do tasks such as mandatory training, administrative processes, key 1:1 meetings, reviewing leadership goals and finally, charting personal goals.
- Use technology to streamline your virtual onboarding: You can still welcome your new hires by having virtual meet-and-greets using tools such as Google Meet. Also look at building an online portal with resources for new joinees. This can help people collaborate securely at work, establish networks, share files and status updates. You can use Chatter to create onboarding groups that help new employees ask questions and share ideas.
- Establish a strong support system: Even at the best of times, the onboarding experience can get intense for new employees, especially for those straight out of college. Remote induction only increases this intensity. And in the ongoing crisis, managing a remote workforce presents a new set of challenges. Periodic communication helps reassure new employees, especially in the current times.
- Communicate your company’s culture: Here, the senior leadership team and company veterans play a key role; have them narrate the story of their own journey within the company; the challenges and opportunities. Hearing this first-hand (even virtually!) will give the new employee insights into and bring them closer to the company culture.
- Keep your onboarding sessions short: WFH is part of the new normal. But this also means juggling household chores, caring for parents and children, and pet duties, while completing the mandatory online training. Try to keep your onboarding session as short and focused as possible so that the new hire doesn’t feel stretched and overwhelmed.
- Gamify the onboarding experience: Just because your employees can’t meet their peer group in person doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Gamify the onboarding experience. Have live word clouds. Conduct live polls to engage the audience. Have fun photo sessions and tag all the new employees.
- Build an exhaustive information hub: The amount of information a new hire needs to digest can be overwhelming, and when this is spread across different sources, it becomes mind-boggling. Having a single resource related to the entire onboarding process can play a huge role in the effectiveness of the programme.