Today, working from home has become our new norm. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 56 percent of the workforce works virtually, and companies are still trying to adjust to these new practices.

And one of the most impacted practices is hiring and onboarding. Companies are still hiring new employees, but integrating them into a virtual workforce has been a steep learning curve. Hence, it’s essential to streamline your virtual onboarding process.

In the past, standard onboarding practices involved in-person meetings, orientations, and networking opportunities. Today, however, doing all these things remotely is not feasible for many companies.

But with a few adjustments, you can get your new employees up to speed quickly and efficiently. Below are ways you can make your virtual onboarding process as effective as your in-person ones:

1. Set Clear Expectations

Virtual Onboarding Process

Once you find the right candidate to fill the position, it’s essential to set clear expectations and communicate them. The process involves being clear about the company culture, the team dynamic, and the goals and objectives.

It’s also important to be clear about their role within the company and what is expected of them. By setting clear expectations, you can avoid any confusion or misunderstanding down the road.

Keep in mind that your new employee has a lot of learning to do. They need to learn about the company, the team, their role, and how to do their job. Make sure you give them the time and resources to learn everything they need to know.

2. Set the Right Tone

When hiring virtual employees, keep in mind that the things you do and say from the onset will have a lasting impression. Your tone will impact how the new employees settle into their new workplace.

This is the time to create an excellent first impression of your company and help new hires understand what your business is all about.

You should also ensure that the employees feel welcomed, valued, and supported from the first day. You can do this by taking the time to make necessary introductions and create a welcoming environment.

Take advantage of digital meeting tools like Zoom and Google Meets to communicate with your team effectively.

Also, evaluate your company culture and determine what tone you want to set with the new team members. That way, you can consistently work towards maintaining that culture with every new employee.

3. Share the Required Paperwork in Advance

One of the simplest virtual onboarding ideas is to share all the paperwork with your new employee before they report to work on their first day. This way, new hires can fill it out at their leisure and have it ready before reporting to work.

You can email the paperwork or post it in a shared Google Drive folder. Either way, make sure all the necessary forms are included, such as:

  • The employee handbook
  • I-9 or W-4 forms
  • Direct deposit information
  • Emergency contact form

This virtual onboarding method will help your new hire feel prepared before reporting to work. It will also remove some of the paperwork burdens off your shoulders.

Likewise, it will save you and your new hire time on their first day. Plus, it’s one less thing for them to worry about as they start their new job.

4. Onboard New Hires in Groups

Onboarding in groups will make the whole process less stressful for your new hires. It will also help them feel more comfortable with their colleagues as they learn about the company culture. Plus, it can be a lot of fun!

The first step to onboarding in groups is to ensure everyone is on the same page. Schedule a video call or webinar for all of your new hires before their first day.

During this meeting, go over the company’s policies and procedures and your expectations for their role.

You can also assign each new employee a “buddy” to show them around and answer any questions they have. The buddy system is a great way to get everyone involved. It also helps your new hires feel like part of the team.

5. Consider Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning creates opportunities for your remote employees to learn from each other. Instead of new hires relying on you or another manager to provide all the training and information, you can set up a system where employees can help each other grow.

The method is beneficial if you have a team of employees located in different parts of the world. You can use online tools to create a collaborative learning environment, such as Google Docs or Slack.

Virtual collaborative learning can help reduce the amount of time you will spend training each new hire. It also creates a sense of community and camaraderie among your team members. Finally, it can help new hires learn from the experiences of other employees.

If you want to use collaborative learning for your virtual onboarding process, ensure you create clear guidelines for how employees should work together. You also need to provide training and support for new employees to the system. Lastly, ensure that the system is accessible to all employees.

6. Train Your Managers on the New Virtual Onboarding Methods

Train Your Managers

Just because your company is remote doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing onboarding process. Creating a great employee experience is key to attracting and retaining the best talent. And who better to do this than the heads of departments and managers?

Ensure your managers are well-trained on the new virtual onboarding methods. They should be comfortable using your preferred video conferencing software.

Creating a training program for your managers will save you time and energy in the long run.

You should also train them on how to communicate with remote employees effectively. They need to know how to give clear instructions and provide feedback virtually.

Additionally, they should be aware of the different time zones of their team members and plan accordingly.

7. Schedule Regular Check-Ins With New Employees

It’s easy for new employees to feel lost or isolated when joining a company virtually. Consider scheduling regular check-ins to help them feel supported and connected to their team.

Through weekly video calls, emails, or even Slack messages, you can do this. Checking in will help ensure that they feel comfortable with their work and have the resources to succeed. It will also ensure they are on track with their goals.

Check-ins offer employers an excellent opportunity to see how employees are adjusting to the job and answer any questions they may have. It’s also a chance to provide feedback and help them set goals for the upcoming week.

8. Create a Remote-Friendly Culture

Promoting a remote-friendly culture is a great way to improve your virtual onboarding process. You can do this by ensuring your team members feel like part of the company culture, even if they’re not in the office every day.

Promoting a remote-friendly culture means holding regular team meetings, either in person or via video conference. This will help everyone stay up-to-date on company news and developments.

It also gives remote employees a chance to socialize and connect with their colleagues. You can also promote a remote-friendly culture by creating social media groups for your employees. They can use the group to connect and share information about their work lives.

You should also offer remote employees the same benefits as your in-office employees. This includes health insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid time off.

Your remote employees will feel like they’re part of the team and not just an afterthought by offering these benefits.

9. Provide Access to Key Business Tools

During the onboarding process, you should provide your new employees with the same business tools used by employees in the office. This includes everything from project management software to customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.

By providing access to these tools, you can help your remote employees stay organized and connected to the rest of the team. It also shows that you’re invested in their success and want them to be able to do their job effectively.

10. Create a Dedicated Onboarding Schedule

An onboarding schedule is a road map for your new hire’s first few weeks or months with the company.

This schedule should include all the tasks that need to be completed, who is responsible for each task, and the timeline for completing these tasks. These programs support new employees and teach them essential skills to succeed in their new jobs.

According to a report, a new employee takes an average of eight months to become fully productive and proficient. Unfortunately, most businesses create an onboarding schedule that only lasts three months.

This means your new employees will go five months without the support and resources they need to integrate into the workplace effectively.

By having a dedicated onboarding schedule, you can ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Your new employees will also have a smooth transition into their new roles.

11. Use an Onboarding Software

There are a few different software programs you can use to help with your remote onboarding process. These programs will help keep everything organized and streamlined so you can focus on other aspects of running your business.

From remote I-9 verification software to onboarding checklists, these programs can help make your life easier.

With many software options on the market today, ensure you take time to research and find the right one for your company.

There are numerous features you should look for in an onboarding software program. These features include:

  • The ability to track and manage tasks
  • A way to set deadlines
  • The ability to assign roles and responsibilities
  • Communication tools
  • Reporting and analytics capabilities

Once you find the right software for your business, be sure to take advantage of all its features. Utilize it to its fullest potential to help make your remote onboarding process as smooth and successful as possible.

12. Give Your Employees Breaks

Onboarding a new remote employee can be challenging. You want to ensure they have all the information they need, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them.

An excellent way to strike this balance is to give your employees breaks throughout the onboarding process. Let them take some time to absorb what they’ve learned before moving on to the next task.

This will help your employees feel less overwhelmed. It will also allow you to check in and make sure they understand the material.

Breaks are also a good time for employees to ask questions or voice any concerns about the onboarding process.

So don’t be afraid to give your remote employees a few breaks during onboarding. It will help them (and you) in the long run.

Be Proactive

13. Be Proactive and Engaging

Most HR managers and onboarding coordinators are not intentional and proactively involved in the onboarding process.

Often, the manager will give the new employee a laptop, desk, and a seat, which is the end of their involvement. The new employee is just expected to “figure it out.”

This is a huge and costly mistake. Leaving your new remote employee to fend for themselves is a surefire way to lose them.

A study by the Human Capital Institute found that 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they had a great onboarding experience.

Managers need to be proactive and engage with their new employees from day one. This means being available to answer questions, providing resources, and helping the new employee feel welcome.

It’s also important to keep in mind that each employee is different. Hence, they will have different onboarding needs.

Some may need more support and guidance, while others need more independence. The key is to be flexible and accommodating to each individual’s needs.

Are You Ready to Improve Your Virtual Onboarding Process?

Onboarding your new remote employees doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the simple tips above, you can set your business and new employees up for success.

With a bit of planning and effort, you can create a smooth and seamless virtual onboarding experience for everyone.

Did you like this article? Check out other posts on our website for more informative business tips.

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