virtual onboarding

Virtual Onboarding: How to get it right

virtual onboarding
Starting a new job has changed dramatically. Even if the company isn’t working remotely and the usual processes haven’t changed too much, the usual shaking of hands and watercooler chats are now a thing of the past and don’t look likely to return in the near future.

It can be a nervous time for any new starter but also an exciting one! But how do you keep up the excitement of a new challenge for a new starter under the current circumstances?


Nail down the basics

Ensuring new starters have all the equipment they need isn’t as simple as it used to be, with restrictions changing all the time, remote working, returning to the workplace and ensuring a COVID-safe working environment.

New starters need all the right equipment to be able to do their job effectively but also safely.

Whether it’s a remote PC, a company branded face covering or an app on their phone, make sure your new starters have everything they need to hit the ground running safely.


COVID communication

Starting a new job can already be nerve-wracking even before you throw COVID into the mix. Make sure any anxieties around coronavirus safety are tackled immediately.

All your coronavirus safety procedures and protocols need to be clearly and effectively communicated. The clearer they’re made the more at-ease new starters will feel.

Its up to you to let your staff know how seriously you’re taking the coronavirus pandemic.

Make sure new starters know exactly where to go should they have any questions. If any questions do come up, review your virtual onboarding process and see if this can be made clearer for new starters in future!


virtual onboarding

Nice to virtually meet you!

Just as you would in the workplace face-to-face, get everyone together to introduce themselves to your new starter and make them feel immediately at home.

It’s a great opportunity too for a new starter to introduce themselves to the team and get a feel for the culture!

Try and set this up as soon as you can for your new starters. Even if it’s before they’ve officially started to help them hit the ground running!


Record a series of short videos

This isn’t quite as daunting as it sounds so hear us out!

Chances are you have lots of very long and probably quite boring documentation for your new starters to read.

Rather than have them sift through it all in isolation, create a series of videos where instead the documentation is read out making it more interactive and hopefully more interesting and engaging!

It doesn’t need to be rewritten and could even be condensed down. With less and less face-to-face interaction, a video from a friendly face will be much better received than simply being asked to read through pages of documentation.

You might reserve this specifically for your COVID safety guidelines so you can make use of demonstrations.

Simply set up a phone camera or record with a snazzy background on Zoom or Teams and read with a smile!


Set up a Facebook group

Having a Facebook group is a great way to keep people connected while remote working.

It’s also great for new starters too! They can immediately get a feel for the company culture and get involved.

You could even use it to set up group calls or meetings for group social activities such as coffee breaks to help encourage people to interact with the group and use it more regularly.

For new starters, this is a great way to make them immediately feel part of the team!


virtual onboarding

Regular catch-ups

Set out a plan to have regular video calls to catch up and help new starters integrate.

Having a plan shows clear intent to help new starters as much as possible in integrating and becoming part of the team!

Whether it’s with HR, line managers or both, make sure your new starters don’t start to feel isolated.


Clear lines of communication

It’s a busy old time for many, particularly if your business is expanding and taking on new recruits!

So, it’s important to let new staff know which is the best way to contact their managers and colleagues should they have any queries.

It might be by a Teams message in the afternoon or by an email in the morning, making sure your new staff feel comfortable communicating within the team is key.


Interdepartmental coffee breaks

This is important for all staff not just new starters, but its particularly helpful for new starters in feeling more comfortable and happier at work.

The usual face-to-face conversation in the workplace needs to be replicated virtually to help stop staff feeling too isolated.

Whether it’s helping staff satisfy that burning desire to talk about the football from the weekend or their new favourite TV show, scheduling regular catch-ups and coffee breaks can provide that social interaction we all desperately need.

Having interdepartmental catch-ups are also important. Some new starters may never get the chance to chat with colleagues from other departments without it. This will help them get an even better feel for the culture and feel even more integrated.


Mental wellbeing support

Make sure that early on your new staff know what mental wellbeing support they have available to them.

It’s been a challenging year mentally for many. Isolation and changing restrictions on remote working and returning to the workplace can have a significant impact on your employees’ mental health.

Make sure your new starters know how seriously you’re taking their mental wellbeing and what steps you’ve put in place to ensure all your staff are as happy as they can be under the current circumstances.


Onboarding is tough right now for everyone involved, whether It’s HR, managers or the new starters themselves. But the buzz of a new start in a new role needn’t be affected! The more creative you get with your onboarding process, the better!