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How to Design an Efficient Virtual Employee Onboarding Program

Perhaps you’re perplexed as to why your company’s new hire onboarding process isn’t as engaging and memorable as it once was. It’s due to the fact that the world has changed. Most firms’ virtual onboarding processes have been duct-taped together after COVID-19 and after over a year and a half of remote labor. To put it another way, what worked before the epidemic in 2019 is no longer relevant today.

Remote work will stay here, in the short and long term, with a majority of companies committing to a hybrid work style by 2021. People are seeking more flexibility to balance work and life obligations, and as a result, the majority of new hires will begin working remotely with your organization.

The Great Resignation, a result of the increased empowerment spreading through the labor market, has driven 4.4 million Americans to abandon their employment in September 2021 alone, which is perhaps the most pressing worry for employers today.

In the face of this immense change in the workplace, how can employers keep their employees? The benefits of upgrading the virtual onboarding process are significant. Companies that deliberate about integrating people from the outset have a happier and more productive workforce, lower attrition, and a greater rate of client retention.

What does a well-thought-out virtual onboarding strategy entail? Beyond protocols and paperwork, onboarding should be an organized, participatory, thought-provoking event that addresses the specific needs of the individuals you’ve hired.

So, how can you accomplish this while keeping a positive work environment? To begin, keep in mind that each program is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all or single approach to digital onboarding. It’s best to create a program that is tailored to your company’s needs and culture.

Here are ten pointers to help you establish a new digital onboarding program.

10 Steps to Create an Efficient Virtual Onboarding Program

Rethink your onboarding process

Assume you had a one-day program previously. You can now spread the programming out across a week, delivering it in lesser bursts over a more extended period. However, the expanded curriculum may clash with smaller, more technical training programs, such as engineering Bootcamp and sales training, which many new workers are expected to begin in week one.

So, the first thing you need to do is go over everything in the program again, asking three key questions:

  • Does it make people feel as if they joined the firm at the correct time?
  • Does it excite them about the company’s objective and vision and how their new role fits into it?
  • Is it assisting them in forming relationships that they will feel comfortable with?

Accept the fact that you can’t possibly communicate too much

People feel vulnerable in new settings. A new recruit may experience the same concern as a teenager experiencing a school change might: “How will I make friends when these individuals have all known each other for a long time?” A good onboarding program will calm nerves and assuage fears.

A manager can usually stop by a new hire’s desk on a regular basis to see how they’re doing. Managers can now communicate with their employees via email, chat, and videoconferencing. Both the practical and theoretical aspects of communication should be addressed.

Change your attitude

Forget about what traditional onboarding used to include, and instead focus on what will work for today’s discriminating employees. This is not a prescribed format or a management or human resources (HR) book; instead, it is a tailored initiative that reflects your strategic objectives and corporate culture at every stage.

Start with self-awareness

Take some time to analyze and evaluate where the firm is now and where you want it to go as one of your initial actions. This should include open, even anonymous, talks with employees to learn more about what they do on a daily basis. This data can be utilized to assist you in deciding how to build your onboarding program and, in the end, how to shape your corporate learning.

To obtain a sense of how new hires are doing, consider conducting regular surveys: Do they have a sense of belonging? Are they familiar with the mission and vision of the organization? Are they getting the resources they need to execute their jobs well? This is also a suitable opportunity to assess staff satisfaction, as well as what is working and what isn’t.

Leadership that is in sync

For a virtual onboarding program to be well-received and effective, company decision-makers must understand the importance of onboarding and be directly involved in defining the digital onboarding experience. Senior leaders will participate in this process by getting into the trenches with employees, experiencing what they do, and listening to and responding to any shared input.

Furthermore, the leadership team must “walk the walk” by being well-versed in the company’s core principles and promoting them frequently. Hearing things repeated again and over throughout the organization helps to develop consistency, much like a mantra.

Incorporate a sense of fun

Many educational theorists believe that when people learn something associated with strong positive emotions, they will remember it. However, how often have you heard that onboarding is tedious or uninteresting? You raise the level of learning and create the stage for individuals wanting to be a part of the organization by making the process engaging, social, and fun. Find out what interests and motivates new employees, and then add those entertaining parts into the onboarding process.

It’s crucial how you welcome new employees into your company. You’ve invested a considerable amount of time and money in finding these people. Now is the time to devote the same amount of effort to bringing them on board and preparing them for success.

Bring the culture in

Making remote hires a part of your culture will be more challenging – but just as crucial – as we have stated. You’ll want to teach them your values, mission, and workplace connection even if your physical culture doesn’t surround them.

One option is to assign a “cultural ambassador” to new workers who may organize video conferences with them to discuss less formal advantages, such as employee resource groups, volunteer time, and social activities, and how to make use of them.

A culture of onboarding that brings new workers from various functions together to develop professional connections and discuss new employee experiences. Set up video conferencing and an app channel for new hires from different departments to communicate.

Content should be updated

There is no need for us to tell you that Zoom fatigue exists. You don’t want to do it during the onboarding process with new hires. It’s critical to change your training strategy for virtual onboarding. Sessions should be more detailed, and the content type should be varied. More one-on-one discussions, PDFs, screen sharing, phone calls, and on-demand videos should be included.

Also, give yourself a little additional time for onboarding. Rather than dumping all of the material at once, spread it out over time. You may even provide new workers the option of working through some onboarding materials at their own pace and reporting back to you.

Begin early

By reaching out before the start date, many HR leaders and particular teams have welcomed new hires using appropriate virtual onboarding methods. They’d send recorded video messages, hold virtual group conversations, and have staff members email welcome notes.

One employer we know, for example, encourages employees who will be new hires’ team members to make a short video introducing themselves. (One person moved throughout the department videotaping everyone once they were all on site.) Another business arranges for the CEO to record a greeting.

Before the first day, HR at LinkedIn sends everyone an advice sheet that answers commonly asked (but rarely asked) questions like what to wear, bring, and expect on the first day. They also provide a link to the culture code, and its social platform and email contact for prospective hires to ask inquiries.

You might also offer personal messages and valuable tools to new remote hires shortly before they begin. Send setup instructions with the equipment you give, and a link to technical specifics such as the best bandwidth, security information, login information, and IT contacts.

Try to digitize the typical documents that need to be signed and schedule a video chat to go over them so you can see them. Read more: Open source learning management system

Obtain feedback

Like most HR-related aspects, virtual onboarding will need to evolve in tandem with the workplace. Over time, you’ll want to improve and align it with the company and personnel needs. As a result, you’ll require feedback. Find out what new hires think after being on the job for a while.

For example, the HR staff can send virtual onboarding “graduates” to a brief online survey to rate and remark on various aspects of the program. Leaders can also conduct a focus group to discuss what virtual hires liked, didn’t like, and still require.


Virtual onboarding is more than a one-day checklist; it can take weeks or months to complete. The good news is that you can develop a productive and happy remote workforce as long as you explain clear performance objectives, supply the appropriate technology, and encourage new hires to engage with their coworkers.

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