There was a time when onboarding employees meant welcoming them on the office premises, showing them around, introducing them to everyone, and teaching them the ropes of a new environment face to face. But today, thanks (no thanks, in fact) to the pandemic, all of that has changed dramatically. Like many other work processes, onboarding has gone online. So, what will it entail? How beneficial will it be? How to go about it? To get answers to these questions and more, read on.
What is Virtual Onboarding?
Virtual onboarding is the digitization of conventional hiring and onboarding processes to make them more suitable for remote employees. In virtual onboarding, companies make use of online tools and solutions to conduct assessments, shortlist candidates, take interviews, create a talent pool, and do everything that is done in traditional methods to incorporate new employees into the workforce.
While working remotely is easier for people who are already in a company, employees who have just joined can find it challenging to understand the company culture without a proper, dynamic and informative onboarding process.
Adapting with the New Normal
The pandemic has forced businesses to introduce change in different traditional processes. Employee hiring and onboarding perhaps saw some of the biggest changes as the pandemic halted in-person interviews. Companies had to search for newer ways to reach out to candidates, conduct interviews, and get them to onboard as seamlessly as possible.
Which is why, virtual onboarding has emerged as a viable solution for companies to adapt to the changing business dynamics and welcome new hires remotely. Moreover, employees are getting accustomed to working from the comfort of their homes and are likely to choose a company that provides virtual hiring rather than driving to their office to give a personal interview. This makes virtual onboarding important if you want to hire the best employees for your company regardless of where they are situated.
Also Read: Best practices for New hire Onboarding
How Virtual Onboarding is More than an HR Trend
Although current business scenarios call for virtual onboarding, this trend might be here to stay. Companies appreciate the benefits virtual onboarding has over traditional practices and have either fully incorporated it into their hiring process or are in the midst of a major overhaul.
Here are some benefits of virtual onboarding:
We are in the middle of a global pandemic and physical distancing has become fundamental to ensure everyone’s safety. Hiring employees remotely enables both parties to stay safe and yet go through the hiring process.
Greater employee engagement
According to The Wynhurst Group, a Virginia based Human Resource consulting firm, ‘4% of new employees leave a job after a disastrous first day’. Creating a tailored onboarding experience with a virtual tour of the company, gamified learning modules, Q&A sessions, customized about-me forms, bite-sized content to bring them up to speed, and conversation with the CEO, keeps the employee engaged and makes them feel welcome.
Faster time to productivity
Virtual onboarding enables new hires to complete a lot of mundane tasks that can be overwhelming and boring. Instead of being excited about their new job, they might feel bogged down by due processes. Through virtual onboarding, all the arduous tasks can be spread out over a week or a month, allowing the employee to have greater control over them. Employees will then feel more connected and take less time to gel with the company
culture and start being productive. Click Boarding, an onboarding software company found that organizations with a standard onboarding process experience only 50% new hire productivity.
Huge scope to find talent
With remote working becoming a kind of standard across the world, virtual hiring methods will open the door to more talented candidates, no matter where they are. There are several online platforms and job portals from where you can create a pool of desirable candidates and select the ones that fit the required profile best.
Time and cost-saving
One of the biggest advantages of virtual onboarding is its flexibility. Businesses can deploy hiring solutions as per their size and requirement and make them as sophisticated as they want. They can even use free solutions for some or all of the processes involved in typical hiring, which is ideal for companies on a tight budget.
Faster support and problem resolution
Traditional hiring methods require a lot of physical intervention and record-keeping that makes it difficult to track and amend any mistakes that occurred during the process. Online methods, however, are easier to comprehend and mistakes in mail sending, interview scheduling, result announcement, and more can be rectified swiftly.
Virtual Onboarding Process
A typical onboarding process can be divided into three phases:
Prejojning Day -10 - once a candidates accepts an offer we need to start engaging them virtually to ensure they actually show up for the job
To ensure smooth and successful onboarding of new talent, companies should start by making a great first impression before an employee joins for their first day.
Start by sending a welcome message from their manager.
One of the best virtual onboarding ideas is to create a guide of simple dos and don’ts and what to expect on their first day. This can ease some of the pre-joining jitters they might have.
This is also a great time to clear up formalities and due processes like filling out forms, informing them about policies, leave structure, company culture, and more.
Inform new employees about the kind of technologies and solutions they’ll be using at your company. Share tutorials about them as well so that they don’t waste precious time on learning things after joining.
Gifts are a nice way to say ‘welcome’ to any new employee. Sending a ‘welcome pack’ with company merchandise excites them and instills a sense of belonging as well.
The first day at a new company is always a mixture of different emotions for any employee. So, the company needs to make sure that the first day of the employee is memorable as it will inspire them to give their best right
from the start.
Introduce them with their teammates and colleagues and foster personal connections so that they don’t feel left out.
Set clear goals and expectations so that they have an idea of what is required from them. Around 48% of employees left their companies after a short while due to unrealistic expectations, according to a research by
Ask the new employee to fill in a personalized ‘about me’ questionnaire so that everyone becomes slightly familiar with their new teammate.
Provide them with training content they can complete at their own pace.
Show how grateful and excited you are to start working with them and let them know that their contribution means a lot to your company.
Day 1 onwards
Now that the employee has officially joined your company, it is important that they don’t feel too overwhelmed by all the initial processes.
Spacing out and giving employees greater control over the completion time of such processes can go a long way when it comes to employee retention.
Scheduling regular catch-ups and bonding sessions can also help new employees to feel more comfortable.
Allocating a mentor or a buddy also helps the employee to settle in and become productive quickly.
Virtual onboarding is still a new concept for a lot of companies and no one has a blueprint that says which methods work and which don’t. Organizations are still making things up as they go. So, it is important to figure out what’s best for your company specifically. Remember that face-to-face interviews are slowly losing their grip and the mainstream method of hiring and onboarding employees can become a thing of the past even after this pandemic subsides and everything goes back to normal.
And if you are wondering how to improve the onboarding process, familiarize your employees with your company culture, and train them quickly by offering bite-sized content or microlearning solutions, contact us for a demo today!