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Creating Your Blueprint for Virtual Onboarding

It has become increasingly clear to companies that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t going to interrupt business as usual for merely a few months. As cases once again increase in many areas of the country, the necessity to take health safety seriously is a top priority. Businesses now understand that getting back to any semblance of normalcy is going to be a long haul. In light of the need to practice social distancing to keep employees and customers safe, businesses continue to rely on remote work. As companies setting into the ‘new normal,’ they’re developing new protocols for hiring and training new employees. If your company is conducting interviews and hiring people via virtual platforms, use the following guide to create a virtual onboarding plan to ensure that you’re making the most of this unfamiliar new process.

Be Deliberate in Your Creation of a Virtual Onboarding Plan

In the first few months of the virus outbreak, many companies found themselves haphazardly using tech tools and other resources to communicate with employees and potential new hires remotely. Now, it’s time to be more mindful about creating a genuine process based on best practices. Creating a seamless procedure is essential as there are already enough challenges associated with remote work. Companies can set new hires up for success by getting their onboard process right and ensuring that new employees have the information they need to integrate into their new roles. This virtual onboard plan that your company creates will be the foundation for new employees to build on. Take time to create a compelling virtual onboarding process. Kelly Chuck, Associate Learning Partner at LinkedIn, suggests spreading the onboarding program out over a number of days to keep new hires more engaged and reduce stress for facilitators. 

Gather Your Tools and Resources

It’s essential to get the tech part precisely right as you develop your online protocols for onboard new hires. There are many applications–and new ones being developed all the time–that support remote workers and teams. Which ones are ideal for your business? Which platforms have the best tools for your teams? It makes sense to involve your IT department as well as HR staffers to help you research and evaluate the various applications you might use to meet online and provide virtual training for your new employees.

Moreover, you don’t want to have to jump from one platform to another because you find something you like better a month down the road. Remember, it’s important to train your current team in the use of these technology applications. Choose the ones you plan to rely on carefully to streamline your process.

Digitize Your Training Materials

New employees who are on training remotely don’t have the convenience of knocking on a door to get a quick answer to their question. They can make a phone call or schedule a meeting, but this isn’t always the most efficient way to ensure that employees have the information they need to perform their work. As you create your onboarding plan, be proactive, and create videos and online documents that can serve as guides and helpful resources for your new hires. They don’t want to be in a position to call into work for every question, so provide them with a comprehensive amount of information that’s easy to access and is appropriately organized.

Structure Your Meet Times

One or two online meetings aren’t likely to cut it when you’re meeting with new employees remotely. It’s crucial to invest time working on the onboard process and ensuring that your new people are comfortable and getting the training or guidance they need.  What are the essential aspects of your onboarding plan? Break these down and schedule them into daily meetings. You don’t want to overwhelm new employees by cramming too much information into one or two online sessions. As an example, schedule a week of morning meetings that focus on a different topic each day. Let employees reflect on what they’ve learned and then revisit the topic the next day to address those questions or concerns.

Focus on Engagements

It’s challenging to make a new hire feel part of the team when they’re working or training remotely. That’s why scheduling multiple meetings is essential. Include other staff members too so that your entire team gets familiar with the new employee, and they get familiar with your team. When employees are comfortable, they tend to feel more enthusiasm for their role and improve job satisfaction. That spells improved productivity for the company.

With this brief guide, you can begin to establish a general checklist of where to start and what you want to cover when you’re creating your virtual onboarding plan. Companies with an effective remote onboarding process will have better engagement, retention, and talent branding. Remember, there’s nothing that will turn new hires into a proud team member than noticing the extra effort to make them feel welcomed and valued.

Get in Touch with an Expert

At Barbachano International, we understand how important these human resource issues are for companies that operate globally. Feel free to contact us or visit our blog.

By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano

President and CEO of Barbachano International (BIP), the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas (USA, Mexico, Latin America, & Canada) with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets. Since 1992, BIP and its affiliates have served over 50% of Fortune 500 Companies and have been recognized by Forbes as a Top 40 executive search firm. We are member-owners of NPAworldwide – the recruiting network with allied offices in over 50 countries.  Outplacement and Executive Coaching services are provided by our sister company Challenger Gray & Christmas.


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