Onboarding is a crucial task to equip new hires to be productive from the early days of their job. The type of work the employee is hired for may stay the same, but the work style changes from one organization to another. It is one of the prime reasons for conducting the onboarding. Even a person with decades of experience needs to be introduced to the organisation’s methods, values and working style to perform at their higher potential.
As onboarding is an essential step, you can’t ignore it or skip it whenever you hire a new employee. The pandemic made the world work from home and also do the hiring remotely. That way, virtual onboarding became the solution that every organization was looking for.
Also Read: 4 major onboarding mistakes HR make with new recruits
What is the Virtual Onboarding Process?
As the name suggests, a virtual onboarding process is where employee onboarding is conducted virtually. Here new employees learn about the company’s culture and expectations. The onboarding process also gives new hires essential training to be more efficient from day one of their jobs.
That makes it faster for the employees to learn what kind of behaviours is expected and the tools and support they are likely to get for their work. The virtual onboarding process is usually conducted through video conference.
Virtual onboarding is another process that companies have to adapt to due to the pandemic. At the core, virtual onboarding is similar to traditional onboarding, where employees learn about organizational values as well as vision and mission. Here employees also get to know a few members of the management and their own team.
Stages of Virtual Onboarding
In the pre-onboarding process, many activities that are conducted between the acceptance of the offer by the candidate and their first day at work involve activities such as
- scheduling onboarding processes
- completing the formalities related to the documentation
- arranging the tools that the employee will need on their job
- helping employees with relocation and accommodation
- answering employee queries about their roles, responsibilities as well as benefits.
The orientation for the new hires starts on the first day of their official virtual onboarding and can go on for a few days to a few weeks. Here the employee is made aware of multiple things, such as,
- introduction to company vision and mission
- overview of the company culture
- official organization structure and hierarchy
- policies of the company
- assigning various IT tools and equipment
- understanding company culture and
- other standard processes to be followed.
3. Training with team and job role
At this stage, the employee gets a better understanding of their responsibilities and expectations of the company. The primary training for employees enables them to learn the best practices at work. Providing training for your new hires gives them a way to be productive at work from day one of the job.
- The new employees get to know their new team members
- Gain a detailed understanding of their job responsibilities
- Get familiar with the tools and software that will support them to work
4. Mentoring and Performance Review
This stage comes after a few weeks of the virtual onboarding process. The employee would have received a sufficient amount of training. That makes them familiar with the work responsibilities and output expectations.
- Employees get used to working as a part of the team for your company
- Trying to improve productivity significantly compared to their first day
You can have to set up in-person or virtual performance review meetings with your new hire.
5. Continuous Development
At this stage of virtual onboarding, a well-structured part of the onboarding ends. It can be a 60 or 90-day span from day one of the new hire. You can also encourage your employee to continue to learn in your company through other online training programs or from their mentor.
The duration of virtual onboarding varies according to the policies of the company. You don’t have to stop the learning and development effort for the new hire at a particular point. There is a way to make sure that the new employee continues to work on their productivity, as you can still set up meetings with your new hire to monitor their progress and help them grow.
How to Conduct a Virtual Onboarding Process?
When it comes to virtual onboarding, you need to start with participants in the video conference for the onboarding of a new hire. All the members, such as the company’s management, HR, and a few team members of the new employees, should be there so that your new employees get to know their team members along with learn about your company values.
When at least one of the team members is present in your virtual onboarding along with the HR, that makes the new employee feel more welcome and comfortable on their first day.
The length of the onboarding process depends on how much the company want to communicate with the new hires. As onboarding
- what is expected from employees in their new role
- the resources employees have to assist in their work
- introduction to the company’s management
- getting to know the team members and much more.
As numerous things can be included as part of onboarding, there is a need to give it a proper structure. The entire onboarding process can span from a few days to a few weeks. You need to create a schedule to ensure that the process is conducted in an orderly manner and your new hires stay engaged throughout the process.
That’s why onboarding is typically conducted in five stages. It might seem like the onboarding starts on the first day of an employee, while it starts way before employees get selected as they start to learn about the company during the hiring process.
Be Supportive and Welcoming
Irrespective of the company culture, your new hire is likely to feel hesitant on their first day at work. You can ensure that the new hires feel comfortable in your company by introducing them to the work culture. You have to make sure that they get all the information they need to work efficiently during their initial onboarding so they can meet company standards.
If your company is working remotely, your new hire may not get a chance to meet their team in person. That’s why you need to ensure that new employees feel welcomed by their team in virtual onboarding.
What are the Challenges in the Virtual Onboarding Process?
Virtual onboarding is still a relatively new process, and the employees, as well as companies, are getting used to it. The convenience and ease of virtual onboarding are growing with time as the tools for the same are evolving, and people are getting familiar with the concept. The process has its own set of challenges, and both employee and the employer have to find the solution for the same. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges listed below.
A virtual onboarding is conducted chiefly through video calls. The new hires might find it a little difficult to form a bond with people just through the virtual medium. The interaction and communication are often strictly formal and focused on work. That makes it furthermore challenging to build a personal bond with their colleagues.
The virtual onboarding should also aim to make them an essential part of the team. Along with that, knowledge transfer to new employees should go beyond the standard work processes and introduce them to the work culture.
In the same way, it also impacts the manager’s impression of the employee’s performance. Due to limited interaction on the video calls manager’s observations stay limited to the technical skills while the essential soft skills may not be so apparent.
Lack of Coordination
When it comes to onboarding employees through a virtual medium, they can learn only a few aspects of the working style and nature of the people they are working with. Many people find it easier to get to know people when they meet them in person as compared to virtual interactions.
The lack of understanding toward other people in the team often leads to poor coordination. It takes a new employee a little longer to understand how to communicate to find the best way to coordinate with your new team.
When the new hires have to learn all about their new work virtually, there is a possibility of miscommunication. You need to draft the onboarding process very carefully.
That helps the new employees get essential clarity on the work processes, behaviour and company policies during the onboarding process. That way, you can make it a point to ensure your new hire will get the necessary help in case they have any confusion. Thus, it can minimise the instances of misunderstandings.
Benefits of Virtual Onboarding
Virtual onboarding can help the company to introduce employees to the company’s communication strategy. That way, you can maintain the right type of communication in the team as well as organization in the future.
The training is crucial for new employees to be productive at their work from the first day of work. When employees get the right amount of training in the initial days, they do not have to waste time experimenting to find the best practices. That way, you save a lot of productive time and increase productivity.
The interaction with the team gives new hires a chance to get to know their team while working remotely. In the absence of onboarding, team interaction may stay limited to the official meetings, which doesn’t add much to the team spirit. While arranging for some team-building activities during the virtual onboarding can help new employees build connections with their peers.
The onboarding process allows the company to train the employees according to the role requirements. Here employees can get some online training courses that are customised according to their own requirements.
Virtual onboarding came as an essential replacement for the traditional onboarding of employees. Since it has to be done remotely with the help of virtual mediums, it took the candidate some time to get used to it. There are some stages to make onboarding more effective.
Like any other process, virtual onboarding has its own set of challenges and benefits, but as technology evolves, things are getting better consistently. Thus virtual onboarding stays a crucial element of the employee experience. It also ensures that the employee can be more productive from the initial days of their employment.