Virtual onboarding is quite a new employee experience, and a lot of companies are still trying to get the hang of it.

Whether your firm has recently gone remote or has been prospering as a remote company for years, your virtual onboarding process may certainly benefit from an improvement.

Hence, we have created an 8-step guide with four tips to help you. 

Let’s get into it!

Table of Contents

What is Virtual Onboarding?

3 Challenges of Virtual Onboarding

8-Step Process for Effective Virtual Onboarding

4 Tips for a Successful Virtual Onboarding

Download our Free Onboarding Checklist Template

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Virtual Onboarding?

Virtual onboarding is incorporating new hires into your company in a completely remote manner. 

This involves actions such as introducing them to their coworkers and equipping them with the necessary equipment and tools to perform their job.

Virtual onboarding comes with its own set of challenges.

Let’s see what those are.

3 Challenges of Virtual Onboarding

As you can probably imagine, virtual onboarding requires many new things to be learned compared to conventional and in-person onboarding.

Despite all of the processes that technology has made easier in the onboarding process, the absence of face-to-face connection is producing its own set of issues. 

Here are some of the most common issues you’ll encounter while onboarding remote employees:

 1. Providing access to tools

More than 90% of remote workers have had some kind of IT problem or permissions issue during virtual onboarding. 

Without the proper tools and access, a new hire’s first days on the job can be discouraging. Not to mention the loss of effort for both the person and the business.

It is quite simple to equip in-house personnel with the tools they need. 

You most certainly have computers, desks, seats, and other office supplies. 

You also have a well-stocked stationery cabinet, and if your new recruit has any problems with equipment or software, help is readily available – whether from the IT department or a peer.

However, remote employees who are being onboarded remotely don’t have that same access.

Plus, leadership has limited insight into their virtual space and will be unaware of what they’re missing. 

If a new recruit feels concerned about asking many questions, they can wind up purchasing their own supplies, which can generate anger and feelings of alienation.

2. Developing connections

16% of remote workers say the most challenging issue they experience at virtual work is feelings of isolation

Image Source: Buffer

Remote employees don’t have the same opportunities as their on-site colleagues, such as starting up a discussion while brewing coffee in the break room. 

Employers should assist remote workers in developing a feeling of belonging, beginning with the virtual onboarding process.

Let’s look at the third challenge.

3. Efficient communication

Many parts of good communication can be lost due to a lack of face-to-face contact. 

According to Buffer, 41% of remote employees find their methods of communication have changed. 

Hence, you must develop good means of communication right from the start of your remote onboarding experience. 

Image Source: Buffer

For one thing, it will be difficult to read nonverbal signs during candidate interviews and encounters with new employees.

As a consequence, many subtle impressions and messages can be missed.

Avoid these issues by investing in dependable and user-friendly communication tools – such as Slack or Asana – for your company. 

A video conferencing system that allows you to see your candidates’ faces during interviews is a must-have tool. This can be used to recreate the environment of a typical face-to-face, sit-down interview.

Let’s move forward with our 8 steps for effective virtual onboarding.

8-Step Process for Effective Virtual Onboarding

Whatever occurs in the world, your remote onboarding process must proceed well. 

We have compiled a list of steps to help you keep things intact.

 Step #1: Highlight your company’s culture and ideals

When it comes to keeping people happy and engaged, an organization’s culture plays a very vital role.

According to LinkedIn research that included over 3,000 US workers, 70% would quit a top firm if it had a terrible culture.

Approximately 71% of people would accept a pay cut to work for a firm that matches their values and has a goal that they value.

Leaders should engage with each new team member and make sure they know their contributions have a substantial influence on the performance of their business unit.

If people believe they are significant and play a role in the company’s success, they will naturally acquire a stronger feeling of responsibility for the team. 

This emotion will motivate them to perform better and work more effectively with the rest of the group.

You should remember how important it is to recognize employees for their hard work and successes, not only as a supervisor, but also as a colleague.

Step #2: Be spontaneous

Informal coffee break conversations, elevator meetings, and minutes spent waiting for a meeting are great chances for new hires to feel welcomed and engaged. 

Although the spontaneity of such moments is hard to replicate remotely, hiring managers can prepare purposeful alternatives to foster the social settings and subtle indications that say so much.

Maintain simplicity while seeking chances for your new recruits to get to know their surroundings. 

Starting each virtual meeting with a check-in or icebreaker is a simple yet effective way to include social time into an onboarding schedule.

This can include asking each participant to share their finest work-from-home trick or a destination they’ve always wanted to visit. 

Once you’ve gotten to know your new colleague a bit better, you can start asking targeted questions during check-ins, which will allow them to share their experiences and contribute value to the next meeting. 

Take it a step further by organizing one-on-one meetings with extended virtual team members and hosting a group check-in exercise. 

Don’t forget to include social activities, and take a break from work-related subjects to steer the conversation in a different direction.

Our third step is to use nudges and checklists.

 Step #3: Use nudges and checklists 

It’s common for new employees to get sidetracked from their onboarding and training, particularly when they’re training remotely.

Use checklists of onboarding tasks to help keep individuals focused and involved, and don’t be hesitant to push them every now and again.

This can be as easy as arranging onboarding notifications or using your preferred project management application.

In any event, checkpoints and nudges provide visual success indicators for learners… as well as encouragement.

Step #4: Encourage cooperation 

When new teammates freely cooperate on a platform that is open to all members, they begin to create a deeper and more cohesive relationship. 

It’s as if they’re all in the same boat, focusing on a comparable issue that, if solved, would benefit them all equally. 

This link motivates them to work together toward common objectives. 

Moreover, it allows them to cooperate effortlessly and ultimately dissipate the obstacles and gaps generated by physical distance. 

On that note, according to Harvard Business Review, individuals care more about their team than the business for which they work; it is the strength and cohesion of your team – not the culture of your organization – that matters the most.

Step #5: Incorporate eLearning 

Among other things, it’s a good idea to include some virtual training videos, webinars, and other material that will bring genuine value to your new hires.

This can include teachings about your company’s mission, values, and culture, as well as vital corporate standards and regulations.

Including a self-paced eLearning aspect in your new hire program offers various advantages, the most notable of which is that it is accessible, on-demand, and can be accessed at any time on any gadget. 

It is also reusable, so once a course has been created, it can be distributed to all future new recruits as part of the onboarding process.

You can also construct several versions of classes and numerous routes for different types of workers and job responsibilities.

Step #6: Prepare a detailed plan

Making a plan and arranging all meetings with agendas, video links, and so on can lessen new recruits’ stress and worry.

It also ensures they’re introduced to all the people, procedures, and tasks that will be a part of their job.

Existing onboarding strategies designed for on-site employees can frequently be modified to make them more acceptable for remote employees. 

Setting a clear schedule for the completion of each goal in the onboarding strategy will assist in providing structure to remote workers and maintaining output in their first few weeks..

Step #7: Begin the process early

Before the start date, many HR executives and teams reach out to new recruits in ways that are appropriate for virtual onboarding. 

Employees who are going to be new hires in the organization, for example, normally get asked to make an introduction video. 

This is a great idea to be implemented as it can be a great icebreaker for everyone. 

Furthermore, you can ask your Human Resources Department to send an advice sheet to your new hires on what to anticipate for the coming weeks.  

In addition, HR can provide a contact email address and a link to the company’s cultural code and social media platform for new recruits.

Prior to the start of their first workday, you can also send welcome messages to new remote employees, as well as helpful resources. 

In addition to the equipment, provide detailed instructions on how to set it up, as well as a link to technical specifics such as the recommended bandwidth, security details, login credentials, and IT contacts that they should utilize.

A video call can also be a great way for you to be a part of the document signing process.

Step #8: Make your virtual onboarding program longer

According to analyzed data from CareerBuilder, the onboarding process at most firms lasted just 30 days before the pandemic, despite analysts saying that it should be closer to 90 days.

New recruits need additional time to get used to their new surroundings, particularly when working from home. 

If you can complete the paperwork and pre-record coaching in the same amount of time, you will be able to incorporate new remote recruits into the business culture even faster.

You won’t be able to accomplish the same work from home as you would on the job site. 

It’s better to include new employees in the process rather than prescribe expectations and deadlines.

Let’s see our next four tips for a great virtual onboarding experience.

4 Tips for a Successful Virtual Onboarding

Here are a few tips to ease the process and navigation through a new role, regardless of the employee, job, or mode of entry into your organization.

Tip #1: Make an organizational framework available

When onboarding remote workers, keep in mind that they may get confused with all of the incoming knowledge and names they’ll hear, especially if they haven’t yet attached them to faces. 

Consider making available valuable materials that they may utilize to update in their mind on who is who.

For example, you can provide new remote employees a document outlining the organizational structure and reporting lines, complete with contact information and links. 

This can be supplied as a PDF or some other basic format that your organization’s technology already has.

Tip #2: Send your new hires company swag

Sending a pre-onboarding packet to new recruits can make them feel welcomed and less overwhelmed. 

This includes a welcome email with a link to obtain some company swag

You can send them anything from custom notebooks and branded mugs to promotional pens and yummy personalized snacks!

Making your new hires feel less stressed and setting them on the right path is crucial as they don’t have the same resources as on-site employees.

Tip #3: Feedback is key

Schedule frequent calls or video conferences to see how the new hires are adjusting to their new position and remote work, as well as whether they want more training sessions or explanations on workplace standards. 

Here are some examples of questions a supervisor could ask a new recruit within the first 90 days: 

  • How are you? How are you finding your new job?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • Is the role/team/business what you expected?
  • Do you have all the resources needed?
  • How is your professional connection with your coworkers?
  • Do you feel alienated in any way?
  • Is there something we should make accessible to new workers that we currently don’t?
  • Do you have any queries regarding your role, the team, or the corporation?
  • What can I do to help you adjust to your new role?

Tip #4: Plan fun activities

Online onboarding can be tons of fun if done right!

For example, having virtual coffee breaks can be an excellent approach to check in with your workers and help them feel engaged with their teams during their first few weeks on the job. 

Having senior team members visit with these new recruits and ask them how their first week is going, or just to check in on them can help new employees feel more at ease. 

This is also an excellent time to include the whole team in quick team-bonding activities and games.

Another idea is to get a guest speaker to deliver a virtual session.

This can assist with engaging both new employees and current team members. 

It will be interesting for new employees to hear from a range of individuals throughout their new hire adventure, whether the speaker is someone in-house – such as a senior member with something to teach – or if you engage an outside specialist. 

Again, this can reassure new recruits that you care about their development. It will allow them to learn more than just the day-to-day duties they’re accountable for, which may go a long way toward ensuring they feel a connection to the business. 

Let’s move to our next section. 

Download our Free Onboarding Checklist Template

As we’ve mentioned already, an employee onboarding checklist helps you keep track of everything and can help you avoid errors. 

A thorough onboarding checklist that explains each stage will go a long way forward.

It ensures that the organization puts its best effort forward in making all new hires feel welcomed and ready to go from day one!

Don’t worry about finding one; we’ve got you covered.

You can access our template here:

New Hire Onboarding Checklist

Our post has come to an end!

Now Over to You

Remember that working in a virtual environment makes it much simpler for things to be overlooked. 

This difficulty is worsened when an employee is new and attempting to learn so much in such a short amount of time.

Make sure to use our steps and tips to make your virtual onboarding experience stronger!

If you have any questions or need any help finding your new hires the best swag, don’t hesitate to contact us

Thank you for your time!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 Q1. How is virtual onboarding different from traditional onboarding?

Virtual onboarding is the process of integrating a new recruit into your company in a fully remote way. 

This involves things such as connecting them to their coworkers and equipping them with the necessary tools and software they need for their role.

On the other hand, traditional onboarding is the process of acquainting a new hire with a corporation and its environment, as well as providing the knowledge required for a new recruit to become a productive part of the organization.

Q2. How do you measure the effectiveness of virtual onboarding?

Some metrics to measure the effectiveness of virtual onboarding are:

  • New recruits satisfaction
  • Monitoring productivity
  • Tracking retention rates
  • Measuring employee engagement 

Q3. What are the benefits of virtual onboarding?

Virtual onboarding enables new employees to progress through the education process at their own speed, in addition to the following perks:

  • You can train your worldwide new recruits at a considerably cheaper cost
  • You can assimilate new workers more successfully into your culture

Q4. Can virtual onboarding be effective?

Virtual onboarding can be effective if the following is implemented:

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