Onboarding has always been a key component of the success of a new employee. A company only has one chance to make a first impression once someone joins the team. Traditionally, onboarding is done in-person and includes an orientation with Human Resources, a tour of the new office, a series of meet-and-greets with various teams or colleagues, and perhaps some initial training!
Many companies have faced challenges this year with pivoting onboarding practices to a virtual format or a combination-approach. Human Resource teams have learned many tips and tricks to ensure onboarding can still be a success in a virtual environment. Consider the following tips below:
1. Define, align, and communicate the first day/week.
When you have a new hire, your HR team must establish a start date and begin planning what the first day and week will look like. Onboarding a new employee is a team effort between human resources, hiring managers, IT and security departments, as well as others in the organization. Defining roles and expectations will guarantee a seamless onboarding process. Once roles and responsibilities have been defined, it is important to make sure everyone involved in the process knows exactly how they will contribute to your company’s onboarding success. Aligning internal expectations will help make sure that all involved are familiar with the technologies and systems used, along with any additional resources needed for success. While the HR team leads the charge in the overall planning process, hiring managers should outline and communicate a plan for training in a remote environment. Communicating a clear plan of what the new hire can expect on their first day, what they need to bring or send to you, who they will be meeting with that day, and what technologies may be used will help the new hire properly prepare, reduce confusion, and encourage a positive experience.
2. Provide a warm welcome & communicate.
Starting a new job in a new company can make even the most confident of candidates feel nervous or anxious at times. And starting a new position in a virtual environment can be even more challenging! Consider sending a new hire a welcome package to their home with a personal note and some branded merchandise to make them feel excited and welcomed to the organization. Help to break the ice by scheduling meet-and-greets to introduce the new hire to the team they will be working with. Notify your team, who may also be working mostly remotely, that you have a new team member joining the organization and invite them to extend a welcome to your new hire.
3. Check-in with new hires frequently.
Checking in with new hires frequently goes a long way. It provides the new hire an opportunity to communicate any additional needs and helps to define areas for improvement for future onboarding exercises. HR should plan to touch base with the new hire after 90 days to gain feedback on what worked well during their onboarding experience and where there might be an opportunity for improvement. Based on the feedback provided, common themes might suggest process adaptations. Checking in also helps new hires to feel connected while in a virtual environment. Beyond the onboarding period, it is always best practice for hiring managers to schedule rhythmic check-ins and yearly performance reviews.