Hiring new employees is always exciting… but of course, the hiring process is really just the beginning. Once your new hire is officially on the team, you’ll need to have a structured program in place to train your new employee, brief them on important company policies, educate them about perks and benefit options, and more. This process is commonly known as onboarding, and it’s one of the central responsibilities of HR.
As with everything else, onboarding as we know it has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These days, a lot of hires start work in a purely remote setting, which means that the onboarding process must happen virtually. This brings a few challenges, but with the right strategy, these challenges can be overcome.
What is Onboarding and Why Does it Matter?
First, a few basics. When we talk about onboarding, we’re talking about the process by which a new employee is integrated into the organization and acclimated to their new role as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
This process means welcoming the new employee, training the new employee, and providing the new employee with all the tools and resources they’ll need to succeed.
A good onboarding process is crucial, for many different reasons:
- Onboarding helps new employees to become more productive at a faster rate.
- A good onboarding process also facilitates relationships, helping the new hire become a part of the team.
- Good onboarding processes help your employees to feel more confident in their work.
- Good onboarding is associated with higher rates of employee engagement and employee retention.
- Having a good onboarding program in place can also help your organization to attract top talent.
These are just a few of the reasons why it’s worth it to invest in a good, thoughtful onboarding program, even if it happens to be a virtual one.
How to Develop a Virtual Onboarding Program
So what’s involved with developing a sound virtual onboarding program?
1) Assess your current onboarding process.
Start by reviewing your current approach to onboarding. What are its strengths? What are its limitations? Why were the current processes put into place? And how does your onboarding process fit in with your organization’s mission, values, and goals? As you think about these questions, make sure you court feedback from some of your employees who have been through the onboarding process.
2) Choose the right tools.
For virtual onboarding, you’ll need to find the right online tools and resources. These include communication and collaboration tools, training platforms, and HR software suites. The FullHR team is here to help you navigate the choices, and to find a platform that fits with your onboarding needs.
3) Provide access to vital documents.
Always make sure that new employees can easily access your employee handbook, mission statement, and documents that detail benefits and other HR policies. An internal wiki or shared Drive can work just fine.
4) Provide opportunities for connection.
Virtual hangouts and happy hours can be ideal for fostering relationships with virtual employees. Make sure these are scheduled during normal work hours; don’t make new employees stick around at their computers at the end of a long day.
5) Monitor and measure.
Finally, make sure that you’re constantly taking stock of your onboarding program, using employee surveys and other forms of feedback to measure its effectiveness. Use this information to refine and refocus your onboarding program over time, as needed.
Get HR Solutions from FullHR
Questions about how to build an effective virtual onboarding program? We’re happy to help. Contact the team at FullHR at any time.