Virtual onboarding: How to get it right

Virtual onboarding is here to stay. Are you getting it right?

Virtual onboarding: How to get it right

2020 threw up a whole heap of challenges for HR professionals and among them was the question: How do I onboard new recruits without ever meeting them?

Turning up to the office on the first day is – or was - a rite of passage for any new employee.

Meeting new colleagues, getting a feel for the office and the structure of the business all impact a new recruit’s experience during those vitally important first few days.

A negative onboarding experience can set the tone for what’s to come, impacting employee engagement, mental wellbeing and ultimately, their longevity with the company.

So how do you create a virtual alternative that truly works?

Enboarder’s upcoming webinar explores just that, outlining the 5 key aspects to building a successful program.

Speaking to HRD, Brent Pearson, CEO and founder of Enboarder, said being unable to see new recruits face to face has added another layer of complexity to onboarding.

“Take human connection as an example,” he said. “It’s one we hear regularly from organisations but it’s even more challenging in a virtual setting where your new hire isn’t having casual, in-person interactions with colleagues in the office or heading out for a welcome lunch with their new team.”

Read more: Is virtual onboarding here to stay? How to support new staff in a remote world

What was initially a temporary measure for some companies has proved to be a powerful tool, especially for organisations hiring recruits from overseas.

With virtual onboarding here to stay, it’s important to get it right.

Pearson said the best starting point is to design your program from the employee’s perspective.

“Put yourself in their shoes, have empathy and understanding,” he said. “A virtual environment doesn’t mean you can’t provide a wow experience – in fact it opens the door to designing and truly owning the employee journey like never before.

“As leaders, we also need to admit we can’t do this alone. Hiring managers really are the key to success, and most of them have never virtually onboarded a new hire before.

“It’s crucial that we’re empowering and supporting our managers through this challenge.”

If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that uncertainty is always around the corner.

Read more: HR tech trends of 2021: Four key areas to watch

While Australia’s COVID-19 case numbers remain low, the recent lockdowns in Brisbane and Perth are a reminder of how quickly things can change.

For businesses to stay afloat this year, they need to remain one step ahead.

“We don’t know when we’ll be thrown the next curveball or where the next challenge will rise from, and that means onboarding programs need to be agile,” Pearson said.

“The right onboarding technology will offer the flexibility and adaptability to pivot easily and quickly – no matter what comes our way.”

Click here to sign up to the upcoming Enboarder webinar - Virtual Onboarding: The 5 Keys to Success

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