Online HR information website HRMorning sums it up succinctly: “The goal of virtual onboarding remains the same as it was when you got to sit across the table from new hires…”
That’s a great way to approach onboarding.
So how can HR teams benefit from and improve their overall onboarding processes and technology?
Here are a few tips:
- Examine the Steps in Your Current Onboarding Plan
- Review Company Policies, Guidelines, and Procedures
- Create a Schedule for Training Modules That Can Be Completed Online
- Help New Hires Learn the Software Systems, Process Guidelines, and Other Necessary Operational Knowledge
- Make Sure You Have a Plan for the First 12 Months
There are two distinct aspects of onboarding. The initial component is intended to make the new hire an official employee of the company. This consists of signing the required HR documents and filling out tax and benefits forms, etc.
The other aspect of onboarding is more long-term and is intended to ensure a long, successful tenure for the new employee.
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We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
1. Examine the Steps in Your Current Onboarding Plan
Remember, both in-person and virtual onboard processes are designed to accomplish the same thing. Design both processes as if you were sitting next to the new hire.
Do a couple of dry runs with your team. Try to think and act like when you were new hires. The goals of initial onboarding are the same for virtual or in-person:
- Make the New Hire Feel Welcome and Get Them Familiar with Your Company, Its Values, and Culture
- Get Them the Tools They Will Need to Do Their Job
- Introduce Them to Their Managers, Bosses, and Colleagues
2. Review Company Policies, Guidelines, and Procedures
There’s more to onboarding than filling out forms and signing documents, although that’s part of it. Make sure your human resources team clearly communicates company policies, guidelines, and procedures for acceptable workplace behavior, work interaction, incident reporting, etc.
Make sure they understand policies concerning PTO, payroll, benefits, etc. Have checklists and make online resources available to the new employee. Start the process early with introductory materials and videos.
You can use online resources for in-person as well as virtual onboarding. This will give the new hire a chance to prepare for the process at their convenience, but with some flexible scheduling guardrails.
3. Create a Schedule for Online Training Modules and Introductory Materials
Give them a chance to review online training materials well in advance of the onboard, whether it’s going to be virtual or in-person. Make this part informal. Schedules for completion should be flexible and left to the discretion of the new hire.
Don’t make it overwhelming, but have a few introductory videos, a slide deck or two, and an abbreviated employee handbook available online.
These online resources will help to ensure that your valuable new employee feels comfortable with you and your company prior to the official onboarding process.
4. Help New Hires Learn the Software Systems, Process Guidelines, and Other Necessary Operational Knowledge Required in Their First Week
Have the new hire’s team take this piece of the process. This is a great opportunity for an immersive, experiential introduction for all members of the new hire’s team. This is applicable to both types of onboarding processes.
The format is slightly different for in-person vs. virtual, but the goal is the same.
This is where everyone’s roles, responsibilities, and day-to-day work expectations will be defined. Get the boss and all of their new colleagues involved and make it fun and informative.
Again, have everyone put themselves in the mindset of what it was like when they were the new hire! Be patient, attentive, and helpful.
5. Make Sure You Have a Plan for the First 12 Months
Forbes online says to have a comprehensive plan for the first 12 months of the onboarding process. That’s right; onboarding is an ongoing process. It’s intended to make sure the new hire is successful at their job for the long haul.
The first year is critical. HR teams should monitor the new hire’s progress quarterly. Check-in with your new employee and their team often and keep communications informal when possible.
HR teams need to keep their finger on the pulse of new employees and the entire workforce at all times. Maintain great online resources, stay in constant communication with surveys, informal communications, employee assessments, etc. Always encourage open employee feedback.
This will help ensure that your remote and in-office employees have been successfully onboarded and are off to long and successful career paths!
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