Onboarding new employees sets the overall tone of the employee's experience and impression of the new company. It also allows managers to plan and strategically put focus on topics the employee will need to start bringing results. Especially now that the work environment has shifted to more remote work instead of on-site office meetings, virtual onboarding is gaining importance.
However, it comes with challenges that neither managers nor employees face in a face-to-face onboarding process.
Here we provide you with the ultimate virtual onboarding checklist to create a successful and strategic process that makes your employees feel welcome – from the time before they start their new job to the first few months afterward.
The 3 Onboarding Phases
The onboarding process can be divided into 3 main phases: the preboarding phase, the entry phase & the integration phase. All three focus on different key issues & challenges faced by the company and the employee.
The aim of this phase is to set the employee up for success from the beginning and to show them that they have signed a contract with a highly professional company. This phase begins immediately after a new talent is hired and prioritizes all organizational set-up and management by the HR department and the manager in charge. If successful, the employee can start work immediately on the first day. Good communication and access to information material are prioritized.
The aim of this phase is to introduce the employee to their new company, including teams, routines, processes, projects, organizational culture and work procedures. This phase includes the first week of work, but overall covers the first three months in the new position or company. This phase is the most important for retaining talent, as it is responsible for the first impression and sets the general tone of employment.
The goal is the complete integration of the new employee on all levels, socially, professionally & culturally. The duration of this phase depends on the employee & company itself and can vary from 3 to 12 months. This phase can include team building activities, training, feedback sessions, projects and more.
We have put together the ultimate virtual onboarding checklist that allows you to master all three phases in a remote environment. Here is how:
- Think about introducing an e-signature tool for easier & more efficient document management
- Collect all necessary personal information and copies of necessary documents, such as National Insurance, Passport Number & Copies, Bank Account details, and others.
- Check that your Digital Data Security complies with your local laws to avoid data breaches
- Start by setting up the IT infrastructure, including employee badges, access to the company portal, logins for video conferencing tools, etc.
- Prepare their workplace at home by sending through all necessary equipment or have them come into the office to pick it up (Company laptop, phone, desktop, keyboard,…)
- Send a welcome parcel with informational materials, including product/service information, company structure, hierarchy, culture, and other related company information
- Give them a small welcome gift that you would normally give your new employees on their first day, e.g. a mug with the company logo or something similar.
- Assign a buddy to the new employee that acts as virtual support through the onboarding process
- Emphasise the constant availability of the HR department or buddy for questions
- Let your team know about the new arrival
- Sent through the agenda of the first week for better clarity of what to expect
- Set up an introductory call with their direct team members & introduce everyone
- Schedule a short welcome meeting with the direct team discussing relevant topics, e.g. team meetings, current projects, team organization.
- Set up a call with IT to clarify the basics of the company’s IT infrastructure, receive needed login credentials, VPN and introduce them to the general data protection guidelines.
- Introduce the most important contact people for their type of work
- Set up a meeting with the direct manager and new employee to talk about the new employee’s tasks, responsibilities, expectations and clarify any questions they may have.
- Have each direct team member of the new employee take a short virtual coffee break of 15 minutes to explain the future cooperation.
- At the end of each day, schedule 15 min. catch up meetings between buddy and new employee for Q&As
- Clarify the framework of working at the company, including team rules, core working hours, meeting organization, time tracking etc.
- Introduce them to commonly used company portals or tools in use
- Schedule 30- 45 min. detailed company presentations throughout the week introducing the company itself, their products & services etc.. Avoid “Zoom”-Fatigue.
- Give a presentation on the industry & their main competition
- Set up a call with the IT (if necessary) to clarify any problems or questions that may have come up or access not yet available.
- Have a feedback meeting between the manager & the new hire at the end of the week to clarify any misunderstandings, struggles, or questions of the employee. Provide them with a little overview of what is coming up in the second week (if not clear yet)
- Talk about training possibilities
- Schedule an introduction event for all new joiners
- Think about any team-building activities that you can easily implement
- Discuss the individual training onboarding plan with the employee
- Schedule regular feedback meetings
- Think about implementing a suitable onboarding software for faster results & better performance
- Keep up the work buddy program to make the integration into the company easier
With this virtual onboarding checklist, you should be able to hire great talent, retain your employees and allow them to integrate into your business set-up from the start and get a return on investment immediately.