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Virtual Onboarding Might Be Here to Stay: 4 Ways You Can Get it Right

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COVID-19 forced employers to change a lot of things – including their methods for onboarding new hires. And, also like so much that shifted as a result of the pandemic, the end result may be a new normal, where businesses never go back to “the way it was before.” 

  • According to one study, two-thirds of HR leaders plan to continue virtual onboarding even after the pandemic crisis passes. The top reasons for this decision include the time savings involved and a belief that the remote process has improved inclusivity in a company’s recruitment process. 
  • LinkedIn experts note that 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company after a great onboarding experience. And if they have a virtual experience that emulates the one they would have received in person, they will feel a comparable sense of connection and trust. 

Here are four tips for virtual onboarding and making it even better going forward: 

1. Stick to a schedule. 

Often, onboarding with a longer-than-normal schedule may be helpful when you go virtual. Working remotely requires flexibility from everyone involved.  

  • Use a well-structured agenda that meets this need and ensure that new hires feel supported over a longer period. For instance, as opposed to cramming everything into one day, your schedule might stretch into four to five days. A fun and engaging way to wind it up could be with a Friday afternoon Virtual Happy Hour. 

2. Use technology effectively. 

The pandemic gave rise to seismic increases in the use of technology, born out of necessity when the entire world shut down practically overnight. A plus for onboarding has been virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR). 

  • LinkedIn also reports that a VR experience doubles information retention among new employees, compared to viewing a more traditional video or using text-based learning materials. 
  • VR/AR allows employees to genuinely experience their new workplace and culture. By using immersive training that simulates real life; for instance, an office coffee break, VR can greatly enhance remote onboarding. 

3. Communicate well and often. 

Whether it’s face-to-face or virtual, the need to communicate with consistency, clarity, and transparency is the same as you bring new team members on board at your company. People feel vulnerable in new situations, and it’s up to you to ease their jitters and concerns. 

  • Typically, a good manager would make frequent stops at a new hire’s desk or workstation to see how they’re doing. Now, you need to use technology for this purpose. 

4. Nurture opportunities for new hires to connect with one another. 

Speaking of communication, use it to cover the social, as well as practical, aspects of a new job.  

  • Consider a virtual buddy system with a new team member, in addition to frequent supervisor check-ins. A buddy can not only answer job-related questions, but also help a newbie meet colleagues and learn all the unofficial but equally important behind-the-scenes stuff at work. 

Partner with Search Wizards 

For additional insight on everything it takes to make hiring, onboarding, and talent management a hit at your company, contact the Search Wizards team today. If you’re in or hiring for the recruitment business, it’s a no-brainer – because that’s our sole area of focus. We look forward to getting to know you, your company, and your winning team. 

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