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Virtual onboarding success

April 13, 2021 - Be in the Know

It may come as no great surprise to anyone, but this past year of remote working has had more than its fair share of challenges. The last months have provided a front-row seat to some of the best and worst onboarding practices for new employees. So what exactly is the secret recipe for onboarding new hires virtually, the one that can help build that unique chemistry at a distance? 

What might seem like a drag on efficiency to some is an opportunity to revisit a critical step to the future success of any new staffer. Onboarding a new player is demanding and often given short shrift. That said, teleworking forces us to rethink everything for the better. Based on our past year experiences, here are some tips for a successful virtual onboarding that may not be as good as the warmer, in-person version but is still a pretty good start.


Listen before talking

Our first reflex in communicating with someone is to want to be understood. That’s human nature. But there’s an enormous benefit to first doing a little active listening. When you understand a person’s motivation, concerns and opinions, you’ll be able to tailor your message for more significant impact and establish a deeper connection.  


Be clear. Crystal clear.

In remote working, informal moments are almost non-existent. It’s harder for someone to clarify things between meetings or during a coffee break. So take the time to be clear about your expectations at each meeting. The last thing you want is for a new employee to be questioning their project priorities when the videoconference ends. Also, don’t hesitate to communicate your expectations as to the best ways to collaborate with you. Your new ally needs to adapt quickly to your way of doing things.   


Touch base regularly and often.

Although this might seem obvious, amidst the non-stop activity of our working lives, time often seems in short supply. Unlike you, your new hire needs to learn everything about your company and its culture, all of it from their home office. They’ll have many questions. Be disciplined about scheduling frequent opportunities to transfer all that business knowledge as organically as possible. Try a chat tool to handle quick, technical questions, so you don’t clog up your email. 


Get the team involved                                             

Finally, your company’s culture is a product of the people who work there. Whether by assigning a current employee as a mentor for the new person or setting up informal online meetings to get to know each other outside of work, make sure you cultivate authentic team interaction that genuinely reflects how you do things. All this will help the new team member take a deep dive into your team’s culture. You need to create that sense of ownership in the team that goes well beyond the work at hand.  


The above, of course, are just a few of the things you can do at the very start of the onboarding process, but in our view, they are the foundation. If implemented with empathy and rigour, your chances of success are excellent. What’s more, you can also hire a transition coach who can accompany the new hire for the first 90 days. Never lose sight that behind the professional integration process, there’s also the reality of a personal transition that deserves all of your attention.  

To learn more about our accompaniment and onboarding services, click here.  

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