Article

Can Virtual Onboarding Actually Be... Fun? Yes — Here's How.

March 22, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
This is some text inside of a div block.

Raise your hand if you’ve had to virtually onboard an employee in the past two years. (Go on, get that hand up there.)

Hate to break it to you, but chances are, it wasn’t a gold star experience for your new hire. And the data bears it out — according to a Gallup poll, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.  

Just like in-person onboarding, virtual onboarding is the process by which you acquaint your new hire with the organization's goals, culture, policies, required training, and job responsibilities. With so many companies settling into remote operations, the traditional onboarding process has morphed into a virtual experience. 

Whether it’s face-to-face or virtual, successful onboarding is a pre-indicator of your new hire’s contentment, productivity, and potential retention. And virtual onboarding is a great opportunity to create a personalized and intentional onboarding process for your new hire that'll help them step into their role, own it, and become a productive member of the team.

While virtual onboarding may seem intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Let’s explore the top nine ways you can boost your virtual onboarding process and give your new hires what they need to succeed.

1. Same destination, different route.

Onboarding is onboarding. Lather, rinse, repeat. No matter the method, your onboarding mission remains the same — set up your new hire for long-term success.

But you’re probably going to have to make a few tweaks before taking the process from face-to-face to virtual. 

What if you’ve never deviated from face-to-face onboarding? The dread of a 12-hour marathon training session on Zoom is enough to scare away the most steadfast of leaders. After all, Zoom fatigue is the real deal.

And if one of your company’s strengths is a positive and energetic workplace culture, you probably want your new team member to experience that energy right off the bat. But can that really be conveyed virtually? Is it possible to create the same cultural vibe online?

You sure can.

Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to creating that “welcoming feel” online:

  • Trust your employees to be the cultural ambassadors your new hire needs (virtually or in-person).
  • Leverage social media and other fun channels that show different facets of your culture’s “personality.”
  • Prioritize employee flexibility and work-life balance.
  • Spotlight your employees by lauding their efforts and accomplishments.
  • Embrace transparency, seek feedback, and communicate often.

2. Walk a mile in your new hire’s shoes.

As you can imagine, many new hires feel vulnerable or anxious during their first week — after all, they’re the newbs. The last thing an anxious new hire needs is information overload while onboarding.

That may seem like a catch-22. After all, knowledge acquisition via training and collaboration is the cornerstone of any onboarding process. However, by first gaining a strong sense of how your new hire learns, their strengths, areas for improvement, and pacing, you can adjust the onboarding schedule to meet their needs and avoid overload. 

When it comes time to personalize your virtual onboarding process, apply these best practices to meet your new hire’s needs.

  • Get a better sense of who they are and how they learn best by conducting a targeted survey or personality assessment.
  • Create opportunities where you can witness how they respond to your company’s culture (meet and greets, virtual water cooler sessions, etc.).
  • Create a personalized onboarding timeline and be open to adjusting it when hiccups arise.
  • Always check in with them. This is even more important when your onboarding process is virtual. Communication will relay your investment in their success.

3. Create a company playbook with easy access to everything they need

When your new hire has everything they need and can access it easily and quickly, then they’ll be more likely to have a positive virtual onboarding experience. A company playbook (aka, a business playbook) is the ideal method to accomplish this.

And creating one doesn’t just fall on leadership’s shoulders, either. If you’re already strapped for time, make it a team project — it takes a company’s village to create a comprehensive business playbook, so all hands on deck!

A company playbook should include four key elements:

  • Your company profile (your backstory/history).
  • The team (who’s who and who does what).
  • Policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Processes (how to accomplish a task).

There are clear benefits to creating a business playbook and making it available to your entire team, including:

  • Showcasing one correct way of doing things so everyone’s in alignment and processes are consistent. 
  • Allowing every team member to operate consistently.
  • Helping your SOPs to become more reliable so you can scale faster.
  • Allowing your business to create an accountability culture where things don’t go amiss.

4. Appoint a mentor-buddy for your new hire.

We all need somebody to lean on, especially when we’re new. 

Ideally, you want to appoint a mentor-buddy for your new hire. Preferably someone:

  • Who is a peer in their department. 
  • Whose personality will jive with theirs. 
  • Who your new hire will feel comfortable approaching/shadowing/bouncing ideas off of.

You might be thinking, “well, our new hire can always approach me. No need to take other employees away from their workday.”

Alas, no matter how approachable, personable, and kind you are, you still hold a position of power. Your new hire wants you to view them as capable — not as someone who may come across as needy or asks obvious questions (when they’re likely not).

Instead, a peer mentor-buddy can boost their confidence and acclimate them to the organization’s culture more naturally.

5. Use virtual reality (VR) to build connections.

Maybe you’ve seen a few ads with people sporting bulky VR goggles and hand controllers hanging out in a metaverse somewhere. And maybe you’ve thought, “okay, that’s a bit far-fetched.” But incorporating VR into your virtual onboarding process can be an effective way to spice up their training with a hands-on component.

If you’re concerned about your new hire not feeling the company culture vibe in a virtual setting, VR can help with that. Traditional onboarding leans on passive learning models, whereas VR-based methods encourage active learning. That means your new hire’s training may allow them to practice skills and techniques in real-life situations.

Take a look at the benefits VR can have in your onboarding process:

  • VR immersion will give your new hire a more exciting onboarding experience.
  • It can streamline your training process and align your new hire with the company’s goals quickly.
  • Your new hire will be more engaged and more likely to retain the knowledge they learn and practice.
  • You’ll be able to collect data from VR to make necessary changes.

6. Incorporate games, digital perks, and rewards.

Everyone loves a good game. Just ask Josh Wardle (ever heard of a little thing called Wordle?). You can take advantage of that psychology by gamifying your onboarding process. Whether it’s a level-up activity, a virtual scavenger hunt, an e-happy hours, or a trivia night, engagement is at the heart of gamification. 

Plus, it’s a win-win situation for you and the new hire. They’ll learn what they need to and they’ll have fun doing it. Any opportunity you can take to liven up the process is a plus.

Speaking of livening up the process, you might want to consider hopping onto the incentives bandwagon. There are countless ways you can reward your new hire both during and after their virtual onboarding. Here are a few examples:

  • Consider a dinner out at a local restaurant once your new hire completes their onboarding.
  • Company merch and swag are always welcome. Your new hire will be a brand ambassador, after all.
  • Don’t forget to boost morale by celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, and more. Catered lunch and massages gift cards are always welcome.

7. There’s no such thing as too much communication.

Many people have a different communication strategy in person than they do virtually. 

Many employees prefer virtual onboarding and remote work because it lessens the amount of face-to-face conversation.

Although there are benefits to a face-to-face onboarding process — after all, you’re able to pop into your new hire’s office and check in with them frequently. Similarly, they gain a quick sense of when you’re available for questions during the day (and when you’re not). Fortunately, there are communication best practices you can follow to drive onboarding success.

  • Offer and utilize multiple communication channels (Slack, email, Whatsapp, SMS, and so on).
  • Arrange pre-set check-in times in addition to keeping lines of communication open.
  • Seek feedback from your new hire. Ask what works for them and what doesn’t.

8. Remember to prioritize ongoing development and cultural inclusion.

Training and professional development doesn’t stop when your new hire’s onboarding ends. They will need a clear plan to continue their professional growth and that begins with creating a plan together.

Let’s take a look at a few common best practices for a new hire’s post-onboarding journey:

  • You have the results of their onboarding. Assess them — are there areas they can improve? 
  • Consider keeping them with their mentor-buddy for the first 30 days (or longer).
  • Continue to commit to regular communication.
  • Create a job scorecard that will give them a high-level snapshot of their role. This will also help them remain self-accountable.

9. Ask for feedback and embrace change

Your onboarding process will never stop evolving. A key part to that evolution is feedback.

It’s simple – if you want to know if your onboarding process is working for your new hire, ask them!

Consider administering an onboarding survey. Then, get ready to make appropriate changes if their answer isn’t exactly… flattering. Here are other reasons why this is beneficial to your virtual onboarding process:

  • Feedback will allow you to identify gaps, inconsistencies, and areas of confusion in the process.
  • You’ll have insight into new hire engagement metrics that will help you tweak your process in the future.

Ready to boost your virtual onboarding process?

The virtual onboarding process is ripe with new possibilities. With technological innovations, opportunities for collaboration, and innovative solutions, the world is your company’s oyster when it comes to getting everyone on the same page.

Creating a personalized virtual onboarding process that is easily accessible doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. You owe it to your new hire to offer an organized onboarding and training process, so they have everything they need to do their very best work.

Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Author
Follow me!
Article

Can Virtual Onboarding Actually Be... Fun? Yes — Here's How.

March 22, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Raise your hand if you’ve had to virtually onboard an employee in the past two years. (Go on, get that hand up there.)

Hate to break it to you, but chances are, it wasn’t a gold star experience for your new hire. And the data bears it out — according to a Gallup poll, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.  

Just like in-person onboarding, virtual onboarding is the process by which you acquaint your new hire with the organization's goals, culture, policies, required training, and job responsibilities. With so many companies settling into remote operations, the traditional onboarding process has morphed into a virtual experience. 

Whether it’s face-to-face or virtual, successful onboarding is a pre-indicator of your new hire’s contentment, productivity, and potential retention. And virtual onboarding is a great opportunity to create a personalized and intentional onboarding process for your new hire that'll help them step into their role, own it, and become a productive member of the team.

While virtual onboarding may seem intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Let’s explore the top nine ways you can boost your virtual onboarding process and give your new hires what they need to succeed.

1. Same destination, different route.

Onboarding is onboarding. Lather, rinse, repeat. No matter the method, your onboarding mission remains the same — set up your new hire for long-term success.

But you’re probably going to have to make a few tweaks before taking the process from face-to-face to virtual. 

What if you’ve never deviated from face-to-face onboarding? The dread of a 12-hour marathon training session on Zoom is enough to scare away the most steadfast of leaders. After all, Zoom fatigue is the real deal.

And if one of your company’s strengths is a positive and energetic workplace culture, you probably want your new team member to experience that energy right off the bat. But can that really be conveyed virtually? Is it possible to create the same cultural vibe online?

You sure can.

Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to creating that “welcoming feel” online:

  • Trust your employees to be the cultural ambassadors your new hire needs (virtually or in-person).
  • Leverage social media and other fun channels that show different facets of your culture’s “personality.”
  • Prioritize employee flexibility and work-life balance.
  • Spotlight your employees by lauding their efforts and accomplishments.
  • Embrace transparency, seek feedback, and communicate often.

2. Walk a mile in your new hire’s shoes.

As you can imagine, many new hires feel vulnerable or anxious during their first week — after all, they’re the newbs. The last thing an anxious new hire needs is information overload while onboarding.

That may seem like a catch-22. After all, knowledge acquisition via training and collaboration is the cornerstone of any onboarding process. However, by first gaining a strong sense of how your new hire learns, their strengths, areas for improvement, and pacing, you can adjust the onboarding schedule to meet their needs and avoid overload. 

When it comes time to personalize your virtual onboarding process, apply these best practices to meet your new hire’s needs.

  • Get a better sense of who they are and how they learn best by conducting a targeted survey or personality assessment.
  • Create opportunities where you can witness how they respond to your company’s culture (meet and greets, virtual water cooler sessions, etc.).
  • Create a personalized onboarding timeline and be open to adjusting it when hiccups arise.
  • Always check in with them. This is even more important when your onboarding process is virtual. Communication will relay your investment in their success.

3. Create a company playbook with easy access to everything they need

When your new hire has everything they need and can access it easily and quickly, then they’ll be more likely to have a positive virtual onboarding experience. A company playbook (aka, a business playbook) is the ideal method to accomplish this.

And creating one doesn’t just fall on leadership’s shoulders, either. If you’re already strapped for time, make it a team project — it takes a company’s village to create a comprehensive business playbook, so all hands on deck!

A company playbook should include four key elements:

  • Your company profile (your backstory/history).
  • The team (who’s who and who does what).
  • Policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Processes (how to accomplish a task).

There are clear benefits to creating a business playbook and making it available to your entire team, including:

  • Showcasing one correct way of doing things so everyone’s in alignment and processes are consistent. 
  • Allowing every team member to operate consistently.
  • Helping your SOPs to become more reliable so you can scale faster.
  • Allowing your business to create an accountability culture where things don’t go amiss.

4. Appoint a mentor-buddy for your new hire.

We all need somebody to lean on, especially when we’re new. 

Ideally, you want to appoint a mentor-buddy for your new hire. Preferably someone:

  • Who is a peer in their department. 
  • Whose personality will jive with theirs. 
  • Who your new hire will feel comfortable approaching/shadowing/bouncing ideas off of.

You might be thinking, “well, our new hire can always approach me. No need to take other employees away from their workday.”

Alas, no matter how approachable, personable, and kind you are, you still hold a position of power. Your new hire wants you to view them as capable — not as someone who may come across as needy or asks obvious questions (when they’re likely not).

Instead, a peer mentor-buddy can boost their confidence and acclimate them to the organization’s culture more naturally.

5. Use virtual reality (VR) to build connections.

Maybe you’ve seen a few ads with people sporting bulky VR goggles and hand controllers hanging out in a metaverse somewhere. And maybe you’ve thought, “okay, that’s a bit far-fetched.” But incorporating VR into your virtual onboarding process can be an effective way to spice up their training with a hands-on component.

If you’re concerned about your new hire not feeling the company culture vibe in a virtual setting, VR can help with that. Traditional onboarding leans on passive learning models, whereas VR-based methods encourage active learning. That means your new hire’s training may allow them to practice skills and techniques in real-life situations.

Take a look at the benefits VR can have in your onboarding process:

  • VR immersion will give your new hire a more exciting onboarding experience.
  • It can streamline your training process and align your new hire with the company’s goals quickly.
  • Your new hire will be more engaged and more likely to retain the knowledge they learn and practice.
  • You’ll be able to collect data from VR to make necessary changes.

6. Incorporate games, digital perks, and rewards.

Everyone loves a good game. Just ask Josh Wardle (ever heard of a little thing called Wordle?). You can take advantage of that psychology by gamifying your onboarding process. Whether it’s a level-up activity, a virtual scavenger hunt, an e-happy hours, or a trivia night, engagement is at the heart of gamification. 

Plus, it’s a win-win situation for you and the new hire. They’ll learn what they need to and they’ll have fun doing it. Any opportunity you can take to liven up the process is a plus.

Speaking of livening up the process, you might want to consider hopping onto the incentives bandwagon. There are countless ways you can reward your new hire both during and after their virtual onboarding. Here are a few examples:

  • Consider a dinner out at a local restaurant once your new hire completes their onboarding.
  • Company merch and swag are always welcome. Your new hire will be a brand ambassador, after all.
  • Don’t forget to boost morale by celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, and more. Catered lunch and massages gift cards are always welcome.

7. There’s no such thing as too much communication.

Many people have a different communication strategy in person than they do virtually. 

Many employees prefer virtual onboarding and remote work because it lessens the amount of face-to-face conversation.

Although there are benefits to a face-to-face onboarding process — after all, you’re able to pop into your new hire’s office and check in with them frequently. Similarly, they gain a quick sense of when you’re available for questions during the day (and when you’re not). Fortunately, there are communication best practices you can follow to drive onboarding success.

  • Offer and utilize multiple communication channels (Slack, email, Whatsapp, SMS, and so on).
  • Arrange pre-set check-in times in addition to keeping lines of communication open.
  • Seek feedback from your new hire. Ask what works for them and what doesn’t.

8. Remember to prioritize ongoing development and cultural inclusion.

Training and professional development doesn’t stop when your new hire’s onboarding ends. They will need a clear plan to continue their professional growth and that begins with creating a plan together.

Let’s take a look at a few common best practices for a new hire’s post-onboarding journey:

  • You have the results of their onboarding. Assess them — are there areas they can improve? 
  • Consider keeping them with their mentor-buddy for the first 30 days (or longer).
  • Continue to commit to regular communication.
  • Create a job scorecard that will give them a high-level snapshot of their role. This will also help them remain self-accountable.

9. Ask for feedback and embrace change

Your onboarding process will never stop evolving. A key part to that evolution is feedback.

It’s simple – if you want to know if your onboarding process is working for your new hire, ask them!

Consider administering an onboarding survey. Then, get ready to make appropriate changes if their answer isn’t exactly… flattering. Here are other reasons why this is beneficial to your virtual onboarding process:

  • Feedback will allow you to identify gaps, inconsistencies, and areas of confusion in the process.
  • You’ll have insight into new hire engagement metrics that will help you tweak your process in the future.

Ready to boost your virtual onboarding process?

The virtual onboarding process is ripe with new possibilities. With technological innovations, opportunities for collaboration, and innovative solutions, the world is your company’s oyster when it comes to getting everyone on the same page.

Creating a personalized virtual onboarding process that is easily accessible doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. You owe it to your new hire to offer an organized onboarding and training process, so they have everything they need to do their very best work.

Author
Follow me!
Article

Can Virtual Onboarding Actually Be... Fun? Yes — Here's How.

March 22, 2022

S
E

Organize the chaos
of your small business

No items found.
No items found.