Welcoming a new colleague into your team must not be taken lightly, especially when it has to be done remotely. It has to be carefully planned, using the right tools, to ensure that the new recruit joins your team in the best possible circumstances. How can you achieve this remotely? How do you ensure the new colleague’s arrival is as smooth as possible when working from home? We offer six tips for effective virtual onboarding.
1. Prepare your new employee’s equipment before their arrival
First and foremost, effective virtual onboarding requires suitable equipment, delivered straight to the new recruit’s home before their first day of work. You can supply the necessary equipment in the week prior to their first day, for example: computer, head set, logins, passwords, smartphone, etc. The aim is for the new employee to be able to start work in the best possible circumstances from their very first day of remote working.
Remember to slip a few goodies inside the box (mug with your company logo, customised memory stick, pens, etc.). This little gesture will give the new recruit a sense of belonging and help them feel integrated in the company.
Further reading: How do you organise an online recruitment interview?
2. Early communication
Communication is one of the keys to successful virtual onboarding. Firstly, announce the arrival of the new colleague to all company employees a few days ahead – by email, for example – to make sure everyone receives the information officially and gives a warm welcome on the first day. Secondly, take the time to give the new recruit all the necessary information prior to their arrival: company rules, working hours, procedures, hierarchy, etc. This could be in the form of a welcome booklet sent by email. Don’t forget to explain their assignments and responsibilities. A well-informed new recruit will be a more committed employee.
3. Plan a virtual group welcome
When your new colleague arrives, plan a group welcome via video call, to establish an initial visual contact with the entire team. During this call, each employee can introduce themselves briefly and explain their responsibilities, giving the new arrival a more practical overview of the company hierarchy and an idea of “who does what”.
This meeting could be planned as an “e-cafe” or lunch break, for example. It is important that the meeting is friendly and welcoming, to give a positive vision of the company in spite of the lack of physical contact.
Further reading: Online meetings: what are the advantages?
4. Be available
With a lot of information to take on board, and the anxiety caused by starting new assignments and meeting new colleagues, the first days in a new job are not a relaxing time for a recruit working from home. With this in mind and as their manager, support them as best you can, by encouraging dialogue and by insisting on the fact that you are available for any questions they may have, to prevent any feeling of “abandonment”. Consider varying the format you use: phone calls, online meetings, written conversations, etc.
5. Plan online training sessions
It is possible that your new employee is not entirely comfortable with remote working tools. To ensure they can be operational quickly, we recommend you plan training sessions or webinars about the company or on themes associated with their assignments.
Further reading: Organising a webinar in five steps
6. Designate a “buddy”
Virtual onboarding can be made easier if the new recruit has a buddy, also known as a mentor, tutor, or guide. This person can provide real day-to-day support for the new colleague, who can ask questions – about the company culture, for example –, request advice, or ask for help with certain assignments. Ideally, the buddy should volunteer for the role, to ensure it is a genuinely productive relationship.