The global outbreak of COVID-19 has compelled businesses all over the world to transition to a remote environment. This means that organizations with hiring plans will be forced to onboard new employees virtually. 

The foundations of onboarding should remain the same – employees still need to sign their contracts, review training materials, and gain access to the proper tools. However, organizations now need to consider how they can communicate effectively when nobody is in the office.  

Onboarding a remote workforce is challenging, especially when you don’t have the right technology in place to support your HR team and new hires 

So, how do you onboard new hires during COVID-19? Below are a few tips for making this a smooth process: 

 

Create a Digital Onboarding Hub 

The first step in your onboarding process should involve putting together a digital onboarding hub. Ideally, your HR team should streamline your existing onboarding tools – whether that is Taleo, PeopleSoft, SuccessFactors, or another application – into one consolidated onboarding platform. 

In the end, you should have one mobile-optimized, branded, and efficient onboarding experienceInstead of jumping across various platformsemployees can access all of their onboarding materials from one spot. This ends up saving everyone time while also eliminating confusion and frustration.  

Below are some things to include in your onboarding hub: 

  • Documents and forms that they need to sign (contract, tax forms, benefits forms, etc.)  
  • Direct deposit information  
  • Login credentials for email and other tools  
  • Employee handbook  
  • A checklist of short and long-term goals  
  • An integration or invite to your learning management system (LMS) 

A digital onboarding hub will allow your new hires to be productive in the shortest amount of time, even when there isn’t someone sitting next to them to show support.  

 

Invest in an Online Training Software 

An online training software or learning management system, can help accelerate and simplify employee onboarding. These systems allow you to seamlessly train your new hires and monitor their progress from a single dashboard. Since the content is easily accessible, new employees can also go back and refresh their knowledge when needed.  

Unlike classroom-based training that is laborious and expensive, a virtual training program can make learning easier and more convenient. Instructors can pre-record sessions for new hires which can be accessed whenever and wherever they want, and on any device. Additionally, employers can use live training sessions with interactive features like online whiteboards, screen-sharing, breakout rooms, and chats to make remote training more engaging and collaborative. 

 

Build Face-to-Face Connections with Video Conferencing 

COVID-19 has prevented companies from bringing employees into their offices during orientation which can create a disconnect. However, you can use video conferencing to introduce your new hires to co-workers instead and help build relationships. Consider introducing them during your weekly stand-up meetings and arranging meetings between new hires and other members of your team. 

Similar to in-person conversations, video conferencing allows people to make eye contact and observe facial expressions. This makes it the best alternative to the typical in-office introductions and camaraderie that takes place during orientation. Video calling will allow new hires to dive into conversations and build professional relationships from day one. 

 

Ask Questions to Determine if They Are Ready to Begin 

It is important to obtain feedback from new hires before they begin new projects. If they are uncertain about specific components of a new project, then this might cause them stress down the road. 

To ensure that new employees feel comfortable and excited to begin, consider asking them some of the following questions: 

  • Do you have the tools and resources that you need? 
  • Do you clearly understand what is expected of you? 
  • Do you have any concerns about your projects? 
  • Do you feel comfortable reaching out to other team members for help? 

You won’t be sitting next to them as they are working, so any questions or concerns should be voiced from the get-go. You can use this information to provide them with additional clarification so that they avoid wasting their time. 

 

Improve Your Onboarding Process 

For every new process that you implement, you should consider its success and failures. Assess and document how new workers respond to the onboarding strategy. Did it take them long to get up to speed? Was there any confusion throughout the onboarding process? Was anything missing in the onboarding process? Determine what you should keep in your onboarding process, and brainstorm possible alternatives to elements of the onboarding process that were unorganized or confusing. 

If you expect remote onboarding to be in your organization’s future, then it’s crucial you start improving the process. By continuously evaluating and refining the onboarding process, you can help remote employees adapt to their new roles and company culture in no time.  

Ramp up new hires faster with one-stop onboarding

 

Wrap Up 

An effective onboarding process will allow your new hires to make meaningful contributions more quickly. According to the Harvard Business Review, organizations with a standardized onboarding process experience a 62% boost in new hire productivity, along with a 50% boost in new hire retention.  

Onboarding any new employee is challenging but completing the onboarding process in a remote environment can introduce many additional hurdles. However, if you optimize the proper technology, then you will have an easier time connecting new hires with colleagues, bridging knowledge gaps, and getting them acquainted with your company’s product or service. 
 

About the Author      

Ehsan Memari is a blogger for SkyPrepSkyPrep offers an award-winning learning management system that simplifies online training for over 400,000 users from leading companies in different industries and sectors across the world. Both customers and industry experts have recognized SkyPrep for its industry-leading ease-of-use and outstanding customer support. 

Copy link