5 ways to ace virtual onboarding in the present times

Welcoming new employees in post-covid world is tough. This blog will help you understand that what are some of the essential steps to follow if you want to ensure smooth employee on boarding.

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Welcoming new employees in virtual onboarding is always stressful and current scenarios wherein you can’t do things in person raises the bar way higher. Believe it or not according to Gallup’s research only 12% of employees onboarded remotely feel that the company did a good job. And that number is extremely low to be honest. But what can they do- there is no protocol set, no set path to be followed.


How do you get them accustomed to culture? How do you create an impression that will instantly connect them with the company? How do you make them part of the family? How do you send the office culture to them? How do you welcome them? All valid questions. And since there are no set rules, it is time for you to be creative and set a pattern for your company or maybe an example for others to follow.

In the meantime you can take a look at how some of the top brands are doing virtual onboarding and take hints on how to ace it yourself.

Get them work-ready like Ogilvy & Mather 

Take a second and think, what kind of an impression you would like to make on your new joinees. You want your new employees to feel welcomed and immediately feel the vibe of the company, right? So, send in a small package with goodies to give them a warm welcome. It could be as simple as a notepad, a pen, a company’s merchandise, and a note from the manager and/or CEO.


You can send in the package you would generally use to welcome them if it was a regular onboarding scenario, or you can go all out and make a new package just for remote employees. Believe it or not 58% organizations themselves say that their virtual onboarding process is all about processes and paperwork. While it is not an extremely time consuming task to put together a welcome package yet it is overlooked. 


But Ogilvy & Mather decided to put a thought in it and create a dedicated box for them. Apart from the basic brochures, cards, an office plan and a welcome letter it also has a book that is otherwise not available.


The book is written by the founder David Ogilvy- The eternal pursuit of unhappiness. The book is not only a great read but it acts as a handbook for the new employees that provides them all the information about the agency, its history, mission, vision and values. This is one way to smooth virtual onboarding process.

Create the culture, learn from Netflix

70% of HR leaders strongly believe that a company’s culture is crucial for the financial success of their company, according to a 2020 survey by Gartner.  But there’s no denying that getting the remote employees connected to the company’s culture is probably the most difficult task of virtual onboarding. People generally understand the company’s culture by observing how things go around from their seniors.


Unfortunately it is tougher when they don’t see those values in practice. So, what can be done? What is the way out? Just sharing the documents with the new joinees with the other paperwork? Or getting on a call to share the values of your company? But is that enough!


Well, Netflix has found the perfect way of connecting the new joinees with the company’s culture. So, what did they do? Well, they showed them instead of saying things. Netflix strongly believes in encouraging independent decision-making by employees, sharing information openly, broadly, and deliberately, are extraordinarily candid with each other, keep only our highly effective people, and avoid rules. This is one way to smooth virtual onboarding process.


So, when someone joins Netflix they are given tasks that they can take up ownership for, and equally important- get on a call with any of the colleagues to discuss ideas and just ‘chill’. This not only breaks the ice but boosts the new joinees confidence and instantly makes them feel connected with the company. Now, isn’t that just great?

Help them hit the ground running- Quora

Want your employees to hit the ground running? Well, guess what with a little prep you can easily ensure that. Most companies just focus on week 1 of virtual onboarding which is not the wisest way to go about it. See, if anyone has made a switch and entered your firm you have to be thorough about the process and train them well to ensure they deliver their optimum capabilities and bring laurels to the company.


How will someone be a team player if they are unaware about the team’s goals and their own? Valid point, right! Well, who said it’s unattainable, all you have to do is make a proper plan for them. A lot of companies believe in the good old 30-60-90 days plan to help new employees align their goals with the companies and track their progress. You can catch up with them after every milestone and discuss how you can assist them. 


Quora tailor makes new hires’ goals to their booming startup. Quora’s top focus is productivity and hence, they break down tasks for their new employees so that by the end of the first week they have a complete idea of how to manage their work. Apart from that in the next couple of weeks of joining the company there are 10 virtual onboarding talks to teach them the fundamentals of success and provide them with documentation to provide them clarity on tools and concepts.


And in order to have the new employees properly trained and ready for work Quora respects the mentors losing upto 25% of the mentor’s productivity to bring everyone’s productivity at 100%. Small sacrifices for ultimate success.

Buddy on board- Buffer’s ‘three-buddy’ system

Imagine a scenario, your first day in your dream company, extremely excited, you get introduced to the workforce and then you begin your work. But there are certain doubts and walking into your manager’s office for every query doesn’t seem a great idea. This is one way to smooth virtual onboarding process.


Now, imagine another scenario, the same setup but with one difference, before you go ahead and get seated to start your work, your manager introduces you to your ‘buddy’- the go to person for your queries. Which one sounds more appealing to you? According to HCI, 87% of companies that assigned a buddy to their new hires found out that it is effective in boosting efficiency. 


One of the companies that swears by the buddy program during the virtual onboarding process is Buffer. In fact, they don’t just have one buddy but they have a ‘three- buddy’ system. Buffer has been a remote company for quite some time and this three buddy system has been a great help for ensuring the smooth virtual onboarding process.


The three buddies – A Leader Buddy, a Role Buddy, and a Culture Buddy have three different roles and responsibilities for the initial six weeks to help the new employee become a part of the team and feel at home.

Take a break, a constant at LinkedIn

While the only reason you add more people to your team is to enhance productivity and reach your company’s goals, you have to make sure that your employees feel a balance between their work and life. In the present times where most of us continue to work from home over a year after the pandemic struck, the fun tea-breaks have been off the table. This is one way to smooth virtual onboarding process.


Most of us speak to our colleagues to discuss projects and tasks, the personal connection is lost. A survey done by Airtasker revealed that 37% of remote workers stay productive by taking breaks. It helps them to focus better on their tasks and come up with new ideas.


Kelly Chuck, who spearheads the curriculum for LinkedIn’s virtual onboarding program, gives a lot of importance to taking ‘virtual-coffee breaks’. She constantly checks up on the new employees to ensure they are going through a smooth transition To keep participants engaged, Kelly has some tricks that she uses frequently. She asks participants to use the chat function: “Tell me what you had for breakfast this morning.”


She asks for signals: “Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the social impact team.” Every hour she does an energy check: “How is your energy level? Zero is I feel like it’s 3 a.m. Ten is I am so on and excited to be here.” 


Always remember that virtual onboarding new joiners is just like welcoming family members. Treat them how you would like to be welcomed if you were in their shoes, it is always the best way to tackle any situation. So, don’t hesitate, experiment with this opportunity and set forth an example. 


Share your views on some of the tips that will be helpful in virtual onboarding new joiners during these challenging times.

Vijay Arcot

Director Talent Acquisition

Candidate communication is important to know what are your vision and and how can they fit into the entire equation and why should they choose us that? The “Why” part has to be very clear because there are thousands of options for everyone.We have made experimental campaigns to communicate our vision, the “why” and about us better to the candidates.

Our first campaign was more about who we are, what we do, what is our vision.The second campaign was totally focused. Why mean, why should they come join us? We had made communication on “What is there for them?” All our campaigns were hyper personalized again.The other important part of the communication was that clarity and consistency like our philosophy,compensation structure, policies etc.