How to Make New Hires Feel Welcome with a Virtual Onboarding Process

Virtual onboarding ideas are ways to introduce and welcome new employees into remote teams. Examples ideas include grand entrance announcements and new hire survival kits. These activities can meaningfully connect remote employees with coworkers and create a warm and welcoming work environment. This process is also known as “online onboarding” or “remote onboarding.”

Onboarding new employees remotely comes with unique challenges Without in-person interactions, it’s harder for new team members to build connections, absorb organizational knowledge, and feel fully welcomed

However, with intention and creativity, you can make new remote employees feel engaged, supported, and enthusiastic about their new role.

Follow this comprehensive guide to virtually onboard new hires successfully:

Before Day 1

Make a great first impression by proactively welcoming remote new hires before their start date:

  • Send a welcome package with company swag, handwritten notes from team members, and useful items for working from home. This makes them feel special.

  • Introduce them to key teammates via video call. Putting faces to names early fosters relationships.

  • Set up their technology access and accounts so everything is ready on day one.

  • Assign them an onboarding buddy they can turn to for questions.

Early outreach sets the stage for an inclusive onboarding experience.

First Day

Designer a fun, thorough agenda for the new hire’s first day remotely:

  • Kick off with a video call welcome from the CEO, their manager, and direct teammates.

  • Provide a video tour of the office space so they can get visual context, even if working remotely.

  • Review key policies and procedures in an engaging way, like a jeopardy game.

  • Introduce common tools and systems via guided tutorial videos they can refer back to.

  • Define their first week priorities and 30/60/90 day goals.

The first day experience frames the tone of their onboarding journey. Make it welcoming and constructive.

First Week

The first week is crucial for assimilating new remote workers into the fabric of your organization socially and professionally.

  • Schedule video conferences to connect new hires with stakeholders across the company.

  • Provide self-paced online training modules to build job skills, with check-ins on progress.

  • Set up virtual coffee chats for them to get to know teammates one-on-one.

  • Assign a small project they can accomplish independently to build confidence.

  • Celebrate the first week milestone with a fun virtual happy hour or game night.

Thoughtful first week plans acclimate new employees to systems, people, and culture.

First Month

In the first month, focus on making new hires fully proficient in their role and forging human connections:

  • Host informal virtual lunches where new employees can ask leadership questions.

  • Train them on relationship-building and internal networking. Introduce them to key contacts.

  • Provide online training on company values, vision, and culture. Discuss where they see themselves contributing.

  • Pair them with peer buddies outside their team to expand connections.

  • Recognize 30-day achievements publicly in a video call huddle or e-newsletter.

The first month experience cements new hires’ sense of alignment and belonging.

Ongoing Engagement

Onboarding is not just the beginning – it’s an ongoing process of nurturing talent engagement and growth.

  • Check in regularly via video call on how new employees are adjusting to the company and role.

  • Involve them in culture-building events like virtual volunteering, workshops, or hackathons.

  • Mentor them on long-term career development and training opportunities.

  • Assign them a “workiversary” buddy to celebrate their one year mark.

  • Conduct stay interviews to keep a pulse on their experience and opportunities to improve.

Ongoing human connection and growth opportunities lead to productive, fulfilled team members who build their careers with you.

Measuring Success

It’s crucial to measure the effectiveness of virtual onboarding:

  • Pulse surveys – Gauge new hire satisfaction at 30/60/90 days. Tweak your program based on feedback.

  • Productivity benchmarks – Track new employees’ ramp up to productivity vs. tenured staff. Rightsize your timeline.

  • Engagement levels – Assess participation in culture-building events and team connections.

  • Retention rates – Analyze 1-year attrition rates. Correlate to onboarding experience.

  • Program ROI – Weigh onboarding costs versus impacts on productivity, performance, and retention.

Analytics empower you to continually refine and improve your virtual onboarding. Deliver maximum return on human capital investments.

Onboarding remotely takes forethought, follow-through, and personalization. But welcoming new employees virtually with care and creativity builds an engaged, connected workforce – even from afar. Leverage tools like video calls, productivity trackers, pulse surveys, and remote social events to make new team members feel at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some best practices for a virtual welcome kit?

Great items to include are company shirts, hats, or backpacks, handwritten welcome notes, coffee gift cards, fun office supplies, and information on company culture, values, and people. Personal touches make new hires feel special.

How can I train new hires virtually on our systems and processes?

Options include walkthrough videos, live video demonstrations, knowledge check quizzes, scavenger hunts using your intranet, and assigning buddies as go-to resources. Mix learning methods to cater to different styles.

What are fun ways to help remote new hires bond with teammates?

Consider virtual coffee chats, trivia or game sessions, cookalongs, book clubs, happy hours, volunteering events, step challenges, and more. Get creative in bonding without being in-person!

How can I check on a new hire’s progress with onboarding tasks?

Tools like Trello, Asana, Smartsheet, and allow you to assign onboarding checklists and training modules and track new hire completion and progress.

What are keys to developing an onboarding buddy program remotely?

Match buddies based on aligned interests, skills, and personality – not just similar roles. Establish guidelines on being available to connect 1:1 at least 1-2 times per week initially. Check in that it’s going well.

How can I evaluate the ROI of virtual onboarding programs?

Analyze program costs versus impacts on one-year retention rates, new hire productivity ramp-up, job satisfaction, and performance. The higher quality your onboarding, the greater your human capital returns.

how to welcome new employee virtually

List of virtual onboarding ideas

From announcements to online scavenger hunts to Working Without Pants, here is a list of remote onboarding activities that will help remote employees start strong.

New hire survival kits

One of the more personal new employee orientation ideas is to send new hire survival kits during the first weeks. You can curate customized care packages with contributions from the rest of the team and mail the package.

New hire survival kit ideas:

  • Snacks
  • Company swag
  • Stress ball
  • Earbuds
  • Funny pictures
  • Coffee
  • Water bottle
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Business cards

The gift can double as a virtual team building exercise if you ask each team member to suggest an item and write a welcome message. Perhaps Geoffrey sips a special tea that helps him focus, while Selma finds the best way to unwind is by looking at photos of hedgehogs in hats. Instead of asking each employee to send an object, you can take suggestions and gather all the ingredients for the package, giving the present a more personal and collaborative touch.

As an added plus, obtaining your new employee’s address up front means you can send stealthy surprises in the future!

Learn more about team building kits.

How To Welcome A New Employee To The Team

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