BY Laura Furlong
Starting a new role can be overwhelming, and can feel even more so when the role is remote. In person, those nervous feelings tend to be eased within a few hours with human interactions guiding you on what to do, where to find things, and outlining your job duties.
As more companies move to remote and hybrid work models, remote onboarding has become much more than just sending hardware and swag to new employees. When done correctly, digital onboarding can offer a sense of security in a unique way that guides new hires to a successful transition. While the approach may differ, the key takeaway remains the same— to provide a positive experience for employees.
Stuck on what exactly to do to ensure a successful future for new hires? Onboarding starts with a strong foundation. Below you can find a few helpful tips to create a successful digital onboarding experience.
Establishing human connection and making new hires feel welcome is a critical moment and can determine talent retention and performance. From the moment a new hire logs on, it is important for them to feel welcome with communication and connection. This can be done by integrating a reference-able guide that walks them through expectations, helpful resources, and a space to communicate and collaborate with their managers and team. This crucial beginning moment also serves the purpose of easing any worries the new hires may have by giving them a source to connect with.
Although the ‘welcome wagon’ of donuts and coffee on your first day is a thing of the past, the current and future ‘welcome’ has evolved to become a unique, compelling experience that establishes team structure and connections.
Icebreakers are a great way to build a sense of community and cultivate camaraderie. They might include:
- Monthly new hire orientations
- Team building exercises (such as games) to build internal rapport
- Slack channels for specific interests to connect with like-minded individuals
Engaging activities are vital for fresh faces to have a warm welcome from their team and build lasting relationships. These bonding exercises solidify that moving forward, new team members are valued within the organization, can feel confident to voice their ideas, and can further understand their role within their department. So don’t be afraid to jump at the opportunity to plan an activity to build a sense of community from the very beginning of a new hire’s company journey.
Connect and collaborate with digital tools
As more and more companies and employees favor remote and hybrid work policies, onboarding has had to adapt to overcome the challenges of going digital.
Some challenges include:
- Maintaining human connection
- Conveying organizational brand and values
- Aligning onboarding documents and providing important information
- Granting access to needed resources for new hires
What is one solution for all of the listed ongoing challenges? Digital tools of course! Digital tools allow you to maintain connection and communication, provide a single source of information, and give new hires all the necessary applications they need to be successful. An additional benefit is that when employees have access to digital tools, it allows them to collaborate in a meaningful way to better understand the organization while simultaneously improving their overall experience.
Communicate by following up
Onboarding doesn’t stop when the paperwork is completed. It is an ongoing process. Whenever you’re onboarding a new employee, once all ice breakers and paperwork are complete, it is best practice to follow up about their experience.
Instead of a quick email checking in on a new hire, try the following engaging ideas:
- Send out a month-end survey to follow up with new hires to learn more about their experience and any suggestions to improve the onboarding process
- After 90 days, send out another survey to check in
- Make a resource hub for new (and current) employees to find answers to frequently asked questions
It may sound simple, but occasionally companies fail to engage with employees after their initial starting period. It’s important to continue the communication with employees so they not only feel valued, but the continued conversation also serves as a great benchmark for the organization.
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