Virtual Onboarding Ideas to Welcome New Employees in 2022

March 29, 2022

how to welcome a new employee virtually

Ever since the pandemic started, most companies have had to shift to remote work. At first, this may have all been a bit daunting. However, after a couple of years of this format of work, both employees and employers have started to see this method of work can also work effectively when done properly. A particular difficulty that employers face is making new employees feel like a part of the organization. Older employees know about their workplace but the newer ones need to be made to feel welcome and part of the team.

Why A Proper Welcome Matters

Think of it this way, you may have had an excellent workplace culture where employees felt engaged, valued, motivated, and a part of the team. However, now you do not have any physical space to congregate anymore due to covid restrictions. While the restrictions may vary from place to place, in general, most offices are not still fully open and fully functional.

So, when you have a new employee joining your ranks, you will need to make sure they get to understand the true essence of your company. Things like your company ethos, the culture in place, behavioral expectations- all of these things need to be communicated properly to all new employees.

When you welcome your new employees properly and with due diligence, you will show that you care about both them and also how other people perceive your company. The fact that you care enough to go the extra mile to make sure new employees feel part of the company will reflect very positively on you as an employer.

This is why we are going to be looking at that exact topic, how to welcome a new employee virtually! Let us dive straight into it.

Before You Meet and Greet Your New Employee

Let us first get to know a bit about the things you ought to do before you meet your new employees virtually.

Plan and Prepare Before You Perform

You need to have a clear understanding of how you want to welcome your new employees. A lot of things can be done in order to achieve this. This is why it is imperative that you understand the welcome that will best suit both you and your new employees’ needs.

Do not just welcome them via a zoom call without proper planning. If you are not prepared, it will show and your new employees will not be impressed at all. This is literally the last thing that you would want as an employer and in order to avoid this, you need to plan ahead and be properly prepared when you do finally meet them virtually.

Virtual Onboarding Checklist

Before you virtually welcome your new employees, make sure you take care of the following:

  • Make sure that they have all the required resources at their disposal
  • Try out a virtual hang out session 
  • You should ensure there is an orientation session
  • Introduce them to HR
  • Link them up with IT and explain to them how your remote operations work
  • Departmental orientation
  • Product, support, and sales sync should be ensured
  • New employees need to be introduced to the existing employees
  • Make sure that you conduct training for their particular role

Set the Stage for the New Employee

Say you were hiring a new employee in your physical office. You would have been able to set up their workstation in the proper manner and according to their exact needs. However, when it comes to virtual employees, you cannot do that. However, what you can do is to make sure their virtual workspace has been arranged properly. You also need to make sure that there are no technical glitches.

All of these things can seem a bit overwhelming. However, it will get a lot more stressful if you leave it all at the last minute. If you yourself are not prepared to meet them where they are at and to familiarize them with your workplace, the new employees will feel very overwhelmed. You do not want that happening on their first day. So, make sure that you set up your new employee for success by making sure to set the stage before they start working.

Spread the Word About the New Employee

Employees like being recognized. In fact, not just employees, it is a human tendency to want validation from your fellow human beings. So, it would be a great idea to make sure to introduce your new employees to the existing ones.

This way, the new employees will get to meet their colleagues virtually and it can be a bit of a social bonding experience. This is a relatively simple thing to pull off and you should definitely make the best use of it in order to properly welcome new employees.

On Their First Day

New employees will undoubtedly feel a lot of pressure to perform and impress on their first day. All of that energy and desire to impress and perform may actually get in the way of them being able to accomplish those exact goals. The first day of work at a new office can be nerve-wracking.

However, you can do a lot to ease their anxiety. The idea here is to make them feel welcome on their first day. Remember, if they are not going to do well, it will cost you. Not only will you have poor employee retention but you will be actively contributing to harming your own company. This is why it is so important to get things going properly. So, make sure your new employees feel welcome right from the very onset.

Break the Ice

First impressions are important. They form an immediate impression on people and that really matters. So, when your new employees first start their career with you, take some time to get to know them. Part of making employees feel welcome is to break the ice and get to know them better. Here are some ways you can do exactly that:

  • Virtual Coffee Time: Most people like coffee and even if they don’t, maybe you could send them some hot cocoa or a drink that they like. The idea here is to have a separate time scheduled for your new employees to get to know you and your other employees better.
  • Play Would You Rather: This is a great game to get to know someone. The game is pretty simple and can be held virtually. The game is simple- all you have to do is to give them two options and make them select only one.

While this can be extremely fun and revealing, make sure that you establish proper protocols before you start the game. You do not want people to ask questions that may not align with your company values.

  • This Or That: This is another really fun game that will really help you not only break the ice but also get to know the new employees better. Once again, the game is very simple. You need to allocate not more than 10 minutes for it but it can yield high rewards.

You need to provide the new employees with two options. It can be something as simple as asking them if they prefer cats or dogs. So, as you can see, not only can it be fun but it can also be very revealing as well.

Help Them Meet Their Coworkers

This would have happened naturally and in due time only if you were welcoming your new employees into your physical office. However, since we are talking about remote work, this can be a bit tricky to accomplish.

If you run a particularly big company or organization, this will be all the more difficult. So, the best idea may be to at least introduce your new employees to their immediate supervisor and their departmental colleagues.

Make sure that you make them feel like they are a part of the team and not just someone you pay to get some work done.

Make the Company’s Structure Known

This is of absolute vital importance. New employees need to understand not only how your company works, but also the chain of command present within the organization.

You do not want your new employee to be bothering your senior employees or other employees in order to get their work done. They need to properly understand how tasks are executed within the company and they need to know who to talk to about what.

Set Up Their Recognition App System

A particularly good way to make sure the new employees stay on track and on top of their game is to set up their recognition system via some kind of recognition app. When employees know that their performances will be scrutinized in such detail, they will be incentivized to do the best job possible.

Also, recognition apps recognize good performances. When an entire organization is on a platform where all team members can see how well they are all doing, it will motivate them to work harder because of the simple reason that no one wants to feel incompetent in front of their peers.

Be Smart About Sharing Details

It is pretty obvious that on the first day of work, your new employees will be given a ton of brand new information to digest. Even if they are seasoned employees, they have not worked at your organization before. Therefore, they may easily get overwhelmed by the gigantic flow of information they have to deal with on the first day. A lot of things can, and most likely will slip out of their minds.

You can make this whole process a whole lot smoother by being smart about how you share the details. First of all, know that the new employees need all of these things in an organized manner and the documents need to be accessible. Make sure that these things are taken care of. Otherwise, it can easily lead to a lot of confusion with regard to all involved.

Assign Your New Employee a Virtual Mentor

New employees should be assigned a virtual mentor. This can really help them get the essence of the company much faster and more easily. They will also be better equipped to handle any difficulties that may arise by simply asking the mentor for guidance. If the mentor does his/her job properly, you will see the new employee flourishing in no time.

Check-In Frequently

As mentioned earlier, the first day of work, be it remote or otherwise, will be stressful. As their boss, you can make them feel much more comfortable and at ease just by checking up on them at regular intervals during the first day.

You do not have to engage with them so much that they are not able to carry out their tasks properly. A simple, “You doing OK?,” will suffice. This will really help them with their motivation and loyalty levels as well.

Provide Welcome Treats

While you cannot share a meal together with your new employees since it’s all remote work, you can, still, send them some welcome treats. This will let employees know you are going that extra mile to show you care about them.

The treats, themselves, do not have to be anything too fancy. Just some candy or a small savory item will do.

Pair Them Up With a Work Buddy

Your new employees will no doubt face some challenging situations when they first join your company. These challenges may get overwhelming and this is why it is a particularly good idea to pair them up with someone who knows the ropes around the office.

This will also motivate them as you are actively showing interest in making their work-life easier. This will not only benefit your employee but will also boost the morale and productivity of your entire workforce. There is nothing worse than an employee who cannot pull their weight. So, in order to prevent this from happening, pair them up with a work buddy.

In the Weeks to Come

Schedule Virtual Coffee Breaks

Once the initial orientation process is complete and your new employees have settled into a productive routine, you still have some work to do as an employer. While welcoming them properly is very obviously a priority, you should also strive to make that initial excitement of joining a new company last as long as possible.

One great idea to keep up your employees’ motivation levels is to schedule some virtual coffee breaks. Full-time work is tiring and very draining. However, when you show your employees that you care about their well-being, it will only benefit you. Virtual coffee breaks can be the perfect opportunity to show that you care.

Arrange Check-Ins

After the initial onboarding process has been completed, it is now time to make sure that you check up on your new employees at least once a week for the first month. This can be very beneficial for all parties involved and who knows, it may even give you a new perspective of how you are doing in terms of onboarding new employees. 

Final Words

As we have mentioned before, first impressions last. So, when it comes to welcoming new employees virtually, make sure to get it right. This article is a broad overview of what can be done but there are obviously tons of other ways to achieve the same results.

Remember, you do not want an unhappy or confused employee within your ranks. It will only drive down productivity and team morale. Welcoming them properly on their first day of remote work can go a long way to getting things started on the right foot.

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