3 Tips for On-boarding New-Hires, Virtually

2016-02-02_12-53-29With companies being so global these days, the old method for on-boarding new hires (gathering them together on a certain day of the month) is not realistic anymore. Many organizations have started to on-board their new-hires virtually, which may seem like an impersonal way to welcome someone to your company, however, when done effectively, the satisfaction rating for virtual on-boarding is just as high as for in-person on-boarding.

The Training Doctor has worked with a number of global organizations in the past few years to both design and deliver their new-hire on-boarding process. In this piece we will share with you some of the best practices we have established to ensure that your new-hires feel that they are a welcome and valuable addition to your organization.

Caveat: These tips are based on the assumption that the new hires are prepared to take this class. Preparation includes:

  • they have a computer / work station
  • they have an appropriate office set up
  • they have tested their a connection to the online platform
  • they know how to access the class
  • you are NOT doing HR / administration tasks Best practice tips for on-boarding new hires virtually

Tip #1: Make the welcome memorable

Most on-boarding training, when done for a global organization, asks participants to declare where they “are” in the world. This is extremely boring and doesn’t make the new-hire feel as though they are really part of a cohort. However, introductions are crucial because you don’t want a participant to feel isolated. You want to hit the ground running and have people feel as though they want to participate and that it is going to be fun to do so. One idea is to put a grid on the screen, have each new-hire claim a cell as their own, and then answer a series of questions that explore their personality and uniqueness, such as: what is your current position, what was your last job, what was the first job you ever held, what was the most unique job you’ve ever held, one thing your colleagues would guess about you based on your work relationship (we’ve had some fascinating declarations to this questions).

These things get people talking, get them fascinated in their fellow new hires, (they’ll start having side conversations in chat which is FINE, you want them to make connections), it makes them feel as though they “know” everybody already and that they are not isolated at their desk in East Podunk (what do you know? We just Googled that and there actually IS an E Podunk, CT).

If the facilitator is really quick, you can take a screen shot of this introductory screen and then refer to it throughout the session rather than saying “Who was that again, that won the Jr Bowling championship?”

At this point in the orientation, the presenter is the focal point, so they have to show genuine interest in everyone who is in attendance.


Tip #2: Spread out information about the company throughout the presentation

Don’t spend an extended time on company information – it can become information overload and disengaging. Spread out the information in different ways throughout the session. You’ll want to concentrate on things that will get people emotionally connected to the organization: things that are interesting, funny, awe inspiring, perhaps a comment from the CEO, pictures from over the years, awards the company has won, or activities that get the new-hires participating and learning about the company (like a company website scavenger hunt).

Another option for disseminating factual information about the company throughout the presentation is creating some kind of image or graphic which contains that information and have it pop up on various slides, a’la the factoids about musical artists that used to appear on VH1 music videos.


3. A message or involvement from Sr. Management is critical

This idea originated with Jack Welch who made it a point to address each management class at their Crotonville facility. Some ideas include a video from a Sr. leader of the organization, or having a leader personally appear for a period of time during the orientation. The leadership message should include information about the company such as its competitive advantage, what drives results – quality, service, low-cost, how the new-hire’s job assists in achieving the above two items. Many of these topics are covered during interviews but the amount of time between interviews and actual hire is often enough that individuals forget this information; plus, during an interview, individuals are nervous and may not give their full attention to information of that nature. So it’s always a good idea to reiterate these concepts and having a leader of the organization deliver them helps the new-hires to realize that their contribution to the organization was a thoughtful hire and is appreciated by the senior management of the organization, and that this on-boarding isn’t simply an administrative task that needs to be accomplished by HR.

Contrary to what you might think, it IS possible, with planning and attention to detail, to create a welcoming and inspiring new-hire on-boarding experience. If you’d like to learn more about on-boarding new-hires virtually, please contact us and we are happy to share our other best practices.