A positive virtual onboarding experience has a strong impact on new employees, increasing staff retention and improving employee happiness and engagement.
Conversely, a poorly managed virtual onboarding can cause a new starter to feel less engaged, or that the company itself may be badly managed. This may negatively influence their impression of the company, and ultimately affect their decision to stay or leave.
Creating a great remote onboarding experience can be a complex business and requires structure to keep it interesting and help build employee confidence. Building a clear agenda for the first day, week, month and quarter is essential to achieving this.
The First Day Experience
The way in which you welcome your new starter is critical, and your virtual onboarding plan must strike a fine balance between communicating all the information your new starter needs without creating fatigue or anxiety. Information overload can lead to stress and confusion and should be avoided at all costs. An agenda helps to structure the day in a way that creates the most positive experience, avoiding pitfalls and ensuring the employee has confidence in their new role, and their employer.
Until recently, an employee’s first day would usually be at the office, where the day is easily broken up with meeting new teammates, a long lunch, meetings, and an office tour. While traditional onboarding is currently a thing of the past, the key elements also apply to virtual onboarding.
Though your new starter is at home, the virtual experience should still feel like a shift into something new. Creating a memorable first day will help your employee make this shift psychologically.
First Day Agenda Example
|09:30||Team Welcome||Start their first day with a team video call to introduce them to their colleagues. Extra care must be taken to ensure remote workers feel like part of a team, and confident in communicating with their virtual co-workers.|
|10:00||Organizational Chart and Company Values||
Introduce your new starter to the company structure, and where they fit into it. Explain the management structure, and ensure they know who they need to speak to for key tasks and wellbeing.
Give your employee a little history on the company, its values, and aims for the future. This could include anything from ‘increase AOV by 30%’ to ‘go plastic free’. Help them feel more engaged by explaining the part they play in the aims and vision of the company.
|11:30||Screen Break||Be sure to include a comfort screen break at regular intervals to keep your new joiner from suffering fatigue or overload.|
|12:00||Introductory Lunch||Though it is not currently possible to go for a traditional introductory lunch, there is no reason not to move this online. Take some time out for a virtual lunch with your new employee to help them relax and feel part of the company culture.|
After lunch, take your new hire through the company strategy. Before lunch they were introduced to the company values and aims, now explain how the company intends to reach their goals.
Following a second screen break, talk to them about their specific role within the company, their main responsibilities and what support they can expect from their team and line managers. Ensure they understand all communication systems and who to approach when they need support.
|14:30||Job role and responsibilities||Run your new employee through their job roles and responsibilities and ensure they are happy and confident with what is expected of them.|
|15:30||Payroll and Benefits||Next, make sure they have everything in place to ensure seamless payroll and that they understand all the benefits available to them in their new job.|
|16:30||Virtual Onboarding Debrief||
The first day in a new role can be gruelling, and a debrief at the end of the day is a great way to ensure everything has been understood whilst giving your new joiner the chance to ask questions.
We’ve created an agenda template to help you get your new employee’s first virtual workday running smoothly. You can download the first day agenda template and other useful resources from our Virtual Onboarding guide.
The First Week Experience
The first week in a new role can be stressful, and it is important to leave plenty of breathing space for your new employee to digest information, familiarize themselves with processes and procedures, and ask any questions they may have.
The Week One Agenda
As part of the virtual onboarding you will have introduced your new starter to a number of people, who they will now be in touch with to understand company systems and projects they will be working on. It is likely to be a lot to take in, and important that your new starter doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Make time for them to absorb everything and come back to you with any questions or comments. You can further improve this part of the virtual onboarding process by giving them the power to let you know when they are ready for the next run of information, and when they need a break.
Use the ‘week one agenda template in our Virtual Onboarding guide to ensure a seamless and stress free first week for your new employee.
The First Quarter Experience
By the end of the first quarter your employee shouldn’t feel so ‘new’ anymore. An established part of the team, they should feel confident in their role and have responsibility for projects and tasks as dictated by their role. They should have a good overall view of the company and have built relationships with their online colleagues.
The First Quarter Agenda
To maintain their growth and engagement, managers should check in with them and use structured conversations to ensure their wellbeing and identify any issues arising.
Download our Virtual Onboarding guide to access our first quarter agenda, check-in questions, and a virtual onboarding survey to help ensure maximum employee engagement and retention.
Ultimate Virtual Onboarding Guide
Download our free guide to virtual onboarding, packed full of tips and advice about all aspects of virtual onboarding, to help you give your new recruits the perfect welcome, virtually.