5 Tips for Virtual Onboarding

Onboarding has historically been a process where a new employee is given the knowledge and skills to become effective within their new role. As companies across the country are now transitioning to remote work, they now have to rethink how to conduct virtual interviews and onboard new employees.

The traditional onboarding process can be segmented into different phases

Preboarding: during this phase, the focus is on introducing the new employee to how the company operates. Information about the dress code or the holidays observed are typically the information disclosed during this time.

Orientation: this typically encompasses an employee’s first weeks and is meant to introduce the employee to the company culture. Share what the company’s operating principle are, or what your core values are. This is when the employee develops a first impression of their new colleagues and managers.

Familiarization and Integration: this is when the employee becomes capable of performing the job they’ve been hired for. Ensure that your new employee has been given the necessary tools and resources to be successful.

But in our new way of working remotely, you have to think how these phases can be adapted in a virtual environment. Here are some tips on creating an onboarding process for virtual teams:

1. Organization is key

First, make sure your onboarding process is documented so that you can begin adapting and digitally implementing it. This can be done in the form of a simple checklist. Share this list with your new employee and review it so that you’re both on the same page. A few items that can be on your checklist include:

  • A welcome letter or email containing crucial documents to be completed, such as an I-9 form.
  • A cheat sheet of who to contact in the business for various needs
  • A description of regular meetings that take place, such as town halls

2. One-on-One video chat

There are a number of virtual communication tools for you to choose from. Once you’ve selected the one that best meets your business needs, it’s important to schedule time for you and your new employee to meet virtually. Avoid phone calls and opt instead for a video call. Being able to see each other will help lessen the distance.

3. Set clear expectations and objectives

When working remotely, you do not have the ability to simply walk up to your manager or a colleague if you have a question. This is why it is important that, during a virtual onboarding, goals and expectations are communicated clearly from the beginning and supported with documentation.

4. Social integration

Company culture is perhaps more easily learned when employees are physically together. New employees are able to observe and learn the social norms of a company. But for remote workers, this becomes more challenging. Social connections can be established and maintained by regularly scheduling conference calls, video chats, or instant messaging sessions. Introduce the new employee publicly so that all employees are aware of the new hire. Schedule brief one-on-one sessions for your new employee to meet with all the managers throughout the business.

5. Constant evaluation

During the employee’s first few weeks, consistently check in and ask for feedback. Ask questions about how the employee is acclimating and if there is anything unclear. Be their champion.


Companies around the world are having to adjust to remote work environments, and onboarding new employees in particular is a challenge. We hope these tips help you feel more comfortable and confident in your virtual onboarding program. If you need any advice from our expert consultants, please get in contact with us.

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