3 tips for successful digital onboarding

As we are entering into the 9th week of lockdown, most companies have become relatively accustomed to carrying out job interviews via skype/​hangouts and have adjusted their recruitment processes accordingly. However, once someone has been hired, the task of completing a successful digital onboarding begins. This poses so many questions and challenges to the company, the team and also the new hire.
Where to begin? We have put together 3 of our top tips to help your digital onboarding go as smoothly as possible. 

Tip 1: Pre-onboarding is crucial

Your onboarding can begin as soon as your new employee has signed their contract. Pre-onboarding should be focused on making your employee feel welcomed and supported.

- Invite to your team WhatsApp group
This will kickstart their integration into your team.

- Send them a welcome gift [if you have the budget]
I mean who doesn’t love to receive a nice bunch of flowers or a personalised bar of Tony’s Chocoloney?!

- Ask your new hire to create a get to know me’ email which will be sent to the team.
This email should really be focused on actually getting to know your new employee, and not focused on their work/​study background. This way, personal connections can already start to form.
Some questions you can ask your employee to answer:
What gets you out of bed in a morning? What is your hidden talent? What is on your bucket list? How would your friends describe you in 3 words?
You get the idea…

Now is also the time to make your new employee feel prepared for their new role. Let them know how the company works, for example, working hours, remote working expectations & make sure all necessary documents are ready for them to complete and sign. If you are looking for a good tool to remotely sign documents, check out HelloSign, SignRequest or DocuSign.

Tip 2: Regular contact moments & virtual coffee dates

Staying connected with your new employee once they start is so important, even more so as there is no face-to-face interaction. Weekly check-in’s with your new employee is a great start but try and gauge their needs. Everyone is different and some people need more time to come out of their shell and feel comfortable. 

A nice tip is to arrange a virtual team lunch on their first day. Make sure all your team attend and make time to get to know your new employee.

Something we do at The Talent Institute is to arrange a (virtual) coffee date with each new employee. The goal is very simple, to just get to know each other a little better. There is no set process to follow, and nothing you should/​should not talk about. It’s amazing to see where the conversations can go and how much you can learn about someone in 15 minutes. Make the coffee dates a two-way exchange of information — Don’t forget to leave space to let your new employee ask you questions. 

Tip 3: Set clear expectations

After your employee has settled in a little bit and got to know the team, the next step is communicating very clear goals and expectations — a lack of direct contact can result in misunderstandings. Having clear goals and expectations laid out will enable your new employee to hit the ground running. 

During the remote working times, it can really help to match your new employee to a buddy. This is ideally someone your new employee will work closely within their role. This creates a safe space for your new employee to ask all their questions that they might be intimidated to ask in front of the entire team. 

Digital onboarding is no easy feat, but with a few simple tricks, you can make your new employee feel like they just walked into the office and met everyone for the first time. Who knows, maybe even after the lockdown you can implement some of these ideas into your previous way of onboarding new employees.

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By Lauren Robbins

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