4 ways to effectively onboard a new hire virtually and in-person

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[Written by Steve Van Remortel on July 15, 2020]


Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding looks different now, doesn’t it?

Because of COVID, most of the process is being done remotely. Think about that; you are adding a new team member to your organization and department that you may never meet before joining your team.

While interviews with candidates have been completed by video for years, completing the onboarding process remotely is a new thing.

Onboarding is challenging during “normal” times. Throw a pandemic in the mix, and now that challenge became increasingly more difficult.

How has COVID-19 affected onboarding?

A quality onboarding process can take months before the new team member really starts bringing value to the business. And that’s if a company even continues onboarding past the first week.

“Human Capital Institute states that most organizations have stopped their onboarding process just after the first week, leaving new hires feeling confused, discouraged, and lacking resources.”

Think about it. You’re a new team member working alone from home with people you’ve never met or know anything about. You’re starving for team interaction and camaraderie.

No wonder many new team members feel confused, discouraged, and alone.

That is why in today’s Scoop, I’m going to share four methodologies to help you make your virtual and in-person onboarding process more effective and shorten the time it takes to ramp up your new team member:

Four methodologies for better virtual and in-person onboarding

1. Create a development plan based on your learnings from the hiring process

The hiring process’s objective is to gain as much information about each candidate as possible to make the most informed decision. Use all of that information to create the first-year development plan for your new team member.

Our clients use behavioral science assessments in their hiring process to obtain the most in-depth understanding of who the new hire is. By using behavioral science, you learn what their strengths and blind spots are, how you can best motivate them, and how to immediately improve performance. Letting this information fade away once the hire is made is among the biggest mistakes a company can make.

Set up a zoom call with your new hire to review their behavioral science results and/or notes from the hiring process to identify their two to four areas of development.

2. Develop a communication plan for the new hire and their manager

Communication is a critical component of high-performing relationships and teams. That’s why creating a plan around how your new hire and the hiring manager can best communicate is essential.

When they both understand how to best work and communicate with each other, they’ll be more efficient and have higher job satisfaction. This is increasingly important, with more communication taking place virtually.

There are two ways to develop a communication plan:

  1. Define the do’s and don’ts of communication. How, when, and where do you want to be communicated with?
  2. If used, the behavioral science results have an entire page in the report that defines the dos and don’ts of communication for the new team member and manager.

3. Complete a simple team development exercise with the new hire, their manager, and department

To ensure your new hire integrates smoothly within your company, you first need to ensure they fit well within the department they’re working in.

Let’s say you’re hiring an Account Manager. For them to be a productive team member, they need to be able to work well with the sales and marketing department. By completing a team development exercise with the new hire, the hiring manager, and the sales and marketing department, you will empower the whole department to perform at its highest level

4. Complete a breakthrough company-wide team development exercise

Depending on your new hire’s position, it may also be beneficial to complete the team development exercise as a company. This will help you retain this new hire better as you effectively integrate them into your team and culture as they become productive quicker.

We have used these methodologies to effectively assist countless clients with onboarding new team members onto their team virtually and in person. But as we’ve shifted to a more remote workplace, we saw the benefit of these four methodologies increase significantly.

Some of the benefits we observed our clients experience as they completed onboarding virtually are:

  • Improved communication between the new hire and team members resulting in working more effectively together
  • More engaged and productive team members creating an employer of choice culture
  • Significantly shortened ramp-up of each new team member leading to top and bottom-line impact that can be thousands and thousands of dollars

Great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82% (Glassdoor)

Your Action Plan

Congratulations on making the hire. However, you can’t let off the gas once the hire is made. You need to be intentional, thoughtful, and systematic about your onboarding process to optimize your hiring decision.

Onboarding was never a nice-to-have; it’s always been a must-have for high-performing teams. And this pandemic has made onboarding more vital in building the team to achieve your dream.

If you need more information to enhance your virtual and in-person onboarding process, send me an email and let’s see how our team and resources can help.