Virtual on-boarding during Covid-19

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Thursday, April 09, 2020

In these strange times, companies have shared concerns with us regarding putting a pause on hiring new resource, and as such, missing out on securing the best talent for their live vacancies. Whilst there are naturally some industries who have been impacted more significantly by Covid19, most businesses seem keen to try and adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach as best possible.

One of the obvious considerations for employers hiring now, is the challenge of successfully onboarding these individuals in a way that is neither detrimental to the candidate experience or compromising of company processes/cultural values. As onboarding is pivotal to engaging a new employee from the outset, here are some fantastic ways you can onboard virtually, successfully:

1) Create and share a ‘company’ welcome pack with the new employee. This could be a word or PDF document that details the key information about the business: what you do, who are your customers, what is your organisational structure, what are your company values, has the business won any awards etc… This pack should be colourful, engaging and include company images/branding in order to maximise your employer value proposition.

2) Personalise the communication and build amazing rapport by simply adding in a ‘non-work’ related question to the email comms prior to their start date. Perhaps ask the employee to send across their ideal tea/coffee order so you can make a note for when everyone returns to the office! Nothing says welcome to the team like someone remembering that you take your tea white with 2 sugars, right?! Or maybe ask them for a fun/interesting fact about themselves that they can share with the rest of the team. This will allow virtual onboarding to feel more ‘human’ and spark conversations between them and their new colleagues.

3) Virtual welcome coffee with the Line Manager which could be arranged to take place via zoom or skype. This will build rapport and enable ‘face-time’ between the new employee and their new manager. This will in turn, encourage the employee to feel engaged and part of the team in the absence of being physically present. These meetings can then take place more regularly as the employee is embeds into the role to ensure continuous communication and a feeling of inclusion.

4) Online training is crucial for employees starting new positions in the current climate and this could be undertaken via a specific online portal/website or perhaps simply by using a PowerPoint presentation. If an employee is given training to complete virtually, it demonstrates that the employer is still committed to investing in their commencement with the business, and that they are keen to ensure they have all the tools/equipment and knowledge to deliver the role.

5) Setting clear expectations in order to give the employee complete clarity in what is expected of them and without what timeframe. It is all too easy for a new employee to become overwhelmed, anxious or unclear about what they are expected to do; so if specific tasks and timescales are outlined, they will be able to focus and deliver maximum productivity with a feeling of achievement and reward when they achieve these daily goals.  

6) Ask for feedback – this one is simple…ensure you ask your new employee for feedback on their onboarding experience. This can be a brief questionnaire or online surveyand asking the employee to complete one will make them feel that their opinions are welcomed and that their position in the business is valued. It is also a great way to develop your onboarding processes to continuously improve the employee experience and help to retain staff for the longer term.


When COVID19 subsides, the market will become increasingly competitive; and with a surge of new vacancies hitting the job boards as business re-group for future success, why risk missing out on the best talent?!

Plug and play the above techniques and you can continue to successfully hire into your live vacancies ensuring that your workforce is firing on all cylinders as we move into more hopeful and prosperous times ahead.

Article  by:

Joanna Middleton

Joanna Middleton

Divisional Manager

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