Steps to improve the onboarding of new employees

  • 14-04-20
  • Richard Lloyd Recruitment

Over the last month with the new lockdown laws, several clients and candidates have asked me what, how, why, when, and which onboarding process they can use to virtually onboard a new employee. OR can it even be done?!?!

The answer is yes, it can absolutely be done! For some companies and managers, this is a brand-new concept, and if you would like a bit of guidance, below are some of the best tips and hints that Richard Lloyd’s accounting-focused candidates and clients have used on how to make it as effective and as smooth as possible for both parties involved.

I have broken down the tips and hints into three timelines:

Before they start

Map the ‘’new employee experience’’ – put yourself in the new starter’s shoes. What would they like to know? What are the correct processes for communicating virtually? How often will they catch up with you virtually in the first week? How to make them feel welcome and part of the team?

Pre-reading - Before the employee's first day, send them some small pre-reading and information for them to digest. This gives them the opportunity to get away from Netflix and Carol Baskins’ cool cats and kittens gang and get them engaged and digest some information in their own time.

Home office – getting set up is also important so make sure the home office equipment is sent to the employee before or on their first day or they have their own equipment ready to go, so they are ready for action at the agreed start time for their first day.

Schedule virtual coffee meet-ups and other necessary catch-ups in the rest of the team’s calendars so that from the first day the new employees first week is already mapped out for them from a meet-and-greet perspective.

Setting up on the system – there is nothing worse than spending your first day or two in your new role not being able to access the system or not having your login sorted so getting this set up for the employee before they start will help with a smooth induction.

First week

Virtual check-ins - Do a video check-in at the beginning and end of the employee’s first week. Make sure they are aware and have the right contact details to easily reach you during business hours if they need to ask any questions (something that is taken for granted when they normally sit next to you in the office).

Tech access and support – setting up the new employee’s access to the platforms is important so make sure they have the relevant tech support contact details if they need help. A great tip is, if you use Microsoft Teams (or similar), you can record sessions - e.g. training for navigating the system so the new employee can review it as many times as they need to.

Onboarding plan - Set a clear plan with the new employee over the next 30, 60, and 90 days of their goals and what you expect from them. Be as specific as you can so they feel confident that they know what success looks like.

Interaction with the team – set up some small fun activities with the team and encourage your new employee to get involved. At Richard Lloyd, we have virtual team quizzes every Friday afternoon and catch up every morning on Zoom to collaborate and talk about our successes.

Week two and beyond

New employee feedback – give your new employee an opportunity to give regular feedback on what may be working for them virtually and what does not. This gives you the opportunity to adjust where applicable to help enhance the onboarding journey.

Group chat - Set up a group or add the new employee to a preferred platform for the team to interact on a regular basis that is not all about work. This could be a WhatsApp group, Microsoft Teams, or even a group email for them to have fun. The chat can involve working-from-home tips, recommended TV series, or even just a place to send funny memes. Make it fun and as interactive as possible.

While remote onboarding is a new frontier for many of us, the most important thing about the onboarding process remains the same – having an onboarding plan that is comprehensive and makes the new employee feel included in the team from the very start. The common feedback I am getting from most of my candidates, clients, colleagues, and friends is that having that personal interaction in the office is something that is difficult to replicate virtually so make sure your new employee's onboarding is made as interactive and as fun as possible.

I have put together a virtual checklist which can be found below:

Virtual Onboarding Checklist
  • Prepare a welcome email to announce the new hire to the immediate team and business
  • Set up the company email address and logins to all required systems
  • Organise and configure all IT hardware and courier to the employee’s home (if applicable)
  • Identify other tools the new hire may require if working from home e.g. phone
  • Determine the method for verbal communication
  • Schedule a team meeting to introduce the new hire
  • Forward scheduled team meetings already in the calendar, including social team gatherings
  • Ensure communication policy and expectations are clearly advised
  • Create a remote training plan
  • Promote an open-door policy for coaching and feedback
  • Timetable one-on-one catch-ups as you would do if you were in the office