Bringing new people onto your team is a big milestone for any organization. New team members bring fresh perspective, new ideas, and a burst of excitement to start their new job. When you're onboarding someone, show them the excitement goes both ways.
Virtual Onboarding Checklist
Virtual onboarding just got easier with this checklist.
Making your new hires feel welcome is important in and of itself, because creating a company culture with a welcoming, friendly environment is key for both the success of your new employee and the success of your business. Not only will your investment in them help inspire their investment in their role in the company, but it will also help your employees feel the camaraderie and support of their team (even if it’s all virtual) in today’s current remote-heavy workforce. And the sooner your new employees can build a comfort level with their team, the sooner they can succeed in their role.
With that in mind, consider taking the following steps to help fast-track the transition for your latest employees from new hires to fully functioning team members.
Send an Official Welcome Message
Send the new hire an official welcome email or letter immediately following the job offer and acceptance. This first welcome letter should be from the employee’s manager, HR, or the company representative responsible for onboarding new employees. Some companies might encourage managers to reach out to new hires separately from HR — this can provide the employee with department- or team-specific information in addition to more general information about the company.
This message should be personalized and conversational in tone, while also providing employees with information and instructions specific to the next steps in the hiring process.
Include any key information a new hire will need — things like confirmation of the new hire’s start date, a schedule for onboarding, and details about completing their new hire documentation.
Even if you use a template, you can avoid making it sound like a form letter by personalizing it. Try including something specific about the person’s background, like a nod to their past experience. For example: "We’re so glad to have someone with your unique background joining the team! Your five years of account executive experience should really be an asset."
Consider asking each new hire create a short video presentation about themselves that can be shared with their team or department. Something like this gives new employees an opportunity to creatively introduce themselves, which can go a long way toward developing camaraderie in a remote environment.
Include links to the company’s social media pages and encourage them to follow, like, and join the conversation.
The sooner your new employees can build a comfort level with their team, the sooner they can succeed in their role.
Send a Pre-Onboarding Welcome Package
Whether employees will be working in the office or from home, have a welcome package ready for each new team member’s first day. Not only will this help the new employee feel excited and energized for their first day, but it can also help them feel like a part of the team right away.
Include a personalized welcome message, such as a card signed by the new hire’s manager and teammates.
Provide new hires with a form where they can verify the tools they’ll need to be successful in their new role. This is especially important for remote employees, as each person is coming from a different situation. They’ll need the basics, so consider including form options for a desk or table, chair, monitor, keyboards, mouse, wrist pad, and anything else your current employees find useful.
Put in a few fun swag items featuring the company logo, such as a tote bag, water bottle, coffee cup, phone charger, face mask, or other practical yet fun merch.
Add a visual organizational chart, or a link to where new employees can see the full team online, so they can visualize the larger team and see themself as a part of it.
Include an onboarding schedule to help reduce any nervousness or uncertainty the new employee may feel about next steps.
If your company publishes an employee newsletter, include printouts of the last few issues or a link to where they can be reviewed online.
Provide new hires with a form where they can verify the tools they’ll need to be successful in their new role.
Break Up the Paperwork Process
Initial onboarding does involve providing new employees with a lot of information and getting them to complete quite a bit of documentation — it can be overwhelming. When one of your goals is to help new team members feel welcome, it’s important to break up that aspect of the process with opportunities to get to know and bond with team members.
Consider opting for partial-day orientation sessions spread out over a longer period of time, rather than cramming in everything that needs to be done during the first few days.
Rather than focusing the majority of the first few days of orientation on new hire setup and policy/procedure reviews, intersperse those necessary items up with opportunities to connect and bond with the team. Help new employees balance the paperwork aspect with more engaging topics like ERG introductions and company values in action.
Schedule team introductions early in onboarding, either in-person or virtually via a teleconferencing app. Start with a fun onboarding icebreaker, then immediately involve the new team member in regular team meetings and activities.
Simplify and streamline the new hire set up process using HR software like Justworks so that more of the early onboarding time can be focused on building employee connections and strengthening the team.
Build Individual Team Member Connections
A big part of helping a new hire feel welcome is connecting them with their new colleagues. Encourage one-to-one interactions between your new hire and other team members. Provide a few fairly easy options to facilitate these kinds of connections so that people don’t feel forced to reach out or connect in a way that may not be comfortable to them.
Help new employees balance the paperwork aspect with more engaging topics like ERG introductions and company values in action.
Send out an introductory email to everyone in the group with a few highlights about the new person, in a way that encourages each team member to “reply all” or directly to the new team member with similar information about themselves.
Assign a peer buddy to each new hire, so that newbies have a designated non-management point of contact within the organization. This provides a way for employees to ask questions and learn to navigate the organization without feeling like going to management is their only option.
Use an app like Donut to host coffee roulette, in which the new hire would be randomly paired with coworkers for a quick virtual coffee break, complete with a bit of chit chat. Start pairing new employees with team members, then expand to others within the organization to help build cross-departmental connections.
Encourage new hires to get involved with employee resource groups (ERGs) early in their tenure with the company. This provides a fast track to help new hires meet and bond with coworkers with whom they share points of interest.
Build a Strong Culture One New Hire at a Time
It’s definitely to your organization’s advantage to structure new hire onboarding to include elements that specifically focus on ensuring new team members know how welcome they really are! This is just as important for virtual onboarding of remote team members as it is for traditional in-office onboarding. It’s also crucial that you’re giving each and every new hire a consistent experience across the board — be it a tenured VP or an entry-level graduate, every new employee could benefit from an open, welcoming environment. Incorporating some (or all!) of these strategies into your onboarding process can help your company’s newest employees truly feel welcome as they transition to their new roles.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.