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7 Smart Ways to Engage New Hires With Virtual Onboarding

80% of new hires say they’ll leave their company if they receive a poor onboarding experience. Can you blame them?

It is exciting to join a new company, but also anxiety-inducing. If companies fail to help their new hires transition into the virtual workplace smoothly—either by not providing guidance on how to get started or leaving questions unanswered—then anxiety can turn into frustration or upset. And that’s far from an ideal first impression. 

A fulfilling onboarding experience will give new hires a clear understanding of their role, how they can navigate their virtual workspace, and ways to collaborate with their teammates effectively. Most importantly, the experience has to be engaging. Let’s explore proven ways to engage new hires so you can get them started on the right foot.

How to Engage New Hires During Virtual Onboarding

Every new hire should feel included and ready to hit the ground running in their new role. To help you achieve this, we’ve compiled the top seven tips for engaging new employees:

1. Establish Communication Norms

Explain your common company lingo, meeting styles, and critical projects to all new hires. This will help them more easily transition into the team. Ideally, you should document your standard verbiage, workflows, and meeting styles and save this information in a commonly accessible spot for your team.

2. Start Building Relationships From Day 1

New hires will be eager to meet their manager, mentor, and direct teammates. Schedule 1-on-1 meetings throughout the new hire’s first week to introduce them to the people they will be working closely with. If your company has 12 or fewer people, you can even schedule 15- or 30-minute meetups with everyone. The purpose of these meetings is to help new team members get to know their coworkers and understand how their role fits within your company’s bigger picture. 

3. Encourage Engagement Throughout the Virtual Office

Understanding how employees can engage with their colleagues in a virtual office is often challenging. During a new hire’s onboarding, show them how to venture to different “locations” in your virtual workplace and use statuses to indicate their availability. Explain how various team members use the space’s functionalities and tools, and encourage new employees to experiment with these capabilities to find out what works best for them.

4. Pair New Hires with An Orientation Buddy

After the new hire finishes their initial onboarding paperwork and administrative tasks, pairing them with a coworker who shares similar responsibilities is helpful. Have the new hire shadow their colleague and attend the same meetings, discuss their tasks, and frequently debrief throughout the day. This is a valuable opportunity for the new hire to observe the team dynamics and ask questions about navigating the virtual workspace.

5. Provide Training and Resources

Give all new employees the necessary resources and training to thrive in their roles. Overview your company’s products or services and provide an organizational chart and employee handbook. Help the new hire understand how to use your company’s virtual office software, and host several training sessions detailing these tools and how to use them (and be sure to brush up on these virtual training tips). 

6. Set Clear Expectations of Individual and Organizational Goals

A healthy culture requires every employee to understand their individual goals and how they can support the company’s mission. Outline and explain your new hire’s individual responsibilities and how these responsibilities support your company’s purpose. By knowing responsibilities from the start, new hires can prioritize their workload and stay focused. By understanding the company’s goals, they can have a better sense of purpose and a drive to accomplish those larger goals.

7. Inspire Collaborative Learning

Include your new employee in group discussions to showcase your company’s collaborative process. Doing so from day one will demonstrate how they can start in their new environment in the right way and effectively collaborate with their peers. These collaborative discussions will also help the new hire observe the team structure and each teammate’s work style. 

Employee Success Starts With Virtual Onboarding

Every new hire deserves an engaging virtual onboarding experience that equips them for success in a hybrid work culture. Building connections for new hires from day one and providing a full breakdown of how your company speaks and works will set them up for sustained success—and, ideally, a long career with your company.
There are a lot of factors that go into building an ideal virtual onboarding experience and keeping a virtual workspace running. It often helps to hire a virtual office manager who can prioritize your employee experience and orchestrate a fulfilling onboarding experience. Download our virtual office manager’s handbook to learn the processes, tools, and strategies that will empower your virtual office manager to maximize your team engagement

Empower your team and unlock top strategies for onboarding success

Download the handbook
Empower your team and unlock top strategies for onboarding success
Download the handbook