Companies regularly lose a third of new employees after a year. Remote employees are even more likely to quit early on, which has become a major concern in the project management field in light of COVID-19. Having a strategic onboarding process for virtual employees will lead to higher engagement and higher retention. Here are some tips to create a more effective virtual onboarding plan for new employees.
Develop an Action Plan
Effective onboarding starts with having a plan. What explicit steps will you take to train new employees, make them feel like a part of your team, and set them up for long-term success? The onboarding process should begin at the moment the employee accepts your offer. Right away, you should communicate to your new employee what their role will be and what they should expect from the onboarding process. Your plan should include steps/activities to facilitate introductions and socialization, goal setting, and training. Checklists can be useful in ensuring onboarding is consistent from one employee to the next.
Have One-on-One Check-ins
Virtual onboarding is often more overwhelming for employees than regular onboarding. New hires receive a lot of information in a short period of time and it is a lot to take in. Office employees have the opportunity to meet their colleagues face-to-face, which makes it easier for them to feel a sense of belonging. They are also less likely to experience miscommunication. For virtual employees, one-on-one check-ins can make a world of different by showing new hires that management will be there to provide them with the support they need to succeed, while allowing them to ask questions.
Utilize Digital Tools
Using the right digital tools can ensure the onboarding process runs smoothly. First and foremost, remote employees need to have all the devices, software, and other technology that they need to perform their job right away. If new employees are left waiting for tools, they will feel like their time is being wasted. Collaboration and conferencing tools like Slack, Zoom, and Skype can make the onboarding process more interactive. You want employees to be able to interact with their colleagues as much as possible early on so they can feel like they are part of a team.
A smart onboarding program can make the difference between an employee who stays with your company for ten months and an employee who stays with you for ten years. You can improve your virtual onboarding strategy by starting with a definitive plan, having regular one-on-one check-ins, and utilizing digital tools.
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