Onboard new employees virtually

How to Onboard New Employees Virtually in 2021

Onboarding employees while being remote is much harder than normal. In today’s video, I’m going to share my top 5 tips to successfully and quickly onboard new employees virtually in 2021 specifically for small businesses.

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Onboarding new employees is possibly the most critical component of building a high performance team. And now that we have to do a lot of it virtually, it’s become that much harder.

The thing that most people don’t realize is that onboarding starts from the moment you make your job offer to the final candidate. That’s right. It’s not the first day, or the first week, it’s the moment you send out your offer letter. That’s the moment you transition from talent acquisition to employee onboarding and that’s the moment your candidate goes from a future employee to an employee.

Onboard New Employees Tip #1: Start the moment you put out your job offer 

The #1 piece of advice I have for you when considering a stellar onboarding experience is to start from the moment you make that verbal offer. And it’s even more important when you’re doing it virtually. Take the time to call your candidate instead of email. Be excited about the news you’re sharing. Tell them why you chose them – what impressed you about them.

Comment below and tell me about the best offer phone call you ever made. What did you say and how did the candidate respond?

Onboard New Employees Virtually Tip #2: Keep them engaged between offer and start date

Chances are there is going to be a 2-3 weeks gap from the time you give them an offer to the time they actually start. And many leaders forget to engage these new employees before they start. What happens then is that this is the period when people are MOST likely to get a counter offer from their current employer and MOST likely to be swayed into staying and declining your offer. Yes, even after they’ve signed the offer back.

So, what do you do instead. Well, you keep them involved in what’s happening in your company. Sure, they’re not an official employee yet, but what would happen if you treated them like they were?

Send them emails periodically so let them know what’s happening with the team or the company. Send them materials to read before they join. Nothing too confidential, but general stuff about your suppliers and customers perhaps. This will ensure that they’re as up to speed as possible before they even step foot in your door.

If you’re a small business and you’ve been looking for a tool to use for onboarding, I’ve compiled a list of some onboarding platforms and tools especially for small businesses. They’re at all price points including some amazing free tools. You can download a copy of this cheat sheet here.

Onboard New Employees Virtually Tip #3: Plan their first day to the minute

This is especially important when you’re onboarding remote employees because that first day can feel overwhelming and isolating even when you’re in person. When you’re virtual, away from everyone, it becomes more so.

So, for my clients, I’ll plan a first day to start around 9am and I’ll ensure that each minute after that is planned. Check out my video at 4:18 to see an example of a first day schedule. I’ve been using this template for several years now and have adapted it for different companies. It’s a simple word document.

On the top I have a space for the buddy which I’ll talk about in the next tip so stick around. Then as you can see, I have pretty much every minute accounted for and the person who’s responsible for that step.

Welcome them over zoom, show them around your main portal and make sure they can sign in properly. Then run the day’s activities through with them. 

One tip to keep in mind is to always, always schedule a lunch with your new hires on their first day. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just some time to spend with them 1:1 or with your team. If they’re remote, I’ve found a Skip the Dishes e-gift card works really well and you can have lunch over video together. I’ve also had other team members join for lunch so the new hire has a chance to mingle with their peers in a more relaxed environment.

This template is only a small taste of what I offer in my People Maximizer program. A brand new one-of-a-kind program to help business owners and CEOs of growing companies to maximize the performance and potential of their people. Book a call with me to learn more about the program.

Tip #4: Assign a buddy

This is incredibly important when you’re onboarding virtually for 2 reasons:

  • You want to ensure that your new employee has someone to go to ask questions they may have
  • It helps them feel more connected to the workplace in general. Having just that one person makes a huge difference in how quickly they integrate into the company and start performing

So, I often get asked what are the criteria for selecting this buddy. Here’s what I suggest:

  1. It shouldn’t be the manager or anyone senior. There will be touch points between the employee and the manager, but the manager would not be the assigned buddy
  2. It would be a peer, typically same level, who has some knowledge of the company and its processes.

In the comments below, let me know if you’ve ever used the buddy system and how it worked for you when you onboard new employees.

Tip #5: Give employees their goals and objectives within the first week

When employees are new, they want to feel useful. No new employee wants to sit around “waiting” for work. Trust me, I know. Too many leaders tend to want to “take it easy” on their new employees and protect them which actually hurts their ability to get up to speed faster. When you take the time to go over their goals and objectives for the year, including your team’s shared goals, it gives them a sense of what they need to start doing and where they should be focusing their learning efforts. 

There’s an added bonus to giving employees their goals sooner than later. And that’s their ability to learn the culture as quickly as possible as they start executing on work. The single biggest reason new hires turn into bad hires is their inability to acclimate to the company culture. By getting them to work as quickly as possible, you reduce the likelihood of that happening.

If you like what you’re hearing so far, this is only a small piece of what I offer in my People Maximizer program. A brand new one-of-a-kind program to help small business owners and CEOs maximize the performance and potential of their people. Book a call with me to learn more about the program.

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