Will digital onboarding become the new norm?
The goal of successful onboarding is to familiarise new employees with their new tasks through targeted training and discussions. This is to get them accustomed to their new working environment so that they can settle into their new role as quickly as possible.
How can a new starter in the business function without direct personal contact with the new company? We have compiled the most important tips for you in the following article.
Onboarding to go completely digital - is this really possible?
For both companies and the employees themselves, a purely digital recruitment process is a major challenge. Job interviews via Skype have become a common method when the applicant cannot attend the interview in person for various reasons. However, complete digital onboarding is not so common at the moment.
Some companies that have worked a lot in the past with remote freelancers or employees from other countries have already been able to gain experience with digital onboarding. But you don't just need the technical skills for such a process; you also need to take into account the skills and responsibilities of a new employee and his or her integration into the new team.
Phases of onboarding
The onboarding period can last from a few weeks to several months, depending on the new employee's role and many other factors. However, it always consists of the following phases:
Preboarding: Pre-boarding places particular emphasis on social integration into the new team and company. The new employee should feel that the employer cares for him. In this phase, in addition to initial technical information, organizational aspects should also be communicated (e.g. working hours, break times, work clothes, etc.).
Orientation: The process phase "orientation" should offer a great start in the new company with the 1st working day. The first impression of the team, superiors and company counts more than one thinks. This phase covers approx. the first weeks of the new employee.
Familiarisation and integration: Here the focus is on a structured and efficient professional familiarisation. The better this is designed, the earlier the new employee can work productively. A well thought-out induction plan is enormously helpful in this respect.
Practical tips for digital onboarding
In the following paragraph you will find concrete practical tips for the digital induction of new employees:
- Organisation is everything
Document your onboarding process so that it can be easily adapted and digitally implemented. Your onboarding document should take the form of a to-do list. Share it with your new employee right from the start to ensure that you share expectations and are both on the same page.
The document should also be divided into different sections to track the employee's progress and increase motivation.
Items on this list may include
- Things to do before the new employee starts work, including an e-mail to welcome the team and documents to be completed (e.g. tax, salary and insurance forms).
- Information to fully introduce the new employee to the company, product or service. For example, with facts about the company, an introduction to relevant tools and software, login/password/security information and a list of employees and how to contact them.
- Descriptions of recurring tasks, including regular catch-ups with the manager and anything else you can think of to make your new employee feel like a valued member of your team despite the lack of personal contact.
- Personal conversations via video conferencing
New employees should be welcomed personally. This gives the new team member the opportunity to introduce themselves, ask questions and memorize the names of new colleagues faster by looking at their faces.
With the right video conferencing tool, you don't have to do without this personal communication even in times of Corona. By integrating video conferencing into your onboarding process, you bring the office to your new colleagues. How about a team lunch for the first day, for example? Or a virtual tour of the office?
- Set clear expectations and objectives
It is especially important for the new employee that you communicate clear goals and expectations from the beginning. The lack of direct and personal contact can easily lead to misunderstandings. If, on the other hand, you sit together in the office as a team, the inhibition threshold to ask questions is lower. You might not ask these questions on your home PC, because you would have to write an e-mail or make a phone call.
Another possibility to set new employees goals that they can work on with commitment is to assign a mentor or coach from the team. His or her goal is to make the new employee feel like a member of the working family despite the lack of personal contact.
- Socializing with the new team
This is perhaps the most difficult part of the digital onboarding process. The corporate culture is easily conveyed when new employees spend time in the office and interact with their colleagues on site. But how do employees learn about a company's professional and social norms remotely?
A little work is required, but building relationships between local and remote colleagues is well worth the effort. Communication is the key. Talking "face-to-face" via video chats, instant messaging and conference calls helps to maintain connections. Always remember to include employees in meetings from other locations and encourage them to share their ideas and opinions.
- Get feedback regularly
Constant evaluation and adjustments are important. After onboarding, ask new employees for feedback on the process and the first weeks in the new company. What could or should you have done better or differently? What questions were asked that you did not expect? Did you offer enough support to make your new employees feel comfortable working remotely?
The more feedback you receive, the better, because every company is different. This applies not only to the service and product offered, but also to the way the employees act and communicate with each other.
Digital onboarding - soon to be a routine for organisations?
In times of a global crisis, digital onboarding is an important step towards maintaining the normal working day in many companies. Going digital allows for new to start at the beginning of their contract that was promised. In addition, companies do not have to enact a hiring freeze for fear of not being able to on-board the new employees.
The current pandemic illustrates completely, how digital onboarding will also be integrated into normal company processes. Home offices, video conferencing and other digital processes are increasingly becoming part of the everyday life of employees today.
Do you have questions about the digital onboarding process and the training of new employees in your company? The consultants at Real Life Sciences will be happy to support you - you can contact us below.