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Improve Employee Engagement and Retention with Virtual Onboarding

Mar 24, 2016

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The rise of onboarding technology and improved practices over the past two decades transformed the new employee experience. What was once days of paperwork, boring orientation lectures, and tedious training has disappeared in most companies. In high-performing organizations onboarding has become a holistic approach to assimilation into the workforce. It begins long before the first day of work and continues for the entire employee life cycle, with renewed emphasis whenever an employee promotes or transfers.

Why Virtual Onboarding Benefits Your Business

Effective onboarding programs begin at the moment a candidate accepts an offer of employment. The time between the offer and the first day of work can be days or weeks. Lack of communication creates doubt about the decision, and candidates will walk away from offers if they feel a prospective employer is not interested in them. We have done it ourselves.

Workers in virtual offices, remote locations or global organizations may never have a face to face encounter with people in your central organization. Making them part of the culture requires stimulating online virtual experiences.Virtual onboarding improves consistency in geographically dispersed organizations while providing opportunities for localization of policies and procedures.

Onboarding done well improves time to full productivity or time-to-competence, but the transformation to full productivity requires more than job skills. It includes assimilation into the culture, performance expectations, and socialization. Virtual learning can help with all of these factors.

One of the primary benefits is reduced cost, not only because of the reduced cost of training delivery, but also lower new employee turnover.

Virtual learning gives you the ability to use several modes in a blended learning approach, which improves learning retention.

Recommendations

We can recommend the following practices to take advantage of virtual onboarding.

  • Manage onboarding as a project. Use onboarding technology or a project plan to define the onboarding process from beginning to end, with specific milestones.
  • Avoid “One Size Fits All” Onboarding. In a multi-generational, globalized environment, onboarding requires multi-modal learning and information delivery and localization. It should also be tailored to the job role.
  • Complete as much of the paperwork as you can online and before the first day of work.
  • Go mobile. Make sure all your resources are well-adapted to mobile use, especially for the generations that grew up with mobile devices.
  • Use e-learning with gamification to enhance learning about company products and services, company history, the industry sector, culture, and benefits elections.
  • Use collaboration tools. If you don’t have a company collaboration tool like Yammer, Trello, or Producteev you can create private groups on LinkedIn or other social media platforms.
  • Get personal with videoconferencing. A welcome phone call or email from the hiring manager is a nice touch. You can reap additional benefits with a video call. Try including the new employee’s work team in a brief welcome call.

Virtual onboarding can help you improve time-to-productivity, increase employee engagement, lower new hire turnover, and save training costs. The result will be a more engaged workforce, higher productivity, and improved business results.

See our onboarding infographic to learn more about how onboarding can benefit your business.

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.

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