Virtual Onboarding - Keeping Learners Engaged with Interactivity

An incredible 22% of staff turnover happens within the first 6 weeks of employment. It’s important to prioritize your new hires to ensure they get a world-class experience in their first few weeks.  As the world continues to shift during the pandemic, companies haven’t completely put hiring on hold. Perhaps your organization is among the lucky ones still hiring employees and having them work from home or remotely. The new norm — at least for the short-term —  is working remotely. So, how do you onboard and train employees remotely? More importantly, how are you keeping them engaged?

Follow these tips to keep your new hires and current employees engaged:

Utilize Technology to Engage Employees

When assessing employee engagement ideas and new technology to implement, it’s important to cover the basics first. Conducting virtual video meetings can help employees feel more connected to coworkers and the company culture. Software like GoToMeeting and Zoom offer video conferencing for teams of all sizes and have features like chat and polls to engage employees. Pro tip: create visuals for the meeting so you can share your screen to help keep employee engagement high during the conversation.

Over Communicate – Trust Us, You Can’t

Technology and onboardingIn a traditional workplace setting, a manager could make frequent stops at a new hire’s workspace to see how they’re doing. Managers and fellow employees need to stay connected with new hires through email, chat, and videoconferencing in this new remote world. An email should never be the only form of communication for remote employees. Set up chat options like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts to support the need for a more casual discussion and collaboration among team members. Any employee is more likely to reach out with minor questions and share more information if they have that technology at their fingertips. Using chat features allows employees to over-communicate and feel more engaged on a day to day basis. Pro tip: Keep one method for each: e-mail, chat, and video conferencing, rather than having multiple methods for each type of communication. This avoids technology overload or confusion about which method to use.

Blend the Learning

Because not all employees are motivated to learn in the same way, provide them a variety of ways to access training material to improve their engagement. Online learning and training platforms make training/continued education easily accessible. But don’t make them sit in front of the computer all day! Provide PDFs to print out and write on. Give them short videos they can watch on their phone. Send them a book or pamphlet to read. Give them activities that get them up and moving! This way, employees can access the material with ease and revisit when necessary, leading to more engagement and better training.

Don’t Rush the Onboard Process

The onboarding process length varies depending on the organization and the actual role. Don’t rush this process because it’s crucial for an employee’s success and engagement. As mentioned in a previous post, research suggests onboarding is best when activities continue for the employee's first full year. Your new hires may become disengaged if they are crammed into training all day the first few days and weeks. Worse, they aren’t going to retain the sheer amount of information you’re throwing at them! Instead, spread the training out and take the down time to introduce them via video conferencing to other departments or to let them sit in on business meetings that will acclimate them to the company.

If You Build It - They Will Stay

When it comes to keeping employees happy and engaged, the company culture is crucial.  A LinkedIn survey of over 3,000 U.S. professionals found that 70% said they would leave a leading company if it had a bad culture. Some 71% said they would take a pay cut to work for a company that shares their values and has a mission they believe in. Building a training program as part of your company culture showcases that the organization invests and cares about the growth of the employee. Also, consider establishing a mentee/mentor program that will engage employees right away but also give the new hire a go-to person to ask questions and share experiences.

Now is not the time to neglect employee onboarding — it’s time to double down on it. Take advantage of these tips to make virtual onboarding effective and engaging! Verasana can help you launch your virtual onboarding program and can help organizations reach measurable outcomes of new employees.