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How to Create a Seamless Online Onboarding Process

How to Create a Seamless Online Onboarding Process

You know what they say about first impressions. Correctly onboarding new hires is fundamental for building trust in the early days of recruitment. When people start a new job, they’re typically going to be one of two things: excited or nervous.

You know what they say about first impressions. Correctly onboarding new hires is fundamental for building trust in the early days of recruitment. When people start a new job, they’re typically going to be one of two things: excited or nervous. It’s the company's job to stoke the excitement and quell the anxiety. Onboarding is not just a 1-day activity, where managers trawl through paperwork and explain the role. Onboarding is an opportunity to capture enthusiasm and allow this to compound over time. This will increase productivity and improve employee retention in the future. If you want to learn more about the onboarding process itself, click here. 

Whether you own an online business or not, moving your onboarding process online will present many advantages. Companies are going digital because onboarding can be conducted faster, with greater consistency. Not only this but you’ll be able to draw talent from a wider talent pool, without geographical location dictating your candidates. Of course, you might have concerns such as, how can I keep my team engaged during onboarding? Or, how can I make new hires feel welcome? In this article, we’re going to address some of these doubts and provide some actionable solutions.

Make a Plan

If you already carry out your onboarding process at the office, it’s easy to start converting this to online. A common problem is that onboarding can become stagnant. The process is all too often regarded as a means to an end. A necessary evil. However, with the right planning, you can turn it into a useful tool. 

If you’re putting an onboarding programme together for the first time, you need to make a list of your primary goals and desired outcomes. If you already have an onboarding programme setup, the first thing you need to do is analyse it. Remove anything that doesn’t contribute towards these primary goals. New hires don’t want to be bored to death as the manager rattles on about previous profit margins and growth statistics. Retaining employee focus is difficult enough as it is, so removing any excess fluff from the process will benefit everyone.

There is one goal you should have that we cannot stress enough. That is, to fully emphasize your core values and company culture. This is an opportunity to inspire new employees. Make sure they fully understand what the business is all about, and more importantly, how their role will contribute to this.

Maintain Contact

Contact with your new hires should not only begin once the employment contract has started. Reaching out to new employees before their first day is a great technique for easing anxiety, as well as demonstrating that you care about them. This is especially important as your onboarding process switches to online. It’s easy for new hires to feel excluded or disconnected when they work from home. Check-in with them as often as you can, whether that by phone, email, or text.

This contact should be maintained throughout the onboarding programme. Check-in as often as you can, recap goals and targets. Conversations should not always be practical. Sometimes, a casual chat about more personal matters can go a long way towards helping an employee to feel welcome.

Acquire feedback. This is a huge step towards improving your onboarding process yet it is one that so many businesses ignore. Through quality feedback, you can acquire a wealth of knowledge. You’ll gather insights into how you can make the onboarding process smoother, or more interesting.

Fully Equipped

This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of moving your onboarding strategy online. During traditional onboarding, the process of kitting out new hires with logins, hardware and software was lengthy. It was also time inefficient for managers and tech people, who would spend hours onboarding new hires with tech.

By moving this step of the programme to digital, you’ll be saving both time and money. Hardware can be posted directly to the address of new employees. The software can then be downloaded from the company cloud, with step-by-step guidelines for each operating system. Login details can also be provided in a document or by sending an email.

Online Training

Managers and department leaders can now apply themselves to different tasks. Thanks to online training, the entire programme can be fully automated. This ensures no important information is missed. Online training is more consistent and ensures that everybody receives the same level of information.

This information can also be monitored. By using an automated workflow, you’re able to see which trainings have been completed and by whom. Small tests can also be incorporated to monitor progress. These results will be saved in a database, which can later be analysed. This data provides valuable early insights into individual skill bases. Employees can be instructed to complete refresher training at regular intervals, without consuming the time of managers.

Custom workflows can also be designed for specific roles. This enables easy onboarding for newly promoted employees. Each training programme can be easily updated, without the need to reprint and redistribute. This will save on costly resources.

Maintain Engagement

The greatest challenge faced with online onboarding is maintaining engagement from your employees. Different techniques must be used compared with face-to-face onboarding. Demanding new hires to stare at their screen for hours on end with minimal interaction is a tall order. It isn’t long before the brain switches into ‘standby’ mode, as the HR manager drones on. So how do you maintain engagement?

It’s especially important to take regular breaks during any online conference. Every hour or so, allow listeners to take a 5-minute coffee break, encourage them to leave their screen. Changing speakers regularly can also have positive effects. Even if certain members of the management team are tiresome, the impact of this is greatly lessened with frequent speaker changes.

Encourage interaction. Keep the talks casual by prompting listeners to contribute as often as possible. They might need regular prompts in order to encourage this. Try asking questions, instigating group discussions and votes.

Technical difficulties can often be a major factor for loss of engagement. Poor internet connection or low audio quality quickly becomes frustrating. It’s wise to prepare the listeners before the onboarding starts. Try sending a list of basic instructions and prerequisites a few days before the meetup. It’s also helpful to have a tech person on standby at all times. This takes a lot of pressure off the speaker, allowing them to focus on what’s important - providing a great onboarding experience.

Online Onboarding and AhoyTeam

AhoyTeam makes the process of online onboarding simple and effective. Fully integrated with Slack, you won’t need to download additional third-party systems. AhoyTeam automates your onboarding process. This provides you with the opportunity to create custom workflows for your company. Custom workflows ensure that your new employees receive only the most critical information, time after time. 

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