When companies undergo big changes, the shift can have a detrimental feeling on employees. Planning a solid and supportive onboarding process should be the very first step before executing any form of action during a transitional period. Now that the work-from-home culture, for many businesses will be a mainstay for the foreseable future, without much cause for a halt, the idea of a virtual office is more than a conceptualization. As various organizations maintain current WFH procedures, the incentive for increased productivity on micro and macro scales have become contingent on the fluidity of the digital and virtual processes in place.
Creating a successful virtual onboarding process is equivalent to that of an orientation week or prologue of a book. In business terms, the onboarding process is meant to initiate and familiarize staff with the spearheading of a new structure, culture, or expectation. An efficient onboarding process looks different for every business but always sees an increase in employee retention, engagement, and productivity. Investing a little time and resources into devising a thorough virtual onboarding process with the appropriate intentions and variables will create a strong foundational focal point for your staff to successfully shift to a digital landscape. Below are a few tips to consider:
Don’t Rush It
Ensuring employees are well-equipped with the proper knowledge and tools shouldn’t be rushed as it can greatly jeopardize your oncoming trajectory of success. Plan a step-by-step process that’s easy to follow with the proper linear passage for employees to learn and integrate. Spanning the onboarding process over a few days will better orient employees by keeping them engaged and active without feeling overwhelmed.
Using design elements that facilitate cooperation, such as slide decks, questions and polls, group activities, etc. will not only foster the group dynamic but promote information retention. Figure out what information needs to be prioritized to which employees need to know about them. Hold live sessions or webcasts that reiterate company values, certain products, employee expectations, timelines, executive information, where to find resources and how to use them, etc.
Utilize the Right Resources
Going virtual requires its own set of resources, which requires resources to maintain and support them. Investing in the right devices will equip teammates with the proper means of delivering, using, converting, and communicating their work. Whether it’s supplying laptops, adopting programs like Slack, or creating a flexible digital program, it’s imperative to configure your team quickly and correctly. In your virtual onboarding process, educating staff on how to use the best digital practices and holding teaching seminars about the new technologies will give staff the confidence and training they’ll need moving forward.
With this digital renaissance comes the need for IT support. Hiring and managing a well-versed tech team will help mitigate any technological hiccups along the way. Along with a shared cloud system, introducing teams to the tech department will give them a place to ask questions and help take out any fires along the way. This is a vital short- and long-term investment that will ease employee stress, advance your business’s resources, and make constant tech evolution more adaptable.
As business resides online, make sure to properly address the on-goings of daily work through interactive experiences. Group zoom calls, internal chats, synced documents, etc. are necessary for work output. But, also consider the workability, or lack thereof employees may face. Now that face-to-face contact has become rarer, employees may feel a weakened sense of communication, and thus less motivation or desire to work.
If your business relies on group work, mimicking the human-concept of interaction will boost overall employee stamina and quality of work, which is usually everyone’s main concern. Hold brainstorming sessions, virtual coffee-chats, networking mixers, etc. for employees to feel the same creative license from real-life conversations. Staying emotionally engaged and mentally connected is normally the largest concern WFH employees face, especially with all the out-of-office distractions. Include ways to avoid and promote work ethic in your onboarding process will introduce and eradicate the problem before employees have to face it.
Embrace and Redefine Company Culture
As your company evolves, so will its culture. With any change in values or expectations, molding them to fit your company culture will set the tone from the beginning. Communicate them in your daily practices and expect employees to translate these ideas into their work, products, and interactions with other employees. Including a vision statement, company mission and values, and necessary date on products and their use, and how all of these fit into your company will solidify employee standing.
Also, this helps boost potential emotional slumps employees might face from the lack of interaction. WFH can be dull and overwhelming and infusing a communal goal will incentivize and support employees to provide their best work practices.