Onboarding Virtual Team

In today’s world, more people are working remotely, either completely or partially. On the one hand, it saves money on organizing workplaces and paying office rent. On the other, many employees consider working from home a significant advantage.

At the same time, many companies face the problem of adaptation of new employees, their involvement in teamwork, and creating a cohesive team of associates moving towards the goal set.

What Is Virtual Onboarding

Virtual onboarding (adaptation) is a specially designed process aimed at providing new employees with all the necessary information they need to understand the company they are joining.

Onboarding includes not only the employee’s job duties and work schedule but also:

  • Understanding of corporate culture;
  • Understanding the company’s main mission, goals, and values;
  • Knowing the personnel and logistical information required to effectively interact with management and colleagues;
  • Getting to know co-workers on a personal level, fostering team bonding.

If a new employee comes into the office, he or she gets to know people independently and has the opportunity at any time to ask a question. In the process of communication, human qualities are revealed and interpersonal communications are established. An office setting and the opportunity to have lunch breaks or tea parties together also have an impact, resulting in increased loyalty and productivity.

In a remote working environment, a new employee works from home, which means the external surroundings remain familiar. At the same time, the employee does not see his/her colleagues, does not know who to address with this or that question, may not understand certain job-related nuances, and so on. All this complicates adaptation, which is why virtual onboarding tools are increasingly being developed.

Virtual Onboarding Ideas

Whether you’re assembling a virtual team from scratch or a new employee joins the team, it’s important to help people adapt to their new environment. They should be able to get to know each other to work efficiently together.

Below are some ideas to help you achieve results faster.

Company organization chart

Make a graphic organizational chart that shows the names, positions, and responsibilities of your company’s employees. You can create one in Google Docs or use a graphic editor. Alternatively, you can also try interactive apps for the purpose.

For example, apart from the basic information, you can also specify additional information:

  • Age;
  • Address;
  • Interests;
  • Other additional information about each member of your team.

You can also apply filters to sort by the above-mentioned parameters. This way, new employees will not only get an official organizational chart but will also be able to get to better know the team they will be working with in advance.

First-week schedule

Often people who come to a new company feel uncomfortable and uncertain because they don’t quite know what they’re supposed to do and when. Whereas in the office they can be guided by colleagues, when working remotely, employees often feel confused, which has a bad effect on their productivity and adaptation speed.

Initially, you want to draw up a work schedule for your new employees and monitor its implementation. Not harshly, but in the form of assistance – you can contact your new employees to clarify if everything is clear. Offer your support and provide answers in case there are any questions.

Introduction of new employees

This step is important both for introduction and to notify everyone that the position is closed. In an offline office, a new person simply comes to the workplace and is introduced to his/her new colleagues. In virtual onboarding, you can:

  • Send a newsletter to all employees of the company;
  • Use the company’s internal messaging channels to post an announcement;
  • Post a welcome message in the community form;
  • Host a video conference in Zoom.

Within the department or in the case of a small team, the latter method is one of the most effective, as it is as close as possible to an ordinary acquaintance in an offline office.

You can get creative and throw a cooperative online game or ask your new employees to come up with a character in the game environment that you usually use for gamification.

There are plenty of ideas. The main thing is that if a new employee feels support from his/her new colleagues, there’s no feeling of loneliness and insecurity.

Freshman courses and a digital library

To make it easier for a person to understand all the features of the company, you can create a convenient digital library with useful information including:

  • Organizational structure;
  • Employee contacts;
  • Job descriptions;
  • Corporate style guide;
  • Internal company terms, etc.

The basics of such information can be presented in the form of a digital training course with self-assessment tests. Such a course is best undergone by the employee at the initial training stage before getting to work.

Free talk groups

You can create separate chat/conference rooms and social networking groups for new employees. This will help newcomers communicate, ask each other questions, and get acquainted. This can stimulate free communication within the team without the participation of the manager.

If in the office, people can talk casually during coffee breaks, virtual teams do not have such an opportunity. However, the need to communicate with people does not go anywhere. Thus, you should provide such an opportunity – this way, you will be able to increase productivity through cohesion.

Calls from new friends

Use “random selection” tools or simply motivate more experienced employees to connect with newcomers. Remote workers often feel more lonely than in the office, precisely due to the fact that working friendships are harder and take longer to develop remotely.

Motivate your existing employees to socialize and get to know new team members. Help them build a strong team.

Virtual lunch

Many companies practice welcoming new employees to the company with a welcome lunch. Convert this tradition and take it into the online space.

Depending on the situation, you could:

  • Order lunch delivery for each of your employees;
  • Allocate a certain amount of money to each employee so that everyone could buy their own meals as they see fit. It doesn’t matter if someone eats sushi or vegetable soup. The main thing is that it should be quality time spent together;
  • Encourage employees to talk about a variety of topics, including hobbies, movies, music, books, and even personal issues (provided everyone feels comfortable talking about such things).

A professional manager understands that limiting team communication to work-related issues is not a good idea. Conversely, people who see something in common with one another, be it the same taste in music or a passion for video games, are more likely to start interacting effectively with one another in a work environment.

Bottom Line

There are so many ideas and tools for virtual onboarding. You can use any of them or come up with something of your own.

The main goal here is a cohesive virtual team, where each employee knows what and why he/she is doing, can safely ask for help from a colleague or manager, and constantly increases productivity.

That is why it’s essential that people living in different cities, countries, or time zones felt part of the team. This is what all engagement tools and solutions designed to improve informal relationships in the team are aimed at.