Virtual Onboarding

How do we sell a non-salary benefit when we aren’t able to offer them in the present situation?

  • Transition benefits and perks to online – move the wellbeing programs (e.g. boot camps, meditation) to an online session.
  • Being aware of their situation – whether it’s too much family or full isolation – getting to have those conversations to make people feel looked after.
  • Personalized touch that you’d usually get from being at work – sending parcels, or sending a code or vouchers for people to use before they start.

E.g. Include a kid’s colouring book with their usual welcome pack.

  • Using this as an advantage to have more conversations while we have the time.

How do we get the laptop to someone who isn’t tech-savvy enough to set it up themselves?

  • Check the readiness of the candidate, can they BYO device and are they able to set it up themselves.
  • You can personally deliver equipment, use Uber or courier to your IT person’s house, then onto the new starter- so that their new hardware is all set up for them. Courier out Dongle for 5G internet.
  • Assess their internet connection and help them set up if needed, remember it may not be as available as corporate office internet, so allow for slower set up times.
  • Use PSI testing before they commence – find out their strengths and their preferred learning style such as through DISC, Myer-Briggs.
  • Communicate the onboarding plan to the candidate leading up to induction – before the start date.
  • Set up the calendar invite series before they start, send an email on the day before with the invites and the series so they know what they are working on.
  • Keep things basic, find out how they like to communicate – how do YOU like to communicate?
  • Find out if they have WFH experience.
  • Find out their tech capabilities.
  • Forecast how they may like to work and how to adapt.

  • The first day – have structured Touchpoints – set up times with stakeholders to introduce and welcome.
  • Allocate a buddy – Assign a mentor or go-to person (must have more than 1 buddy, and include some from their immediate team, and other departments).
  • Set them up for success with structured communication plans – Communication is KEY.
  • Identify what’s their preferred comms style – text, email, call?
  • First 2 months extra steps in caring and touchpoints, a message goes out at 2 months reminding probation coming up and getting people to start reflecting.

Online Tools: 

  • Zoom
  • Loom
  • Whatsapp
  • Microsoft Team
  • Google Hangouts
  • Slack: Coffee Roulette  “doughnut” Randomly selects people across the business outside of your team, every week get everyone to have a remote coffee, this gets a broader connecting across the business
  • Jib Jab: Send a personalised video for birthdays instead of cake
  • Easy Generator: Create tutorials to simulate a manager sitting next to a new starter teaching a skill
  • Last Pass
  • Liquid Files

Are people using different online onboarding modules which cover more COVID-19 approaches rather than previous BAU approaches?

  • Ensure they have a safe workplace – for new starters – it’s important to make them compliant and safe.
  • Set up online modules.
  • Have a list of FAQs on the intranet.
  • Streamline the processes as required – don’t overload the starter with information and just feed the onboarding info that’s relevant to current circumstances.
  • Remove online modules that only refer to BAU – purely directing people to the separate module that is standard compliance and then having only COVID related onboarding, to not confuse them or waste time pointing out fire exits etc.

How do we get the laptop to someone who isn’t tech-savvy enough to set it up themselves?

  • Evaluate progress more regularly. Checking where they feel they need to develop and being clear on their development areas that you see.
  • Coach team on how to give 360 feedback. 
  • Make sure that you gather the information gained through the recruitment process and utilise this through the onboarding, strengths, weaknesses, development areas. This can be done by having an honest conversation with the new starter in their first week- ask them where they feel their training areas are, then have the line manager respond with where they feel the training areas may be, based on the interview process.
  • Capability framework, self-assessment and manager can assess.
  • Keep 1:1 consistent, encourage the manager to be vulnerable and open about how this new remote process may not be perfect, which allows the new starter to provide honest feedback and feel comfortable asking for help.

How do we sell a non-salary benefit when we aren’t able to offer them in the present situation?

  • Personalise a welcome pack and deliver it to their door.
  • Wine, discount codes, cool stuff, company merch, Subscription to mindfulness apps etc.
  • Friday 30 mins, happy hour where kids and pets are encouraged to share the conversation.
  • Team meetings to begin with sharing 1 thing you are grateful for and 1 thing you are struggling with.
  • Have a welcome party on zoom with the team.
  • Show & Tell with the team- 90 seconds to talk about your item (or skill), then each team member can ask 1 question.
  • “MTV cribs”, desk set up photos and house tours.
  • Giving back – don’t forget to continue volunteer days if that is part of your standard engagement.
  • Many team activities can be transferred online.

  e.g. “Cork and Canvas” can deliver mini individual packs

  • Free subscriptions to mindfulness apps – looking after people’s health and well being.


  • Important to manage and rationalize the means of communicating with each other – so many different channels and traffic, it’s a lot. So, controlling the stream of info so people don’t feel overloaded.

– Look to set some controls in place and set guidelines around what communication channel to use and when – what info comes across each channel.

– Assign team members to take ownership and maintain communication channels so it doesn’t go out of control.

– Have expected response times.

  • Have regular catch-ups on what works well, what doesn’t, what to stop, is it effective?
  • Have empathy, promote a trusted environment.
  • People with families/kids – Reassure them it’s all ok, everyone’s set up is different.
  • Manage outcomes, not KPI’s – if they can complete the outcome, then it shouldn’t matter how they get there.
  • Be adaptable to individual challenges, accept that one size doesn’t fit all.
  • Show vulnerability on both sides.

One of our biggest conversations was around the impacts of closing schools.

Parents have been reaching out feeling distressed that people would judge them, how can we reassure them?

  • Encourage teams to be understanding of everyone’s circumstances by allowing children in the meeting.
  • If a child comes in on a call, they are allowed to introduce themselves and sit quietly to join.
  • One company conducted a self-assessment survey across their business, of how much their work would be impacted, so they could create a business-wide plan, before conducting individual interviews for tailored plans.
  • Allow work outside of the core hours.
  • Management needs to be honest “try your best to be at the meeting but if you can’t we understand.”
  • Record all video meetings, so if someone cannot attend, they are still included.
  • It is the responsibility for all parties to understand that we are in unusual times and that interruptions from children will occur.  There needs to be an acceptance that everyone is doing their best to with the environments that they are working within.


*Disclaimer: The content of this document is a collection of opinions from meeting attendants and not the express opinion of any representative of Method Recruitment.