Digital onboarding – Dos and Don’ts in a rapid work environment

Onboarding in general refers to the entire process of familiarizing new team members with the company, from the signing of their contract to the end of their trial period. One goal of onboarding is to introduce the team members to the company’s philosophy. Furthermore, the focus is on efficiently conveying existing processes, work instructions and general knowledge, as well as on practicing what has been learned.

The concept itself is not new, but the current situation puts it in a new light. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the first lockdowns, companies in various sectors have had to fully digitalize their onboarding almost immediately.

In this article, we have collected several elements that require attention for an optimal digital onboarding process.

Preparations:

A training plan should always be well thought through and individually tailored to the new team member. This also includes tasks that must be done before the new employee starts work

A welcome email to the entire team but also the filling out of important forms. Access data and security information must also be prepared and transmitted.

Knowledge management:

A checklist of important technical information, knowledge tests or exercises to be completed, as well as information about the company and its products should be prepared. This includes pointing out communication structures and contact persons.

In addition, it is important to convey knowledge in a structured way, so a well-maintained e-learning tool should be used in the company to ensure a stable level of knowledge in the teams.

Time management:

Timelines of recurring tasks, meetings and any appointments that will affect the new team member in the future should be recorded and clearly communicated.

This type of work routine is helpful in forming a sense of belonging even without personal contact.

Together digital:

Both meetings and face-to-face conversations should be held via video conference.

Facial expressions and gestures are among the most important aspects for inspiring trust and solidarity, which is why a friendly face should always play a major role in onboarding to strengthen relationships and the atmosphere in the team.

Encourage questions:

If you are new to a company, many questions come up; without the personal contact, the opportunity to ask minor questions in-between team meetings falls away.

To encourage active questioning, it is important to set firm goals and expectations as well as assign the new member to a personal coach. The mentor should actively respond to questions and always be available.

Create team spirit:

Digital contact increases the importance of team meetings immensely. The sense of belonging and the social bond within the team can be strengthened by frequent meetings, again via video conferencing.

Variants such as digital team breakfast meetings also strengthen the bond. This allows the team to talk about other topics than current tasks and projects. In addition, team chats during the workday are ideal for sharing information or encouraging questions.

Feedback:

Continuous optimization is essential in digital onboarding as well. To keep the onboarding experience appealing for everyone involved, feedback should be obtained after the successful onboarding of an employee.

How was the current process perceived, are there any suggestions for improvement or criticism?

These observations can be incorporated directly afterwards to strengthen and ideally even shorten the onboarding process in the future.