• Jo Wassell

Virtual onboarding: hear what’s working, straight from the candidates.

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

Many people are now joining companies and teams without physically meeting any of the people they’re going to be working with, for, or managing.

So onboarding is now more critical than ever; it’s your opportunity to give new starters an amazing first impression of your business, and close the physical gap with a big virtual hug. But how can you adapt your existing processes to accommodate these strange and remote times?

Where to start

Set expectations early for new recruits; show that you understand the struggles they’re likely to experience working remotely and share any initiatives you have in place to help. Common concerns often include working longer hours, lack of direction and communication. So, define their hours, workload and key targets early on.

And make sure to ask for their preferences in those areas where you can be flexible. I.e. how and when would they prefer meetings to be held. Perhaps keep a file of their choices and approach to working and revisit it every so often to make sure you don’t fall out of step with what makes your people tick.

What people are saying

We’ve been speaking to candidates on this topic to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Here’s what they had to say…

“Introductory calls with each department are a great way to settle in! A virtual ‘meet and greet’; so, names are familiar (faces too if they’re done as video calls) and collaboration gets off the ground faster.”

“A welcome gift through the post; a really nice touch which makes your new role feel a whole lot more ‘real’ in what is currently a very strange and surreal time…”

“Inductions that are recorded and available on-demand! This helped me so much; being able to go back and listen in my own time, or whenever I had a query about a specific topic, was very useful.”

“I was sent an informal guide on video-chat etiquette and dress-code for video calls. It was actually really useful as I’ve not had to worry about this before now – and with tips like muting your mic whenever you aren’t talking it helps to avoid any faux-pas too!”

“Team challenges! We’re set a simple game each week. We also have a shared board for uploading funny pictures and memes; it’s a fun way to get to know people and keep spirits high.”

“Don’t overdo the inductions – I was overwhelmed on my first day, it was like watching an eight-hour documentary. I pushed back on a few sessions to make it more digestible and my line manager really appreciated the feedback.”

Stay inspired

Most importantly, always keep thinking of new approaches as times evolve and people adapt. Go back to your virtual onboarding process after every new recruit if possible and tweak it with new learnings or feedback you received.

Some tried and tested tips from Invoke include:

· Pairing new starters with people who have been in the business a long time; they know the answers to most questions and can provide stronger moral support and mentorship than someone who is still navigating new waters.

· Give new starters plenty of chance to talk about themselves in team introductions and induction sessions, helping to boost morale and confidence from the start.

· Don’t forget to share written information on job-specific and company processes too; some of these more obvious steps can get lost along the way amid the current upheaval.

· Remind them of the benefits of everyone being at home! They have access to a much broader group of people – and what’s more, what better way to get a real feel for people than in their own environments? With small kids shouting, dogs barking, and house plants adorning the background of video conference calls all common place now, it can add up to an even stronger team bond.

If you need help brainstorming new ideas or freshening up your current approach, I’m just at the end of the phone and always happy to chat.

Otherwise, until next time,


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