There are several challenges to the onboarding process like ensuring the human factor, i.e. initial meeting with the team members, grasping the training productively, overcoming the initial nervousness in a new environment, etc. To add to these, the remote working culture enforced by the pandemic has warranted a shift to virtual onboarding.
Virtual onboarding involves using the internet and software for interacting with the team members, live contact with managers and mentors, training and development and everything in between. There are several challenges in ensuring that the virtual onboarding process is as effective if not less than traditional onboarding. It’s imperative to identify and overcome these challenges to ensure that the first step of a new employee sets them up for success.
Let’s take a look at these challenges:
- Establishing effective communication
In the wake of the absence of in-person interactions, the challenge of establishing effective communication lurks around. There are many reasons for this, like the inability to decipher non-verbal cues during interactions and interviews — this leads to missing out on many nuanced impressions. Communication gaps can prove detrimental to the overall success of the onboarding process.
The solution lies in investing in a reliable and effective tool, such as video conferencing software. This can help stimulate the real-world feeling of communication to a great extent. Other than this, tools like learning management systems, helpdesk software, and onboarding software can create an environment of continuous communication with employees with real-time feedback.
- Risk of alienation
The initial days at a new workplace are crucial in helping an employee feel welcome and comfortable at their new job. The first days are for getting to know team members, interacting with them, and developing an understanding of their new surroundings. Hence, virtual onboarding risks alienating employees from their peers and colleagues by reducing the avenues of human interaction.
The solution lies in taking the help of an interactive online tool that connects the new employees to their team members immediately and effectively as soon as they join. The faster connection will help the new hires to engage with their colleagues and develop good working relationships.
- Understanding Work Culture
In the absence of an office setting, the chances of experiencing a company’s work culture firsthand get diminished. What this does is that it creates a difficulty to determine if the new hire is suitable for the company or not. Therefore, this is one of the most challenging aspects of virtual onboarding which must be resolved.
The solution lies in creating online hubs where the new employees can regularly engage and observe the work done by their colleagues. Facilitating real-time interactions creates a virtual workplace where the new employee can understand the work culture remotely.
- Effective training and development
Training and development is undoubtedly an inalienable part of employee onboarding. Without learning relevant skills involved in performing one’s job role, the chances of achieving successful output are scant. Training new employees are the backbone of the onboarding process.
To overcome the challenge of providing purposeful training, companies need to invest in onboarding software like UserGuiding to achieve their training needs. UserGuiding features include personalized training programs, live feedback, interactive learning modules and much more. Software like UserGuiding provide companies with the option of designing customized learning programs, suited to the need of a particular employee.
- Accessing onboarding material
Onboarding requires going through many documents and materials, and virtual onboarding needs them to be digitized. This challenge is easier to solve: upload all documents on a secure cloud-based platform for allowing them to be accessed with ease and safely by the new hires — in a place and time of their choosing.
- Avoiding Information Overload
When a new hire starts their job, a lot of information comes their way instantly. Overload of new information can intimidate and induce performance anxiety in them, especially in a remote setting. It’s crucial to prevent new employees from feeling overwhelmed in a new environment where they don’t have the luxury of having their colleagues clear their doubts over breaks. No doubt that the employees need to get to speed with the projects assigned to them, but at the same time it’s vital to ensure a balanced flow of information.
The solution lies in allowing some breathing space for a new employee in the first week or so. The idea is to give time for them to absorb the information over a comparatively prolonged period to help improve their overall performance. Include more presentations, meetings, and collaborative learning sessions in the first week. This will inspire faster learning and confidence.
The exclusion of the right tools and techniques in the process makes virtual onboarding tough to undertake. Therefore, companies must invest in relevant online tools and software to bring their A-game while welcoming new employees.