Digital Onboarding

Jun 08, 2021 6 Min Read
Digital Onboarding
How To Use Digital Tools To Onboard New Remote Employees During The Pandemic

Onboarding is a critical part of the employment life cycle, an opportunity to effectively introduce the employee to the culture of the organisation and set them up for success. If done correctly, it enables the employee to immediately be able to understand their role in the organisation and be able to execute the work required of them.

The process of onboarding is different for every company. Many HR leaders believe that onboarding starts the first day an employee starts work. Others believe it actually begins right after the final interview when the candidate signs the offer letter. A few actually believe the onboarding process begins the moment a candidate applies for the job.

Why is this so? Firstly, every person interviewed can potentially become an advocate and ambassador for the company (even if they are not hired). By onboarding every single person interviewed, we increase the chances of the candidate advocating our organisation and also ultimately, because one of the candidates interviewed, will go on to become our employee. Why not start the onboarding process as early as possible?

Leveraging Technology

One of the best ways to ensure the onboarding process is done well, is to leverage technology. With so many great digital onboarding platforms, such as necole, budaya and happily, the process of enabling your employee to learn about the company, find about your values, and be able to know who are the key leaders and people in the organisation can be rather seamless. These platforms also provide you with huge amounts of analytics on the new joiners including the amount of time they took to consume, if they finished watching the videos or read the full article and you can even provide just-in-time feedback to these new employees on a live basis.

However, even if you are not able to invest in digital tools, you can still leverage general platforms such as Youtube, where you can showcase videos about your values (check out these great gems), who you are (watch this video from 10 year ago) and even showcase details of your products and services via Vimeo or YouTube.  The downside is that you are not able to track and monitor if the candidate actually finished viewing and internalising the content.

Another way to make onboarding seamless is through leveraging a digital employee handbook. An effective digital employee handbook with clear touch points, can make the on-boarding process much easier, saving you the trouble of having to have a session explaining tedious details to the newly hired. 

It will also clear any concerns that the applicants might have about the business as the candidates can go over the digital handbook over and over till they reach comprehension. A digital handbook may also be used for employees to sign off documents, access key information needed for the set-up process and be able to have a one-stop avenue to get all information.

Here are detailed tips on how to effectively onboard new employees using digital technology, including the digital employee handbook: 

1. Learning & Development

One of the most daunting yet exciting tasks of onboarding a new employee is to provide them with training they need to do their job effectively. It may differ from person to person hired into the organisation as they may be working on different aspects and parts of the business. 

Furthermore, with the pandemic and work-from-home situations, it has become increasingly challenging and difficult to keep engagement and interaction going via Zoom calls and replicating classroom training virtually.  This is when leveraging digital apps such as necole, and budaya can be fully leveraged. Additionally, while training is conducted, employees can access digital handbooks which fully outline their roles and responsibilities, with detailed information integrated.  Some of these new digital handbooks, even allow videos and other information to be integrated allowing the new employee to consume the information like reading a book. 

2. Company’s Culture & Values

Explaining the company culture is often deemed to be a boring task. While using the digital employee handbook to facilitate this task may be a better task, using an engagement app such as Budaya or Happily may be your best bet. These apps gamify the onboarding process and allow new hires to feel the fun, culture and embrace what it means to be part of your organisations. Most of these apps allow significant customisation that enables you to deeply engage and interact with your new hires in a much more connected way.

Another way is to animate and be creative with your employee handbook. Your employee handbook is the first formal interaction an employee has with your company. We recommend enabling your company values, vibes and colours to be communicated to the incoming employee through the design and look-and-feel of the digital company handbook. Don't shy away from using colors, patterns, memes, mascots etc. They are more helpful than written material in this digital world of social media.

3. Make Your Onboarding Sessions Fun & Different

When people talk about how exciting their onboarding programme is, the most exciting feature sometimes available for these sessions is using the Zoom breakout room function. Some great questions can be asked in the privacy of a breakout room, yet that is not different from every other day.  You need to truly be differentiated. 

Play virtual games. Play Kahoot.  Use gamified ways to make your onboarding experience different from a typical one.  If you use Happily or Budaya, you will be able to use the “Running track” and maybe you take a 20-minute break during your onboarding session and get everyone to run and see who can run the “most” during the break. This will enable you to get the new hires into a competitive spirit and be able to use the onboarding app while also having fun.  

There are many different ways to make these sessions fun and engaging. Every 40 minutes, make sure you do something different as part of your onboarding session. This way,  these employees know they joined an innovative, fun and exciting organisation.

4. Assign A Mentor

Friendly and firm mentors have been one of the greatest sources of learning throughout history. Whether it's out of school or office or life, we need mentors. Mentors provide the tacit information we need to get better and do our jobs more efficiently.

Find a great mentor from your team and assign each new joiner a mentor. The mentor should be someone who is well versed in the handbook and the tools of the job the employee is to be onboarded for. These mentors could be named as “ Designated buddies” and they can even continue to be buddies to these new hires after the onboarding process is over. 

Aside from showing the employees the ins-and-outs of the company, the mentor will also be responsible for enabling the new employee to bond in new circles in the company. Many new employees may not have other friends in the organisation, and with the new work-from-home becoming the norm, it will be crucial for the new employee to be able to find access to these groups of friends. The mentor can help them navigate into their own circle of friends and colleagues and introduce them to these groups.

Final Thoughts

Remember, first impressions last forever. Your employee will always remember their onboarding experience and will build upon it. Make sure to usher the new employee with great compassion and excitement. The way you let them in, how you engaged them and how quickly you enable them to reach their potential, determines the feelings and emotions they will have for the company. This is the time to cultivate ownership and emotional attachment to your company. 

We hope the tips above help you in onboarding employees digitally. Love to hear what other ideas you or your company have tried to welcome newcomers during these turbulent and pandemic-filled times. Do share them in the comments section below:

Check out some of the best digital onboarding platforms in the video below:

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Tags: HR, Systems & Structures

Shashi Kesavan is a leader at Leaderonomics and has great expertise in the media space. He is currently the Director of Special Projects and is leading the deployment of the Global Internship programme. In his spare time, Shashi plays football and runs to let off steam. He is currently producing a number of podcast shows.

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