Digital onboarding is based on new technologies and strategies to promote the integration of new employees to their teams and to the company in a process that happens remotely.
Digital onboarding is the process of onboarding new employees remotely. An ideal strategy for situations such as the new coronavirus pandemic or any other company and professionals are distant.
A lot has been said, about issues such as reduced working hours or temporary suspension of contract because of covid-19. This, however, is not the only perspective that exists in this scenario.
There are companies that have made or expect to make new hires during social isolation and that still don’t know how to conduct the integration of employees online.
What is the digital onboarding process
Onboarding is the process of onboarding new employees through techniques that reduce their time to adapt to the new job.
It is based on this definition that we can talk about what digital onboarding is, which, as you will see throughout the text, maintains the essence of the conventional process, but has some changes to make it work properly.
That said, we clarify that digital onboarding is a process that relies on strategies, clear communication and technological tools to promote the onboarding of new employees remotely.
In any situation, face-to-face or digital, onboarding goes beyond an informal welcome movement.
We are talking about something that is much more structured and that results in a documented process that guides online employee onboarding actions.
In particular, as it is the sector responsible for managing people, HR conducts digital onboarding from planning to monitoring results and making adjustments to make the process more and more accurate.
As with conventional, the main objective of digital onboarding is to ensure that new hires feel adapted to the job and their teams as quickly as possible.
This is because, without this adaptation, professionals can hardly be as productive as, in fact, they can be.
We also add that digital onboarding has the mission of breaking down barriers and promoting closer relations between employees, even if they do not meet in person .
Something fundamental, especially among those who make up the same team.
For that, HR needs to use different resources to overcome the obstacle that distance can represent. Something that you will discover how it can be done as you read this post.
The importance of digital onboarding
The comparison with a face-to-face integration context is welcome, because it helps us to better understand the existence of challenges in an integration carried out remotely.
The insertion process is something that can happen naturally, but letting things flow by themselves can be time consuming and not guarantee the expected results.
When HR participates in the process, structures and conducts the company’s onboarding, the results appear faster and this is beneficial for everyone involved .
Newcomers win because they take less time to feel able to deliver their best; the team wins because the changes necessary for the work start to flow more naturally; and the company benefits because it gets the most out of its workforce.
When HR does not participate in the process, new and old employees have to fend for themselves to adapt to each other’s way of working and thus try to maintain the company’s quality standards.
In addition, of course, to good coexistence and a positive organizational climate .
Do you realize how not investing in onboarding can be negative? Now, take all this to a virtual context, where the connection between people can be even more difficult to establish.
Do you also realize how essential digital onboarding is to promote alignment between professionals, teams and the company itself?
With that in mind, read on to better understand the importance of online onboarding based on some of the key challenges related to remote work.
Onboarding and the challenges of remote work
Remote work has become a reality for many due to the pandemic. For some companies and professionals, a forced change has occurred that can be interpreted as a purely negative bias.
However, it is easy to find research that indicates that the home office brings a series of advantages for the employer and also for the workers.
The companies that have lived or are going through this transition, since they are dedicated to comparing financial, productivity and other relevant data, may also be able to identify positive points linked to remote or hybrid work.
It is not without reason that 74% of companies in Brazil have said that they plan to maintain this modality even when the restrictions imposed by the pandemic are gone.
On the other hand, challenges exist. So that we don’t lose focus on digital onboarding, we are going to indicate some of these challenges showing how they can be more easily overcome through a well-structured online integration process. Check it out!
Consider that, in a normal situation, if the employee does not feel welcomed and does not receive the necessary guidance to carry out his work, he may feel inadequate for the new job.
With that, you can give up soon and contribute to the high turnover in the company or maintain a situation of demotivation simply because you don’t know what to do to adapt to your new reality.
In remote work , especially in the case of those who have never dealt with this situation, this challenge of feeling welcomed ― and really being welcomed by the company ― can be even greater.
- How can a worker who does not live with his superiors and colleagues manage to define whether or not he is fitting into the team?
- How can you know, without clear and constant communication, if you are on the right path?
- How do you feel that you can feel free to ask and clear up all your doubts without seeing anyone’s face?
These questions lead us to something you may already know well: understanding communication as a key element for a company’s success.
Over the last few years, assuming an increasingly strategic role, HR has been invited to act more closely to the needs of employees to guide clearer and more effective communication between them and their leaders.
Something fundamental to better align the company’s performance and expectations.
If this is a challenge that exists in face-to-face work relationships, when we talk about a scenario of virtual interactions, communication plays an even more important role and may require even more care so that it is well done and successful.
With this, a properly structured digital onboarding is one of the first steps to overcome one of the main barriers of remote work: poor or inadequate communication in the virtual environment.
By being able, from the beginning, to promote a connection between new employees and their teams, HR can create bridges that favor the proper execution of the work.
In a normal scenario, a team can already face difficulties in carrying out work that depends on collaboration and synergy due to several problems.
Communication itself, already mentioned, is among the problems, along with the lack of affinity and even the ability to work in a team.
If in person there is a problem to integrate teams, let alone in the home office , a context in which not all people are used to interacting virtually to ensure the smooth running of the team’s processes.
This type of situation can be solved with the support of tools to maintain productivity in remote work, but not only.
People management, which encompasses the online onboarding process, is essential for new employees to arrive already adapting to the technologies to be used and, very importantly, relying on monitoring by HR and their leaders.
The arrival of new professionals must rely on an additional integration effort so that working remotely is not synonymous with not having affinity with the team itself.
Distance can cause colleagues to communicate poorly, especially with newcomers that no one has had the chance to have face-to-face contact with.
Thus, if HR does not intervene, new hires can be seen as strangers who have arrived to be part of the company , but no one knows for sure who they are, what they do and how they work.
When someone arrives at a company, they receive information about their assignments and goals, but they may find it difficult to handle everything at first.
It is natural that a new work context, with different processes, requires adaptation, causing the professional to take a little longer than ideal to perform each task.
In other words, the beginning of a professional journey is not always marked by good time management, something that employees tend to improve with a few months in the new role.
For this to happen, however, someone needs to be following them closely and giving them guidance.
With this, digital onboarding also includes collecting feedback from new hires to find out how each one is managing their own work and home office.
A presentation of strategies for professionals to adapt faster to the expected pace of work are also welcome, especially considering that being at home can be a challenge for productivity during the adaptation phase.
Benefits of digital onboarding
With all that, you must have understood the importance of online employee onboarding. As a result, you can already identify the main benefits of digital onboarding.
In any case, we have listed these benefits below just so there is no doubt.
If you are already familiar with a traditional onboarding process, you will find that both cases promote similar achievements for the company. Look.
Put the new employees in a video conference room with their teammates, make room for a short presentation, and you’re done.
If you came to this post wondering what digital onboarding is all about, I’m glad you’re having the opportunity to broaden your understanding.
Undoubtedly, tools like video calling apps can be part of online employee onboarding, but onboarding goes beyond a simple introduction between those involved.
Real integration concerns a continuous HR process that must act to facilitate contact between professionals, through the dissemination of an organizational climate that is welcoming .
This is something that certainly doesn’t end once introductions have been made and reveals the importance of following up with newcomers, considering that onboarding can take a few months.
improvement of motivation
Integrated employees feel more motivated to be part of the company , its teams and, consequently, to do their work better.
When they have the opportunity to experience the company’s day-to-day face-to-face, new employees can find it easier to find identification points.
As a result, they may find it easier to align their work with the employer’s expectations, as well as their own expectations of the job.
When the relationship takes place at a distance, this connection that generates motivation is more challenging.
Thus, a well-structured digital onboarding has the power to bring those involved together , making new employees feel more motivated and more productive.
Reduction in turnover
High turnover is a problem that costs companies dearly, because it involves the payment of severance pay and the allocation of resources to new hires.
Not adapting to a company or a work team is a reason that may be behind a professional’s decision to seek the termination of his contract. Something that can also be harmful to the company’s image.
Thus, knowing that digital onboarding favors the adaptation of new hires, the process also reduces the chances that professionals will want to leave because they do not feel part of the company . Something that, in other words, promotes the much-desired retention of talent .
Finally, a well-structured digital onboarding also considers training actions.
This strategy makes professionals even better prepared to perform their tasks, giving them more confidence to perform their duties and recognize their role within the company and its teams .
What changes from conventional to digital onboarding
Much of the onboarding process involves creating connections between new hires and those already on the company’s workforce.
With this, it is possible to think that it is enough to create opportunities for this interaction to happen online and that’s it, but that’s not quite the case.
In order for you to understand what changes from the conventional process to digital onboarding, we will go through the stages of onboarding new employees, already adapting them to this new reality. Follow up!
Alignment from the vacancy announcement
Something you may not know yet is that digital onboarding begins with paying attention to the job announcement that is being opened by the company.
It is at this moment that HR has the first opportunity to promote alignment between professionals and the company.
Something that follows during the selection process and that adds up positive points for integration, because the adaptation of someone who identifies with the functions to be performed and with the employer is easier .
Therefore, it is recommended that the job description be objective, but also very clear about the role and what the company is like.
It is convenient to think that hiring is a two-way street, there are two interested sides and the professional also deserves to know what kind of place they are applying to work.
Preparing for the arrival of the contractors
The next step in digital onboarding involves HR or the team leader that the new hires will be a part of.
The idea is to send a welcome email that is accompanied by information relevant to the day to day work.
The communication is pleased to convey to professionals the idea that the company or team is happy to receive them and that it wishes to welcome them in the best possible way.
A simple gesture like this can help to minimize tensions and make employees understand that someone is concerned about their adaptation and well-being.
In addition, the email may also contain the employee handbook or other content developed by the company that presents rules, regulations, and other information that new hires should have access to.
Following this strategy will make employees feel more prepared and secure for their first day on the job. Something that contributes to your motivation, in addition to other benefits.
Conducting a virtual company presentation
In a face-to-face onboarding, the next step in the process is to take a tour of the company so that new employees get to know their work environment.
The idea is used because it is easier to feel comfortable and welcomed in a familiar environment. But that becomes a challenge when everyone is working remotely, doesn’t it?
With this, if possible, it is interesting to have a presentation video of the company and its sectors.
Thus, new employees can still get to know the physical space and be introduced to a place that, in the future, can serve as a work environment for them.
If it is not possible to rely on this video or if the presentation does not make sense for the company’s work context, this introduction can be done in another way.
Educational material can still be used to showcase key departments in the company, but the most important thing is that new employees are introduced to key professionals .
This can occur through scheduled video calls so that leaders can introduce themselves and workers know who to contact in case of need.
This presentation reminds us that HR has a duty to guide leaders to fulfill their role in digital onboarding.
Presentations can be brief, but each leader must be receptive and inform how they can help employees, in addition to indicating through which channel (email, WhatsApp or other tool) they should be reached.
Virtual reception of new employees
The reception of new hires is one of the moments when HR can let their creativity loose when structuring digital onboarding.
In a context of face-to-face integration, we would speak of a coffee break between newcomers and their new teams. What to do in a pandemic context?
Keep in mind that it is still possible to organize some type of event. On their first day, new employees can receive a breakfast basket at home, with welcome messages, for example .
The gift can also be accompanied by an invitation to a relaxed online meeting, where teammates are introduced and conversations can take place freely.
The light moment is interesting because it helps to break the ice and relieve tensions. Thinking about something like the breakfast basket is also good, considering that traditional onboarding suggests something that demonstrates the company’s effort to welcome new arrivals.
Parallel to this, the moment can also be used for practical guidelines and recommendations on the work to be passed .
It is important, however, to avoid the excess of information since it is not easy to absorb a high volume of news on the first day in the company.
Adequacy of the work environment
Remote work contracts have their particularities. In some cases, the company is responsible for providing each worker with the inputs to work from home.
In others, the issue can be agreed so that each professional takes on this responsibility.
If your company has taken responsibility for adapting the work environment of employees who are working from home, you should consider issues related to the quality of the equipment to be used, as well as ergonomics .
This is what will guide the company when putting together a kit that must be sent to the home of each new employee who is working remotely .
In addition to the materials, manuals containing instructions for use and even rules for handling the equipment can be sent.
The important thing is that as soon as you need to start your work routine, new hires have the tools they need.
And that includes providing, before the need arises, a corporate email and passwords to access the software used.
Application of training on learning platforms
Trainings do not have to take place on the first day, but it is convenient that they do not take too long .
As it should be, in an online onboarding process, any training strategy must also take place in a digital environment.
So, it may be that the company has an additional challenge here, because it may need to set up an online course, with recorded videos, or find someone able to pass the guidelines remotely.
Something that may require some kind of preparation, considering that remote communication and teaching something practical at a distance requires more patience and even the adoption of strategies different from those used in face-to-face teaching.
It is interesting to note that digital onboarding must have a defined standard structure, but be flexible for the customization of online training.
The training process for new employees may vary depending on their role and even their profile.
Others more familiar with digital solutions can learn to use it intuitively, without difficulties.
In the context of digital onboarding, it is valid to look for learning platforms to train new employees .
Choosing a Godmother or Godfather
Have you ever arrived in a new situation and wished you had a person closer to help you adapt? It happens to those who change schools, cities and, of course, jobs.
Knowing this, in a digital onboarding process, HR can assign a team member to accompany another who has just arrived .
Someone who, for a while, receives the mission of helping the newly hired in the use of tools and answering more basic questions that do not need the intervention of the leaders.
This can also be important for HR to have inputs to improve online onboarding in the future .
An employee who is already used to carrying out his work, when having close contact with a novice, is able to pass on to HR and the leaders what are the difficulties that the virtual environment presents to those who have just arrived.
With this, not only can onboarding be improved, but the company can consider adopting new strategies and tools to facilitate everyone’s routine and improve their results.
Monitoring the integration process
A new employee onboarding process can take months to complete.
Although it is shorter, it requires follow-up so that adjustments are made and any problems are identified before they become serious.
Thus, it is interesting that HR has the resources to measure the performance of each new employee, as well as to assess their adaptation .
In addition to productivity, well-being and a sense of belonging to your teams and the company must be considered.
To do so, in addition to defining metrics, HR can use regular conversations through calls or even weekly video calls.
The objective is to gather information on how the adaptation process has been, taking the opportunity to provide useful feedback.
How to structure a digital onboarding process
Now that you know what digital onboarding is and what its steps are, let’s go through the four Cs of onboarding so you know how to structure the process in your company.
Analysis of the four Cs of onboarding
The process of onboarding new employees can be understood from four factors that were named The Four Cs . Are they:
Considering these four Cs, Dr. Talya Bauer, from the SHRM Foundation (Society for Human Resource Management) developed a best practice guide that allows us to assess what success is expected for a company, based on how involved its HR is with the factors related to onboarding.
Basically, Bauer indicates that companies include the compliance part almost naturally in their onboarding processes.
However, if HR is not engaged in structuring and driving an effective process, the culture and connection parts end up being left out.
This is a problem for companies that see digital or even conventional onboarding as a checklist and not as a strategic process whose points are related.
The best scenario is one where all four factors are actively considered by HR and understood in a non-isolated manner .
Understanding, for example, that connecting with a longer-term employee can be key to compliance and clarification, as well as spreading the culture, is a more mature view of onboarding.
Creating a schedule for onboarding
Based on the four Cs and the other information you’ve seen so far, HR can understand what needs to be part of a digital onboarding process.
To facilitate its implementation and management, it is interesting to structure it through the creation of a schedule that defines when each action should begin to be executed .
For example, the company may need to order a new notebook X days in advance to deliver it to the employee before it actually starts.
Onboarding data collection
Remember we said that HR needs to keep up with the digital onboarding process to see how new hires are doing?
Therefore, it is interesting to define performance indicators or KPIs that assess their performance, in addition to relying on other resources such as feedback collections and satisfaction surveys.
The idea is to generate data not only on productivity, but on how each step of the integration process is contributing or not to generating results .
Something that should consider both the well-being of employees and the goals of the company.
As with conventional onboarding development, the digital onboarding process must also be documented.
In this way, the company is able to define a standard structure to be followed to ensure the integration of new hires , while also ensuring the maintenance of a quality standard.
Adjustments made over time must also be documented so that the company avoids making mistakes or following strategies that are not the most suitable for digital onboarding.
Tools to drive employee onboarding
Clear and efficient communication is the centerpiece of an online onboarding process.
Therefore, the main tools that can assist in conducting the process of onboarding new employees are aimed at creating connections and making them simpler.
Hard to imagine life without the use of emails, isn’t it? This is a widely used tool, especially in the corporate world, and there is no need to describe it.
Through e-mail, the company can send different materials that are part of the onboarding process, directly or indirectly.
We mentioned the welcome email earlier, but the channel also serves to send internal newspapers and other reports .
Although intended for everyone and not just those who are just joining the company, internal communication materials can also help contractors get to know the company’s culture and leadership even better . Something that is part of your integration.
Zoom, Hangouts and the like
After the onset of the pandemic and the “boom” of video meetings, it was not long before experts were called in to explain why video calls can be so tiring .
There are a few factors associated with the way our brains interpret video communication — as compared to face-to-face communication — that are behind the problem.
This does not make video calls unfeasible, but serves as a warning so that they are strategically used.
In a digital onboarding process, it is very interesting that the first contacts of new employees with HR, with their colleagues and with the leadership are in video .
People connect better when they can see each other, and they also have a better chance of assimilating each other’s way of communicating; something that avoids or minimizes noise .
Thus, it is interesting that the company is ready to use tools such as Zoom or Google Hangouts, or any other of the many options that exist.
The most important thing, in addition to the quality of the calls, is the choice of a safe tool.
Slack and the like
Currently, it is quite normal to use WhatsApp as a messenger used also in the work environment.
If your company doesn’t have a group in the app, chances are you know several that do!
Despite this, there are those who prefer not to use this popular tool for corporate issues because it is a messenger also used for personal matters.
Thus, it is understood that there is a chance that workers will be distracted by some matter and end up delaying their deliveries.
Slack is one of the tools that can be used as an alternative to WhatsApp , and it is very common that its use is exclusively professional.
It is an interesting option, because it allows conversations to be separated into different channels, dividing areas of the company and teams.
Trello and the like
Can you imagine how difficult it can be to wait for the return of several members to know what stage of the production process the team is at?
If doing this in person is difficult enough, working remotely can be even more challenging.
It turns out that understanding the steps of a process is important for those who are arriving .
New hires need to know who is involved with what, how their work affects the work of teammates, and so on.
For this, there are tools such as Trello, which allow each demand to be structured based on who is responsible for the steps, delivery times and other details of the process.
In the development of digital onboarding, it is up to HR to show the tool and explain how it works, in addition to asking for feedback on the experience.
Why not leave onboarding for later
Companies may have the feeling that integration should be done when the face-to-face work routine is resumed. In fact, this change favors connections, but it is not advisable to wait for that moment to arrive.
Digital onboarding can be a challenge even for HR employees who are not used to the tools or to conducting people management processes in a virtual environment.
Despite this, work relationships established at a distance tend to become increasingly common and, although the return to the face-to-face routine is expected, waiting until this happens affects the adaptation of the contractors .