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The Employee Online Onboarding Process: How to Onboard New Employees

It's true that 'Online Onboarding' is the process of inducting new employees into a company, however it is actually more than that, for example it also offers great benefits for current employees that are shifting to new positions within the company. Online onboarding presents a variety of benefits such as easy to customise induction/employee portals, great cost benefits in comparison to a more traditional 'classroom' approach, better retention (both mentally and in terms of employment within the company), higher morale and greater general productivity.

Research suggests that the likelihood of an employee still being your employee 5-10 years or more down the track in a company can be determined very early on in their working relationship with said company. Working with this information it is important that their onboarding process is as relevant and engaging as possible. Online onboarding allows companies to cater directly to specific employees or contractors. This can eliminate unnecessary information, allowing the recipient to be more engaged in the material they are being provided with.

Online onboarding covers several areas including orientation, feedback, training and support. The onboarding process goes beyond the initial induction and depending on the role it can continue on for up to a year afterwards. If this seems daunting or unrealistic it may be helpful to think of it as more of an adventure or journey of sorts with both the recipient and the company figuring each other out. The culmination of which is the stability a well-equipped, happy employee brings to the company. It is important therefore to ensure that the process is as easy, enjoyable and relevant as possible for all concerned.

A good Onboarding process begins well before the employees first day and even before you have met them. To ensure a successful onboarding process it is important to plan it well beforehand. This means considering and confirming what the recipient needs to know. Some examples of good questions to ask are “who do they need to be able to get in contact with in order to get help or advice?” “what equipment do they need?” “what is the online process going to look like?” “what information do they need to know?” “do they need to know about the company history?”

Online onboarding allows a range of customisation options, including the portal itself. Having a customised portal helps to extend the welcome feeling of your company. Making them feel welcome is to make them feel at ease. This is particularly important for the recipients whom you may not meet face to face as they are too remote. Having your companies' mission, values, and ideals integrated into the portal is a useful tool to give them the feel of the sort of company that they are going to be working for (or are currently working for). If you choose not to customise the portal then you run the risk of it feeling like it is not engaging, relatable or useful. Do the employees you are attempting to onboard feel that you care about them? and have put the time and effort into making sure that they have all that they need to have?

It is an important aspect in all inductions involving new employees that they understand the history, purpose and values of your company. Incorporating it poorly can make this the most boring section of any induction/onboard process and the recipient can either skip it or lose interest. However, it is possible to infuse it with your presentation in a way so that the viewer understands the importance of the role that they are to be undertaking. Utilizing an online system offers the flexibility to do this, if you are still worried about the quality of your presentation and the ability of the recipient to absorb the information they are being presented with then adding in some quizzes or memory games to test their knowledge can help (you can also set these so that the employee can't get past that section until it is completed). These create fun ways to keep them engaged and provide variety as well.

Looking ahead it is important to consider what the future is in the Onboarding adventure that you have set up. Once the induction is over the employee will need to begin their new role. In order to accomplish this creating a clear set of goals for them can be very helpful. This can be created with them as part of the process or provided for them when the induction has been completed. Follow up is also important in order to make sure that they are moving at a good pace in terms of their learning. This can be done online to help relieve the stress on timetables amongst other benefits.

In order to be successful with your online onboarding you are going to need to utilise a variety of different techniques to create a good impression and help reinforce the information that your employees need to retain. Aside from the customisation of the portal other ideas include videos covering such topics as 'first day on the job' and a guided tour of relevant important areas. These can show the worksite, run through expected duties noting the location of important areas and giving a sense of familiarity with the company they are going to be working with. Another useful idea is to include an easy to understand list of duties (which can be combined with the video for extra effect).
As mentioned above contact details for those they need to be able to contact either in the course of their position or with regard to seeking help, should be provided. These should be people working in the same area as them as well as the relevant supervisors/bosses. This can also be done by creating a space or system whether it be physical or virtual in which questions can be asked and responded to quickly, this saves time for both parties as they can ask and wait for answers whilst still completing other work it also goes a long way to helping them feel at ease. Making sure that your induction works on mobile devices as well as laptops and desktop computers gives the employee the choice of where to work. As they can then access it wherever they are and go through the induction in a place in which they feel comfortable.

Online onboarding needs to be both a welcome to the company or position (depending on the reason for it being undertaken). However, it is also a process for you to get to know them and supply them with tools to make their work easier and thereby enhancing your company.