Can You Still Get a “Gut Feeling” with Virtual Onboarding?

Can You Still Get a “Gut Feeling” with Virtual Onboarding?

Employers often build a “gut feeling” about new hires throughout their first few weeks of employment. Qualifications are important, but they can only tell you about what a person does. Not very much about who they are. Assessments of applicants throughout the onboarding process are what truly inform opinions about whether they’d be a good fit in their new roles.

The dramatic rise in remote/virtual work over the past few months has also given rise to new forms of digital onboarding. This presents unique circumstances for employers as they’ll have to use new methods of welcoming and evaluating employee candidates.



The very first step in this process should be a new partnership between your HR department and your IT department. It’s essential that new hires are provided the work equipment necessary for their role and for remaining in contact with the rest of your organization. HR can help with coordination and IT can help with devices and setup for remote work. Pair the two departments together to facilitate a smooth transition.


Culture Connection

In the first few weeks working at a new company, employees gain a sense of the company culture they have entered. Every business environment is different, and each has a different atmosphere and workflow. For remote hiring to truly be effective, this same informing of culture needs to take place over the initial weeks of employment.

One of the best ways to achieve this is through frequent one-on-one time with a new hire’s direct report. Frequent video calls and meetings at regular intervals will help the new hire feel more connected to the company and will help managers establish a framework for the tasks to be conducted.

Direction is key. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re a new hire. Up to a fifth of new employees leave their jobs within 45 days, according to Forbes, which can largely be attributed to feeling overwhelmed during these early phases. Daily touchpoints with feedback from managers and other leaders will help the new employee stay on track and start feeling proficient.

It would also be a good idea to use a mentoring or buddy system. Pair the new hire with one of their longer-serving colleagues so they can start to learn more about your company culture.


Getting Oriented

Working remotely requires a different kind of orientation process than most typical in-person hiring methods would require. Obviously, the new hire won’t really be getting the lay of the land, but they can still receive training and company policy information.

It’s best to avoid mind-dulling videos for instruction. Interactivity tends to produce better results in this area. Use team-building activities and breakout sessions with peers to convey what you want people to learn. Your new hires will gain insight to your policies and get to know the people they’ll be working alongside.

The details of this process should be used to build a feeling of control for the new hire. When a person feels in control in their new role, they feel more competent, less stressed, and tend to perform better.

A good way to reinforce competency and control is to encourage the new hire to contribute rather than be a fly on the wall (or… screen) for their first few weeks. It can be tricky for a new person to find their voice in a new company under regular in-person circumstances, and being remote can make it even easier for a person to remain in their shell, so to speak. So encourage your new people to share their ideas, provide their input, and become an active part of your company.


Warm Welcome by Proximity

Since remote work doesn’t offer the same welcoming options that are possible under regular circumstances, companies have been finding new ways to remotely break the ice between new hires and their colleagues. A fun and easy way to do this is by scheduling regular remote social gatherings. Doing so will help foster stronger working relationships.

Coffee meetups, cocktail hours, games, and meals are all great ideas. It’s become very popular over the last few months for companies to cater meal gatherings from the same restaurant to build a stronger sense of togetherness.


Different, but Doable

Virtual onboarding is a bit different that what most of us are used to but could be viable for lots of different companies. All it takes to be successful is a little advance planning and the implementation of resources that can support your new hire’s introduction to your processes and style of work. Stay connected to one another and your new people are sure to work out great for your company.