Starting a new job is tough. Starting a new job in a pandemic is even tougher. Your new hires will have to sit in of their computer screens and get to know their new colleagues over Zoom calls instead of being shown around the office and meet them in person. Virtual Onboarding or onboarding remote employees has become more of a necessity, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to remain so for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it’s up to the HRs to make this experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. 

What is Virtual Onboarding?

Virtual Onboarding is similar to traditional in-person onboarding, where you induct new employees into your organization and bring them up to speed with their role, team, and company culture - except that it is all done virtually via video conferencing, online interactive sessions, and virtual onboarding software

Onboarding has always been a crucial part of the hiring process. Though the medium of delivery may be different, the goals of virtual onboarding must be similar to that of in-person onboarding. They include:

  • Creating a favorable first impression of the company

  • Introducing the new employees to key team members

  • Completing the necessary documentation 

  • Providing the required tools, technology, and training

  • Explaining all available employee benefits

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Challenges of Virtual Onboarding

According to a study by Human Capital Institute, a bad onboarding experience causes 20% of the new hires to leave within the first 45 days. The Virtual Onboarding process is not all smooth sailing, but getting it right now is more important than ever. Some of the challenges that organizations face while onboarding virtual employees include:

Virtual Onboarding Best Practices

The above challenges can seem daunting, but everything is not as gloomy as it seems. You can deliver a seamless virtual new employee orientation by following a few best practices.

Start the onboarding from day zero

You can start the onboarding process before the actual date of joining itself. Try to make the best use of the time between a candidate accepting a job offer and their first day. This is also known as pre-boarding. Some of the things you can do to make the new hires feel at ease on their first day are:

  • Frequently engage with the candidate and explain how the team works

  • Send out the documents to be filled as part of joining formalities

  • Send out a warm email welcoming the new hire into the team

  • Give small assignments to familiarize them with the company/ product/ industry

  • Send out a detailed schedule of the first day and week to remove any anxiety and unexpected surprises

Make sure hardware and technology is set up properly

It is nearly impossible to provide a smooth virtual onboarding experience without proper tech in place. Coordinate with the IT Team to ensure that all hardware with pre-installed software and tools are shipped to the new hires well in advance. Configure work email credentials and add them to the required groups, channels, and distribution lists. You can make use of onboarding checklists to make sure nothing misses out. Taking care of these little details will ensure a seamless and glitch-free onboarding experience.

Send personalized welcome kits

It’s not just about getting the hardware and tech right. Send some personalized goodies such as T-Shirts, water bottles, bags, notebooks, etc that your new employees can flaunt. Because everyone loves some cool swag. You can go a step further and make a personalized video/greeting card with all the team members welcoming a new hire. These little efforts can go a long way in making your new employee feel part of the team.

Create a diverse onboarding program

Virtual Onboarding should never be a one-off or one-day video session. Conduct multiple interactive sessions showcasing the various aspects of your company culture, products, services, and employee benefits. Fun team-building exercises, online scavenger hunts, scheduled training sessions, introduction to various departments, one-on-one meetings with reporting managers, and virtual happy hours over the course of a week will make the entire new hire experience enjoyable.

Set clear goals and expectations

When starting a new job, there’s always a lot to learn, a lot of people to meet, and a lot of adjustments to make. A new employee can easily get lost or overwhelmed in a remote setup. It is therefore important to set clear goals and expectations upfront. Create a 30-60-90 day onboarding plan and communicate how success is measured within the team. It will give the newbies a sense of direction until they learn their ways within the company.

Make it easy to build connections and relationships

While you may be onboarding your new hires digitally, make sure you don’t miss out on the human side of things. Make it easy for them to communicate and form real connections. Assign a go-to buddy/ mentor whom they can reach out to for anything and everything. Set up weekly calls with the reporting managers to track progress and get feedback. Include them in all team meetings and encourage them to speak up, so that team members get to know the real person behind those computer screens.

Digitize the Onboarding process

A study by Glassdoor shows that a good onboarding program can increase employee retention by 82%. Digitizing the entire process using a Virtual Onboarding software like Freshteam can go a long way in providing that flawless onboarding experience. A good onboarding software makes a world of difference to your virtual onboarding process with convenient onboarding checklists for your team, employee onboarding kits, and e-signature features. It will make the life of everyone involved a lot easier.

Why is Freshteam the right virtual onboarding software for you?



Freshteam allows you to put together and send an onboarding kit - documents to sign, forms-to-fill, security policies, or handbooks to be shared


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No more chasing lost forms or missing signatures. Simply get your onboarding forms and documents E-signed with the Freshteam

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Freshteam comes with inbuilt checklists where you can put up tasks and assign stakeholders including the Manager, IT System Admin, the New Hire in one simple step

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