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Virtual Onboarding for Remote and Hybrid Teams

Updated: Jul 5

No employer is immune from new hire turnover. In fact, it happens frequently. According to the Work Institute's 2020 Retention Report, over one-third of employees leave their employers within the first year. What's more, "Two out of three employees who leave in the first year do so in the first six months."

In addition to the loss of workers, there's also the cost of replacing departing employees. One estimate puts the replacement cost at 6 to 9 months of the departed employee's salary.

Employers can increase new hire retention and productivity by implementing effective onboarding practices. This is true regardless of whether your employees work on-site or remotely. A report by Brandon Hall Group found that "organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%."

Employers that offer remote work can achieve those outcomes by adopting a robust virtual onboarding process.

With remote and hybrid teams, getting virtual onboarding correct is vital to maintaining organizational culture and providing the best possible employee experience.

What is virtual onboarding?

Virtual onboarding means acclimating new hires to the company via remote methods instead of traditional in-person methods.

Everything surrounding virtual onboarding is executed remotely through an online platform and/or videoconferencing, including:

  • New hire paperwork completion.

  • Orientation.

  • New hire training.

  • Team/group interactions.

  • One-on-one meetings with the new hire.

Virtual onboarding — Essential for remote and hybrid teams

The COVID-19 pandemic made virtual onboarding necessary for employers with remote and hybrid employees. According to a 2020 SHRM report, "Most organizations have transitioned to remote work in response to the coronavirus pandemic, making completely virtual onboarding of new hires a necessity."

Virtual onboarding can also benefit multinational corporations and employers with locations in different states.

A diverse team of people in a virtual meeting on a tablet and a hand giving a "thumbs up" signal off to the right

Advantages of virtual onboarding

  • It saves time and improves accuracy by automating hiring procedures.

  • It streamlines the job application, interviewing, hiring and onboarding processes.

  • It simplifies mass hiring for employers with international employees or workers in different states.

  • It provides flexibility and convenience. For example, remote employees can undergo training at a pace convenient for them and your business.

  • It reduces expenses. To perform virtual onboarding, employees and the HR team typically only need a laptop or desktop computer and an internet connection. This reduces travel costs, HR administration costs and other expenses.

Potential disadvantages of virtual onboarding

  • Security risks. Since everything is done online, there's the risk of cyberthreats like data breaches and identity theft.

  • There can be internet connectivity issues such as slow internet connection or outages.

  • There is decreased human connection. It may be more difficult for HR, managers and new hires to build a rapport with each other during virtual onboarding since it relies so much on technology.

By understanding the potential drawbacks of virtual onboarding, you can develop a plan to counteract them. For example, leverage an online HR platform that offers the necessary onboarding tools and a solid infrastructure for combating cyberthreats.

FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions and Nuance Recruiting teams can help you develop and implement effective virtual onboarding.

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