There is no second chance for successful onboarding. The first impression counts, whether personal or virtual. The experiences of the past year show: Digital onboarding has proven itself and will continue to play a role in the future. Provided it is professionally done. […]
The pandemic has changed everything – including the onboarding of new employees. Successful onboarding is even more important for companies and employees right now. If working together at the same location is no longer possible through home office or is no longer a necessity, employees must be accompanied all the better in their first weeks. This is the only way to ensure that onboardees quickly find their way into the work and the team – even despite distance. In addition, this change can also be seen as an opportunity to rethink long-established onboarding processes – from pre-boarding with company presentation to automatic data collection and processing.
Tips for the right digital onboarding
The right onboarding can ideally already be supported by a good pre-boarding. Not only welcome packages can be sent in advance. The provision of digital upload options for necessary documents in pre-boarding also ensures smooth entry. Company presentations, data protection training, welcome videos and much more can also be integrated into digital pre-boarding before the first working day.
Structured digital onboarding should cover all aspects of onboarding, including professional induction and social integration. For example, invite newcomers to a digital welcome training. There, the newcomers learn more about the company’s values and structures, about the company’s systems and programs, and can network with other onboardees. You can easily control this centrally via HR and convey the most important information to everyone without missing out on networking.
In order to further strengthen this exchange among newcomers, chat groups or intranet areas are available for new employees where questions can be asked.
For integration into the team, you can provide the new employees with a mentor. As part of the team, he is responsible for the professional training and is available for all questions – in addition to the senior manager, who rather plays a controlling role.
Try out innovative concepts: Offer virtual project talks with experienced specialists from your company. Here, innovative ideas and solutions are presented that help the new ones to improve their skills, discover new ideas and get in touch with experts from the company.
In addition, it is advisable that the manager has several short check-in conversations with the new employee via video conference in the first few days. This ensures the communication flow and ensures transparency. The following questions can be asked here: How was your first week? What did you like about onboarding process? What can I do as a leader to get you into your role better? Don’t miss out on the team feeling either and invite the new employee to digital breakout sessions, such as the digital coffee break, team hangouts or afterwork meetings.
The advantages of good digital onboarding are obvious: If you feel in good hands in your new team, the new position is motivated. The more appreciation someone receives, the more confident they are in their professional activities and integrate into the company more quickly.
The right software
A prerequisite for digital onboarding is of course the timely provision of the required hardware and software. New workers should be able to easily log into employee platforms, as well as access e-learning tools and to-do lists for the first few days of work. For an optimal onboarding journey, there are also a number of specialized software tools on the market that exclusively map onboarding processes and tasks or are integrated into a recruiting solution.
Here the following functions can be useful:
- To Dos: in order to make digital onboarding simple and clear, it is recommended to work with checklists. So nothing is forgotten and the onboarddee has orientation and structure. HR can also optimally check whether all tasks have been completed by all parties involved. Ideally, you can present this in a clear onboarding journey, which is not only a compulsory exercise, but also fun and fun for the new job.
- Workflows: The software should be able to map important processes and tasks in the company-e.g. inform the hiring manager in good time, send him to-do lists or pass on the application for a new laptop to the IT department.
- Self services: the completed master data sheet,identity card, insurance certificate, work certificates, criminal record, applications for parking or canteen – in the first week there are a lot of documents that the employee can fill out and upload. Ideally, the information provided here is automatically checked and transmitted directly to other software systems such as master data system, billing, time recording, controlling, digital file, etc.
- Necessary training: whether compulsory training or voluntary information formats-in the onboarding journey, the newcomer should be shown which training courses are available to him and which are mandatory.
Workshop and mentoring functions enable employees to network and support each other via the software tool. Inform you in the intranet, by mail or in the onboarding tool how the procedure is, if you offer this.
Digital onboarding as the beginning of a strategic shift
One thing is certain: digital onboarding will also play a role beyond the pandemic. Where appropriate, professional training can and should take place digitally in the future, as it offers employers and employees a high degree of flexibility. Social integration, on the other hand, which involves establishing personal contacts with colleagues, superiors and customers, will, as far as possible, take place again at the workplace and should not be forgotten in digital onboarding
It is important that managers in particular are aware of their responsibility when switching to digital onboarding. They determine the timing of communication, security, structure and type of cooperation and thus have a decisive influence on the success of digital collaboration.
Digitizing “only” onboarding in personnel work is clearly too short: The corona pandemic has shown that you can recruit, hire, onboarding and work together in virtual teams fully digitally. This opens the door for flexible cooperation over long distances and creates access to a more comprehensive applicant market. Therefore, companies should not see digital onboarding as a time phenomenon, but rather as the beginning of a strategic change.
* Elisa Pietrasch is a Senior Consultant at CLEVIS – responsible for the digitalization of HR and HR strategy.