Guide to Virtual Onboarding A New Executive
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Hiring a new executive leader during a global pandemic crisis, where many organizations are mandating employees to work from home, has some challenges in welcoming the new hire remotely. Organizations will have to adopt new processes in creating, planning, and coordinating a virtual onboarding plan for a seamless transition and to ensure the new executive hire will have a positive experience with the company.
What follows is a checklist and list of tools that, when integrated into your onboarding plan, can help everyone reach success. It is important to make some realistic considerations on mapping out activities to ensure a smooth onboarding process which puts the new executive on a path to long-term satisfaction and engagement with the organization.
Welcoming the New Hire:
It is important to consider who in the organization will be responsible for communicating (i.e. the HR department) the onboarding process to the new executive hire. The initial set up, transition and introduction of the new executive hire is important in creating a positive impression and strengthening the relationship from the onset.
As you onboard the new executive, important forms (policies, benefits, and payroll etc.) and sign up must now be accessed digitally. Thankfully, there exist many powerful digital tools, which are readily available and can help bring remote employees together.
In this virtual welcome package, it may be important to contain the following:
- A welcome letter (or even a short welcome video) from the organization or hiring manager
- Basic information on accessing work emails
- Online access to sign up and set up benefits package, payroll etc.
- Links to join video or telephone conferences
- Links to training videos – for specialized software that is primarily used by your organization (for example, Adobe Pro, B2B database software, Email software etc.)
- Contains first-week agenda (which should include meetings with their team, virtual coffee/lunch chats etc.), training documents, policies, manuals, benefits, protocols, contact lists
Key Technological Tools Set Up for the New Hire:
As part of the preparation in setting up the new hire with technological tools, it is important for them to integrate with ease. Here are some points to consider during the process:
- Consider the required hardware to conduct business (i.e. Laptops, Monitors, keyboards, head sets etc.) and have them shipped to the new hire working remotely
- Arrange time for video/teleconference with tech support team to help guide them with the set up
- Help set up communication tools used within the organization i.e. Instant Messaging (Google Hangouts or Slack) and virtual conferencing tools (Zoom or Skype)
Planning Out the Initial Week for the New Hire:
To ensure the new hire is set up for success, here are some essential preparations for their first week with the organization while they are working remotely:
- Schedule daily training and meetings for their first week. This is a great way for the new executive to learn about the organization while keeping them informed on:
- Work culture and environment (Including: Who to reach out to for questions? How do teams typically communicate and how often? What are the typical working hours of the team? Etc.)
- Overall business goals, mission, and vision
- Being up to speed on current and on-going projects
- Organizational policies, benefits, and expectations
- Introduce the new hire through virtual ‘meet and greets’:
- Can be done 1 on 1 and/or in groups
- Individual introductions to their direct reports
- Team virtual lunch
- Introduction to other leaders of cross-functional teams
- Introductions to support teams (for example IT, HR etc.)
- Introductions to external key stakeholders (i.e. Agencies, board members etc.)
- Guidelines on where to find online learning resources and shared documents (including file naming conventions and organizing structures)
- Work with the new hire to set some clear and specific goals for the first week(s)
How to Stay Connected and Engaged While Working Remotely with the New Hire:
Here are some remote tools that your organization can use to engage, maintain communication, and share information about the business onboarding the new hire:
- Schedule daily or frequent virtual calls with the team and determine what the expectations are for these calls.
- Include some social interaction – setting some time aside to engage with the team, without a pure focus on discussing work topics
- Create onboarding presentations with visual aids such as virtual tours of the workspace, warehouses, plants, retail outlets, supply chain, etc. to learn, connect and educate the new hire with a better understanding of the organization’s processes
- Provide electronic instructional videos (i.e. step by step guide on using software used by the organization.)
Any organization that creates a clear and concise plan to deliver virtual tools for a smooth onboarding transition demonstrates their ability to adapt and evolve. Setting time to check in with the new executive leader both formally and informally and organizing virtual social sessions (virtual 1 on 1 coffee chats or team lunch) is beneficial for bridging connections, maintaining relationships and adding a sensory (visual) element to the interactions. Lastly, a successful virtual onboarding process reflects well on the organization and sets the stage early on for the new hire to make as valuable a contribution as possible.