Virtual onboarding | How to enhance remote induction

How to enhance remote induction

With increasing use of virtual classrooms as part of induction, some clear themes have emerged for successful online delivery. Here’s how to bring new starters up to speed remotely while helping them feel part of an organisation with a human face.

The last three years have seen a rapid learning curve in what it takes to deliver brilliant online induction programmes for groups of new starters. Now HR and L&D leaders are assessing what has worked well, and reviewing online elements so they are designed and built virtual-first.

Sometimes this is needed just for elements of onboarding, or sometimes a whole programme for a cohort of new joiners.

The happy upsides of virtual

Companies we’ve worked with have been reporting several advantages of using more online delivery.

Often new employees are starting their roles at the same time but in different locations, and using virtual elements gives an easy way to join them together without the inconvenience and cost of travel. Advantages can also include inductees reaching competence faster, lower carbon footprint, more flexibility, less time away from work, and less demand on delivery teams.

In this example, find out how The AA have seen benefits from the successful transformation of their induction programme to virtual-first.

Ingredients for successful delivery

There are some clear themes emerging around best practice for successful remote onboarding. The three ingredients explained below are critical: keeping it human, using time together in the most valuable way, and empowering trainers.

1. Keeping it human

Any virtual delivery needs to be designed for humans! It’s essential to understand how to foster a human-centric, warm environment online, and build social connection around the learning.
This includes:

  • Empathising. How are new starters feeling? What do they need to know in advance to manage expectations?

  • Involving. Reach out and make sure everyone feels included and heard in the virtual environment. It’s important to allow time and space for interaction, and to create psychological safety. Setting the right tone helps achieve this, as well as having different ways to help participants build their confidence, such as using small group interactions in break out rooms.

  • Connecting. Give inductees ways to connect with each other beyond the virtual classroom – such as chat groups etc.

  • Being relatable. Use stories and scenarios to bring concepts to life and to ground them in real human experiences.

2. Using time together in the most valuable way

Bringing people together at the same time is an effort and an investment. That time is incredibly valuable. So it’s best used for interaction rather than information-giving.

Building a learning blend around the virtual classroom is a well-established approach. Well-designed learning activities can be the main way to provide new information and test knowledge before and after the virtual classroom. Then the classroom time is for bringing people together and allows for questions, discussion and exploration of concepts.

3. Empowering the trainers

Training facilitators were forced to make a rapid transition to virtual during the pandemic, often quickly repurposing their course materials. And many had to learn how to use platforms fast, and get comfortable with online delivery.

But now the focus is on helping them bring out their existing expertise in a new way - virtual-first. This involves supporting facilitators to feel empowered to deliver excellent training in virtual classrooms.

Some principles include:

Reassessing length and detail. It’s important for virtual classroom sessions to be designed for optimal learning online, which often means shorter sessions than in-person. Trainers need to be given confidence that this is reflected in adjusted expectations for how much detail is covered in the virtual classroom. Keep things sharp, snappy and memorable!

Experiment. Using tools such as Miro, Padlet, Mural for activities can help facilitators with better interactions. And if they feel empowered to experiment, it gives confidence to try out things that might not work first time.

Whitepaper: 10 ways to enhance remote induction

In our new whitepaper, we share ten ways to make your virtual induction programme a stand-out success. Most of these tips and tactics are transferrable across all types of virtual classroom delivery, so are handy whatever programme you’re planning. Download your free copy: 10 ways to enhance remote induction.

Download the Whitepaper

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