CEO and corporate trainer David Brownlee is back to share some ideas on virtual onboarding, so you can help new employees be comfortable and successful right from the beginning, without ever stepping foot in the office.
(upbeat music) - As a manager when you onboard new employees, you're not only responsible for introducing them to the company and getting them up to speed on the role. You're also in charge of helping them make that transition onto your team. And this includes making them feel like they're a part of it, that they have connections or someone to go to when they have questions. But when this is happening remotely, it's a completely different playing field. Hi, I'm Kelly Ruda with LinkedIn Learning, and CEO and Corporate Trainer David Brownlee is back to share some ideas on virtual onboarding so that you can help new employees feel comfortable and successful right from the beginning without maybe ever stepping foot in the office. Welcome, David. - Hi, thanks for having me. Yes, onboarding has changed dramatically just in the last few months. As we all know, we had onboarding before where it was in person, right? We had live training classes, we had some online training, you had one-on-ones in your office. And things have completely changed. Now we have virtual onboarding, right, where we have to hit a couple different steps to make sure that that person who's onboarding is feeling like they're part of the culture, right, and they know their expectations and they're getting the skills that they need to do their job well. - Yeah, you said a couple different steps. What are the steps that you're alluding to? - Yeah, so the first thing is the documentation needs to be clear and concise. And I think it's been very revealing to a lot of businesses that hey, our procedures for onboarding can be more clear and concise, right? And you know, because managers could do it kind of on the fly, right? And so they could have a conversation with the employee and they train them up, right? So now, if somebody is working remotely, they need to be able to access that information. They need clear expectations. What is expected during this onboarding process? Especially that first 60 to 90 days, right? They need the proper resources. They need thoughtful and consistent communication, right, because they are going to have questions that come up. And as a manager, it might feel like in the beginning that hey, it's taking a little more time than normal. But it's crucial right now because we want them to build their confidence so that they can be great employees for you. - Yes, absolutely. So do you have any examples of clients or friends that have gone through this that are doing a good job? - Yeah, I've got a buddy of mine who works for a company in Silicon Valley, and they have over 1,200 employees that are working remotely. And so virtual onboarding is something that is essential to the success of that company. And what he shared with me was that every single piece that operates within that business is very detailed and accessible to new hires, right? And everything is very transparent. So they've got minutes that they can take a look at. They've got all the different resources that they need. So any question that they have, they have documented. And they, he tells me that they can ramp up faster and better than in traditional work settings, as well. - I bet, especially with all that documentation. It's so nice to be able to have a question and be able to look it up. But I keep on thinking, you know, for new employees there's a lot of anxiety. There's a lot of that kind of connecting with your neighbor. You don't know anyone when you're remote, probably. Maybe you know one or two people. How can the manager facilitate making that more comfortable? - You know, that's a great question because there is that level of anxiety when you start a new job anyway. And if you're getting onboarded virtually, then that anxiety is even higher. So it's up to the manager to introduce that new hire to all the different people on the team, different people who are in the company. So for example, if you have a need for sales, you know, now you know some people in the sales department. There's that social aspect, as well, so you can get creative that way. Virtual coffees, virtual lunches, especially during that, like I say, that first 60 to 90 days. That's a crucial time that you want that employee to feel comfortable. And then you want them to have the skills that they need, as well. So online training, Zoom trainings, those types of things to really get them onboarded. And then there's something that a friend of mine, that friend that I used in that example, they use something called a virtual onboarding buddy. And that's somebody that they can go to and they can ping throughout the day and they will respond, right, with an answer. Because those are the things that you don't want your employee to get too hung up on. - I love what you said about an onboarding buddy. I feel like that's a game changer for someone that's new to have someone that's not your supervisor that you're able to go to and ask questions. It's fantastic. Is this something that's pretty common, or is this something that you've only seen in a couple of different companies? - Yeah, it's something that a lot of companies would do when we're all in the office together, right? Because you have somebody shadowing somebody. You may have heard that. But now, it's like okay, so how do we do that? So having somebody that you can just ping with a question is very important. So for example, I've got a client. They're a freight company and they do a lot of logistics for grocery. So they've seen a huge uptake in their business and they've had to hire people. But the only problem is they're normally in a room together and logistics is very detailed, and they can just talk to each other, right? But now that they're doing virtual onboarding, they need somebody that they can communicate with, right? And so the very first thing that we did was we took the manual, we dusted it off, and we added some procedures, we changed some things, added some technology and the training on how to use that technology. And they're doing virtual happy hours, now, as well, so they can get to know each other. And they even do family play dates for those employees with kids so they can get on a Zoom call with their kids and they're building Legos and stuff. So we just have to get creative. The foundations are the same. We just have to get creative in how we deliver. - That's a great idea to have the family thing, 'cause that's one thing I've kind of heard as a theme from people that are working remotely, is that as soon as kids come in, it breaks down the walls and all of the sudden it's a human connection. So when I can't, if I'm a brand new employee and I can't run into someone just grabbing a coffee or something in a break room, then what a great way to immediately break down those walls and make that first month go oh, all these people are people, too. - Yes, absolutely. And what happens is as long as the manager is reinstilling what that company's core values are, what are the mission, what is the mission of that company, and really reminding everybody on the team of that core mission and those core values, right, so now everybody's together still working for the greater good. And when somebody new comes in and they're virtually onboarded, they can still feel that sense of community and that sense of hey, this is what this company culture's like, right? And so that, I think that's very important for them to remember. - For sure. Well David, thanks so much for sharing your perspective on this and really kind of offering guidelines for us as we move forward with our companies. - Great, thanks for having me. - And thank you for being here with us as we consider how to effectively transition to virtual onboarding, as we reinvent work together.
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