In-person vs Virtual Onboarding: Which is Best for Your Team?

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When the world shifted to remote work in a big way as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost no one could have anticipated the change this would bring. One of the biggest changes happened in onboarding. Now that a growing number of companies around the world are far from complete and businesses are hoping to increase the productivity of new hires, it is important to have an established onboarding process for new employees.

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Whether personal or virtual, entrepreneurs at all levels must think holistically through innovative experiences. No matter what, the path we take should be easy to understand for the new employee. The last thing we want is to leave our new employees anticipating “what’s next”—especially in this new frontier of remote work.

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To build that level of trust and transparency, it’s important to create a comprehensive onboarding plan and know what type of onboarding experience maximizes productivity, advances cross-communication, and helps reduce turnover risk. helps. After all, you wouldn’t want to hire a new hire only to lose them onboarding.

Remote Onboarding vs In-Person Onboarding: A Comparison

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There are several benefits of virtual onboarding for new employees:

Facilitate quick and efficient training Structured training schedules for easy access Opportunities to record training calls Provides a high quality experience that is scalable to the organization

Meanwhile, the benefits of in-person onboarding are also worth mentioning:

Employees gain a better understanding of company culture from the start More opportunities to build relationships with coworkers Ability to approach coworkers to ask additional questions The company is able to physically see how the onboarding process is going

While both remote and in-person onboarding have distinct benefits, they also have distinct challenges. The challenges of a virtual onboarding program may include the following:

Less likely to be turned away from company culture Risk of engagement Fewer opportunities to make connections Difficulty paying attention in every meeting for remote employees Managers may not be ready to virtually go onboard in this relatively new scenario

In-person onboarding also brings with it a number of challenges, including but not limited to:

Potentially less structured training schedules likely to be off topic Frequent interruptionsAn interactive work environment that can also impede productivity

Regardless of the type of onboarding your company has, here are three best practices that ensure new employees feel at home more quickly:

Provide documentation to help new employees understand their roles and expectations; All members of the onboarding process must have access to these documents to aid knowledge sharing. 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals; an organization chart; and a list of vendors and tools they’ll use Schedule regular meetings to check on the status of goals and to see how you can help employees move faster and answer any questions about it How to determine which type of onboarding is right for your business?

By understanding some of the benefits and drawbacks of remote and in-person onboarding, you can figure out what type of onboarding works best for your organization. Here are three ways to choose the right type of onboarding experience:

1. Review on a case-by-case basis.

Deciding which type of onboarding process to use depends largely on the role and what is best for the organization. For example, the onboarding plans for a vendor and a customer service representative may differ significantly. It is important that the plan adequately supports the new hire and aligns with the goals of the company.

2. Create an onboarding process that is training-based.

Each onboarding plan should address what the new hire needs to learn and specifically detail how they should function in their role. What equipment and programs will best support new hire training? Are there ways for the new employee to provide feedback to improve their experience during training? These questions should be answered before the first day of the new hire.

3. Explain what the new hire will require.

A successful in-person or remote onboarding process requires managers and company leaders to set expectations early in the training. More often than not, we hire someone we need right away. As a result, we detail what other employees may need from the new hire immediately. This helps manage expectations and avoids overwhelming new hires in advance.

Contributed to EO by Jim Hefty, Chief Community Officer of Sales Acceleration, who has over 30 years of experience as Vice President of Sales for both F500 and start-up companies.

For more insight and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out more articles from EO and the EO Blog at Inc.



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