New employees want to feel like they’ve made the best possible decision when joining a company.
Unfortunately, relatively few people feel engaged or excited during the onboarding process.
A Gallup poll found that only 12% of workers said their employers handle boarding well, which is a paltry figure when you consider that segment of this demographic was the most excited about their career choice. It all goes back to what we’ve known all along: The best onboarding experiences happen when there is a strong end-to-end process.
Of course, knowing the right way to onboard 1, 10, or 100 people can be challenging. You have so much to say, but you must find a way to say it in a way that’s digestible — and maybe enjoyable — for everyone. Trying to fit essential, beneficial, and position-curated information in a half-day or daylong session can be challenging. And everything becomes particularly hairy when you’re talking about digital employee outreach.
Improving the Digital Employee Experience
The only thing digital employees interact with during onboarding is a computer screen. Digital interactions can quickly become cold and mechanical, and this alienation can leave new hires feeling one step removed from the process — and less likely to connect with the message or messengers.
Keeping the experience warm and engaging while making your digital workers feel supported, necessary, and empowered from day one may take a few extra onboarding steps. Try the following strategies to support and encourage digital employee engagement from your newest staff members.
- Create a sincere, personalized, and deliberate digital welcome message.
Have you ever received an unexpected corporate welcome from a new employer? It’s a great confidence booster when someone is entering a new workplace, and it kick-starts their connection to and adoption of the company’s core values. Ask critical members of your leadership team to record videos for new employees — or ask them to do a live cameo during online training days.
But what if you hire so often that executives can’t provide personalized outreach? Or perhaps you think a message from a local leader, manager, or teammate might be more impactful. Consider asking your strongest employees (your culture builders in the workplace) for assistance! The ultimate goal is to keep it easy and fun for your participants while building a solid relationship with new team members from day one.
Just make sure these videos are personal and geared toward this new role, on that team, in that office. These videos shouldn’t be the same content that you already have on your “our careers” webpage. Give them a personal touch that leaves your newest team members feeling welcome from day one.
- Explore unusual ways to connect with digital employees.
At Integrity Staffing Solutions, we rack our collective brains to provide talent with the best employee onboarding experiences. Due to how important relationship-building translates to success at our company, we pepper remote team members’ first few days with several meet-and-greets and introductions. We may take someone on a virtual office tour so they can feel part of headquarters even if they work remotely.
Are you looking for similar ways to jazz up your virtual onboarding? Ask current workers to collaborate on a witty and shareable “survival handbook” for new hires. The handbook should contain relevant information that’s presented in a humorous way.
By crowdsourcing, you’re allowing current workers to add a little flavor to what might otherwise be a stuffy approach to learning the ropes. Plus, it gives digital newbies an accessible guide to help them make a smoother adjustment to the team.
- Get on the swag train.
Who doesn’t love a little swag? Personalize a gift package filled with company merch as part of the digital employee experience. Alternatively, you could whip up a position-specific “care package” that includes everything new hires need to get through their first few weeks.
How do you know what a worker would like to receive? Find out by sending new hires a “get to know you” form. The form could ask about anything from their favorite color to any must-have snacks or office items that help them through the workday.
Use their answers to curate a gift box to send to their address. This list of questions helps digital employees feel heard even in the earliest days of their tenure with your organization. And don’t forget about the little gestures, too. A breakfast, lunch, or coffee e-gift is always a nice touch!
- Schedule regular check-ins as part of onboarding.
Many organizations treat onboarding as a one-and-done event, but onboarding isn’t isolated. When trying to figure out how to engage employees in a digital workplace, any chance to interact with them is a good one. Therefore, schedule ongoing new-hire check-ins on your calendar.
Connecting with newer team members can reveal any potential red flags. It can also allow you to get valuable feedback on how the onboarding is going and what the employee has appreciated most — or where they might need additional support. Most home-based or virtual team members won’t tell you what they’re thinking without a bit of prompting. Make it simple for them to get you up to speed by contacting them regularly to gather this critical information.
Remote workers can’t be in front of you every day, but they’re still part of your crew and integral to the team’s success. Ensure that they feel like they’re wanted, needed, and distinct from the moment onboarding begins. They’ll be less likely to have buyer’s remorse, and you’ll be able to continue building a sensational brand reputation.
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