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Adapt Your Onboarding Process to a Virtual Environment

Develop short-term solutions with a long-term outlook to quickly bring in new talent during a pandemic.

  • For many, the WFH arrangement will be temporary, however, the uncertainty around the length of the pandemic makes it hard for organizations to plan long term.
  • As onboarding plans traditionally carry a six- to twelve-month outlook, the uncertainty around how long employees will be working remotely makes it challenging to determine how much of the current onboarding program needs to change. In addition, introducing new technologies to a remote workforce and planning training on how to access and effectively use these technologies is difficult.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a virtual environment many organizations were not prepared for.
  • Focusing on critical parts of the onboarding process and leveraging current technology allows organizations to quickly adapt to the uncertainty and constant change.

Impact and Result

  • Organizations need to assess their existing onboarding process and identify the parts that are critical.
  • Using the technology currently available, organizations must adapt onboarding to a virtual environment.
  • Develop a plan to re-assess and update the onboarding program according to the duration of the situation.

Adapt Your Onboarding Process to a Virtual Environment Research & Tools

1. Assess current onboarding processes

Map the current onboarding process and identify the challenges to a virtual approach.

2. Modify onboarding activities

Determine how existing onboarding activities can be modified for a virtual environment.

3. Launch the virtual onboarding process and plan to re-assess

Finalize the virtual onboarding process and create an action plan. Continue to re-assess and iterate over time.

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Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 6 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Assess current onboarding processes
  • Call #1 - Examine a map of the activities that make up the current onboarding process and examine current state of virtual technology.
  • Call #2 - Review challenges to adapting onboarding activities to a virtual environment.

Guided Implementation #2 - Modify onboarding activities
  • Call #1 - Review the Virtual Onboarding Ideas Catalog to brainstorm solutions to identified challenges.
  • Call #2 - Determine short-term virtual training and development priorities with an emphasis on organizational and departmental training.

Guided Implementation #3 - Launch the virtual onboarding process and plan to re-assess
  • Call #1 - Review stakeholder responsibilities as described in customized HR and manager guides.
  • Call #2 - Prepare to launch the process by completing the action plan and sharing the virtual onboarding schedule with managers.


Jennifer Waxman

William Howard

Camille Galindez

Talia Speigel

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