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Digital Onboarding Guide for Small Businesses

Blog PostsOnboarding & Offboarding

Digital Onboarding Guide for Small Businesses

Read Time: 7 minutes Published: May 6, 2022

In a competitive market for talent, effectively onboarding new employees is more important than ever before. However, with the recent shift toward remote and hybrid work, it can also be more challenging to welcome new hires to your team. Onboarding processes that rely heavily on in-person interactions and paper-based forms are quickly becoming obsolete. This is where digital onboarding comes in. 

Digital onboarding delivers a consistent experience for all new hires, and streamlines the work involved for People Teams. Despite the many benefits of digital onboarding, many businesses still use manual processes and legacy systems when inducting new hires. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about implementing a more efficient digital onboarding process. 

What is Digital Employee Onboarding? 

Digital employee onboarding refers to the process of leveraging digital solutions and technology to introduce new hires to your organization and its processes. It enables organizations to deliver efficient, cost-effective employee onboarding through clear organizational workflows and centralized access to all information. 

The 8 Steps of a Digital Onboarding Process

After finding the perfect candidate to join your team, your digital onboarding process should encompass the following steps to set them up for success.

1. Pre-boarding Welcome 

Your digital onboarding should begin with a welcome email confirming the new employee’s start date, time, and location. This should also include an automated request for all paperwork and details that the new hire should submit in advance of their first day. 

2. Ship All Pre-onboarding Resources and Employee Swag 

Before a new employee’s first day, introduce them to your organizational culture by sending company swag, helpful videos, and other necessary resources. This will ease any new job jitters, and make them feel confident before beginning their new role. As part of an established digital onboarding process, this step can be easily automated. 

3. Send a Remote Welcome Package 

For remote employees, send a virtual welcome package that includes a lunch delivery gift card to enjoy with their new team. By including this in your remote digital onboarding, you’ll help to replicate the in-office welcome experience. 

4. Set Up Employee Access 

For remote workers, your digital onboarding should include VPN access to your network. You should also provide access to their email account, collaboration tools, video-conferencing, user logins, and other resources on day one. Digital onboarding allows for streamlined configuration of these profiles.  

5. Schedule Virtual Introductions 

Set up introductory calls between the new hire, department heads, and other team members. Your digital onboarding process should also include a step for announcing new hires to existing employees so they are aware of any team changes. 

6. Schedule Training 

Set up virtual or in-office training sessions that enlighten employees on what is expected of them in their new role, and educate them on company policies that they should heed when undertaking their tasks. This training should also cover usage policies for all technology, devices, and systems. 

7. Schedule Team-Building Sessions 

Relationships matter. Scheduling team-building sessions that engage both new hires and existing employees deepens the bonds between team members. In a digital environment, these sessions can be even more important to help new hires get comfortable and ensure they hit the ground running. 

8. Create a 30/60/90 Day Onboarding Plan 

Coordinate with relevant managers to create a 30/60/90-day plan with frequent check-ins over video calls where applicable. Given that digital onboarding is a relatively new concept, your business should encourage two-way feedback and incorporate any employee suggestions into future onboarding changes. 

How to Create the Best Digital Onboarding Experience 

To ensure new employees have the best possible digital onboarding experience, make sure to keep the following points in mind. 

1. Include Pre-Boarding in your Digital Onboarding Process 

The first step on your onboarding checklist should be pre-boarding. Pre-boarding can help ease any worries that new hires may have as their first day of work approaches. Pre-boarding may involve sending a welcome email or message, offering company swag, or reaching out to the new hires via Zoom. It may also involve sending the new hires important documents such as culture decks, employee handbooks, and your organization’s mission statement. 

2. Ensure That New Hires Have Necessary Equipment 

Identifying the relevant equipment for each new hire and provisioning it accordingly is critical to your digital onboarding process. Failing to provide adequate equipment and system access on a new employee’s first day can make a poor first impression, and prevents them from completing many other aspects of the onboarding process.  

3. Establish a Clear Training Plan 

Create a solid training plan that can help your new employees stay on target and develop the skills they’ll need to be successful in their new roles. This means that the training program should be job-specific. What’s more, you should set clear expectations for progress at the start of the training process. When employees have a clear roadmap of what is expected of them, they will be better positioned to gauge their progress and make adjustments where necessary. 

4. Assign the New Employees a “Buddy” 

New employees benefit greatly from having a dedicated resource to help them navigate their first days and weeks. You should assign a more experienced employee to mentor and guide the new hire through the onboarding process, and schedule regular virtual check-ins if the employees involved are working remotely. 

5. Manage Change 

Ensure that you communicate with the rest of your team about your hiring updates. When you keep your existing team informed of new roles, responsibilities, and hierarchies, they are more likely to embrace change and create a positive environment for new team members. 

6. Make Use of Automation 

When onboarding relies on manual processes, crucial steps can be easily forgotten. Whether it’s skipping a training module or missing a document, mistakes during the onboarding process can have a significant impact on the employee. The beauty of digital onboarding is that it automates many of these important tasks and ensures all pertinent information is stored securely.  

7. Schedule Regular Feedback Sessions 

Whether the new hire will be working from the office or remotely, it’s essential to check in with them regularly. Schedule sessions between them and their team members, supervisors, and other key players in their development. Additionally, you should encourage them to ask questions and provide feedback during these sessions. 

Benefits of Digital Onboarding Solutions 

If you’re on the lookout for a digital onboarding solution, keep an eye out for features that will make your job easier. At Electric, we offer an easy-to-use onboarding solution that includes all of the key benefits, including:

  • Simplified requests: With Electric, you can initiate the onboarding process through standardized forms that ensure consistency across all requests. Settings are customized to your organization’s unique needs, all you need to do is select the appropriate employee profile and we’ll take care of the rest. 
  • Device procurement and provisioning: One of the digital onboarding benefits of using Electric is getting rid of the manual procuring and provisioning process for devices. Electric ensures  every new hire can access the business systems they need, and sets them up with a device delivered directly to them, wherever they are. 
  • Centralized tracking and management: Manually tracking the progress of all employees in various stages of your onboarding process can lead to confusion and errors. Electric’s digital onboarding benefits provide a centralized view of the history and status of all onboarding requests.

Are you ready to modernize your digital onboarding process? Electric can help streamline your workload and improve the new employee experience. Contact us today to learn more.

Jessica Farrelly

Jessica is a content writer with more than 8 years of experience covering SaaS and the tech industry. She has worked with both B2B and B2C publications across North America, Europe, and APAC and currently writes about IT Solutions or Electric.

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