As COVID-19 continues to reshape the recruiting and hiring process, it’s time to find new ways to effectively onboard interns and new hires. Virtual onboarding can be just as engaging as in-person onboarding and is even more important to the success of your internship and new hire programs! Here are a few ways to ensure your onboarding process makes a great first impression for your company.
Before the First Day:
Set Them Up for Success
Once they’ve accepted your offer it’s time to get them excited and prepare them for their first day on the job. Make sure you have their personal information like email, address, and phone number to stay in touch. Send your new hires company swag such as t-shirts, pens, and mugs to welcome them to the team. Send them their employee documents through an online resource library, email or by mail if necessary then instruct them to fill it out before their start date. Finally, send them any equipment they may need while working from home including laptops, monitors, and headsets.
It is also important to make sure you are following up with them on the items you send. For example, once you send them the onboarding paperwork, schedule a video call to walk them through filling the forms out. Remember, many students may not have the experience doing this, so the more you can connect with them during this process the better!
Stay in Touch
Even though your new hire or intern hasn’t started working for you just yet, it’s important to stay in communication to build a relationship and ensure transparency. Inform them of company updates, setbacks, or important changes and give them the chance to ask you questions along the way. Multiple studies have shown that interns and new hires make decisions about their level of commitment to their new employer during the onboarding process. Bottom line – the more you do as an employer during this time to make a connection with your new hire, the more likely it is that they will want to stay long-term.
During the First Week:
Build Workplace Relations
During the first week, set up times for interns and new hires to meet managers and team members by using virtual meeting tools like Zoom, Teams, or GradLeaders Connect technology. In a traditional setting, the new members of your team would be able to see other employees throughout the day and take office tours. In a virtual world, 15-minute welcome introductions with each teammate will help them get familiar with your company.
Provide the chance for employees to share a little bit about what they do, what their experience has been like, how they will be working with the intern or new hire in the future and allow them to ask questions. But most importantly, have existing staff members ask questions of the intern or new hire to help them to feel comfortable and not overwhelmed during the first day.
Introduce Company Policies
Throughout the first week, it’s also important to share your company's policies and establish boundaries. Discuss dress code, punctuality and timekeeping, meal breaks, salary, privacy and classification, and employee conduct. Remember that in many cases your interns and new hires may be new to the professional office experience. Even though they will be working remotely, it is important to set the expectations you expect early and often.
This is the time to introduce your interns and new hires to the technology and software they’ll be using on a day-to-day basis. Give them time to familiarize themselves before really getting to work. It is always a good idea to spend a little extra time with your interns and new hires focusing on technology etiquette and security. Make sure that you illustrate acceptable communication strategies and the importance of keeping data safe.
Develop a Strategic Plan for Success
Both interns and new hires have indicated that the “structure” of the onboarding experience leads to either a positive or a negative experience. In short, the more “structured” your onboarding the better! Create a game plan and task list for your interns and new hires in order to set expectations. Checklists are a great way for new hires and interns to manage their tasks, set priorities and complete their work in a timely manner. The Intern Management System syllabus you to set these expectations virtually and ensure they’re being met.
Continue After Onboarding:
Maintain Clear Communication
Hold regularly scheduled virtual meetings at least once a week to track their progress and ensure they’re meeting their mark. As mentioned before, “structure” of the experience is a critical success factor for the entire intern and new hire experience. Keep up a regularly scheduled call to check in with how they are doing.
This is also a great time to get as much feedback as you can about their experience. Ask your interns and new hires how they think your company is handling the challenges of converting to a virtual program. Seek suggestions on how your company can improve in the future. This will help them to feel valuable to the organization which is a key element of engagement and you will get some great ideas too!
If you are looking for more advice or an easy way to manage internships? Visit manageinterns.com.
To enable comments sign up for a Disqus account and enter your Disqus shortname in the Articulate node settings.