Virtual Onboarding: 3 Common Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the corporate culture-shift towards remote working.  As the market recovers and you begin hiring again, you may face the challenge of virtual onboarding.

How do you welcome a new team member into your company without physically being there to implement the process the way you normally would?

There are mistakes that can be made that could scare a new hire off – but research conducted by Glassdoor shows that a negative onboarding experience makes new hires twice more likely to search for a new job! The onboarding process is critical.

Here are 3 common mistakes made during virtual onboarding and how to avoid them:

IT Set-Up

Mistake: Digital equipment is collected or delivered to the new hire and they can’t get started due to software issues or not having everything they need.


  • Plan ahead. A remote IT set-up requires more diligent planning but is well worth the time investment for both you and your new hire.  Send their equipment to the IT department first for full set-up and activation, then have it forwarded to your newbie with full access to what they need to get started.  Do they need any accessories such as a wireless mouse, a microphone, etc? Create an equipment checklist to work from.
  • Is navigation to any shared drives or documents complicated? Consider sending a tutorial for this.
  • Do you have a HR portal where payroll information, annual leave inputs, company benefits etc are stored? Consider arranging for a HR advisor to give your new hire a call and explain the features.

Meeting The Team

Mistake: You send your new starter an org chart, a list of key contacts and assure them that they’ll ‘meet Colleague XYZ at some point.’  It’s nowhere near good enough.


  • Possibly the most important task you can do is arrange a well-organised videoconference with the team as soon as possible, so your new hire gets the virtual experience of the ‘office tour’ and can put faces to names.
  • Pair them up with a mentor who has a track record of championing your company’s culture. They can stay in touch with them at various times of the day for guidance and support.
  • Don’t discount the value of social time outside of work; organising a weekly virtual ‘pub quiz’ outside of office hours is a simple and fun way for your newbie to break the ice with their colleagues.

Setting Expectations

Mistake: You hired your new team member because you’re confident they’re the best person for the role and they know how to do the job.  But they don’t know how you expect them to do it.

  • Fixes: Clearly communicate how you monitor output. You won’t have the luxury of regular, face-to-face ‘check-ins’ in the office, so a key conversation needs to occur where you outline your expectations.  A video chat about this on the first day is a solid way to start but follow up any key points with written communication so your hire has something to refer back to.
  • Send your new hire an onboarding schedule for their first month, so they know their expected line of trajectory.
  • Consider a daily, end-of-day call to touch base with your new starter in their first week, then go with a weekly schedule from there. Use these calls as an opportunity to verify that they are understanding your expectations; seek reinforcement via repetition.

Virtual Onboarding Is The New Frontier

For many tech companies, virtual onboarding is the norm and they’ve grown to be very good at it.  In the property and facilities management sectors, it’s a relatively new concept that can be intimidating for hiring managers with no experience of it.  Virtual onboarding can also cost your business time and money if it’s done poorly.

Implement the above strategies to make sure you’re giving your new hire the best possible introduction to your company; remember, however difficult you think virtual onboarding is for you, it’s even harder for them!

Got any tips or hacks on how a business can handle virtual onboarding as smoothly as possible? Share your thoughts with us!

Candidates looking for virtual interview tips, click here

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