It is a well-known phrase “You never get a second chance to make a first good impression” and impressions formed when a new recruit starts work has a lasting effect on how they view their employer. It is important that all businesses small or large should have a well thought out induction plan to enhance early experiences.

It could be argued that onboarding employees pre Covid 19 was a lot easier, or perhaps we were more accustomed to it? A sudden pivot last March to virtual early days created a challenge for companies all over the world who suddenly found themselves scrambling literally overnight to develop an online plan.

While digitalising everything may enable information sharing, companies must be intent about building relationships and helping new recruits get acclimatised to the company. Remote workers may be out of sight, but should remain top of managers’ minds.


  • A companywide welcome announcement over email is a good start on day one.
  • Be flexible with onboarding one size does not fit all and tailor appropriately and spread it across a number of days or weeks.
  • Appoint a buddy to take the new recruit under their wing.
  • Digital platforms such as Zoom, or Microsoft Teams can be invaluable as new recruits can shadow a staff member throughout a workday.
  • Sitting “side-by-side” onscreen, candidates have the opportunity receive training on key job responsibilities.
  • Additional interaction, such as online coffee breaks ensure workers do not feel isolated.
  • Encourage an open-door policy make it part of the company culture to encourage employees to contact managers directly.
  • Out of sight but not out of mind through daily check ins, online chats, and call.

Humans are social beings and there is no doubt we enjoy the opportunity for the water cooler chats and incidental interactions that occur in the normal hustle and bustle of daily work. These experiences are difficult to replicate in the virtual world and the softer side of work life like meeting new colleagues seem to be the hardest part about virtual onboarding. However, during the Covid 19 pandemic employees and employers have learned that despite reduced physical proximity virtual onboarding can make employees feel welcome and instil company culture.

During 2020 we learned about people in a way that would not have been possible before. If anything, engaging in Zoom calls interrupted by a delivery van arrival or a wandering child may help bring staff closer together. After all we bring our whole selves to work and we always have.

If you would like further advice and guidance on any of the issues raised here please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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