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10 Ways to Make Virtual and Hybrid Onboarding a Success

Onboarding can be tough. Here are 10 lessons our Sydney office learned about what it means to make virtual onboarding a success.
8 min read

Updated on September 26, 2022

Published on August 31, 2021

Virtual Onboarding

Organizations around the world are transforming their operations to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce and ensure that all employees can enjoy the same resources, whether they are on-site or remote. This includes offering a completely digital onboarding process for new employees to access from anywhere. 

However, onboarding new employees digitally can present some unique challenges, as organizations need to create a frictionless, informative, and welcoming experience to help recent hires get a solid start in their new roles. 

In fact, our Zoom APAC team has learned a few lessons about what it takes to run a successful onboarding experience for an everywhere workforce as we’ve adjusted to the constantly evolving COVID-19 restrictions. We offered a virtual onboarding for APAC team members to ensure that everyone felt comfortable and could get a great start at Zoom.

Here are 10 lessons our Sydney office learned about what it means to make virtual onboarding a success:

1. Create equity between on-site and remote employees with your meeting spaces 

When you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid onboarding session, it’s important to make everyone feel included and create an atmosphere where participants feel comfortable asking questions and can learn effectively. If your participants attending remotely can’t clearly see and hear the presenter and other participants, it can make them feel as though they are on the outside looking in. 

Configure your presentation space so that both on-site and remote participants can clearly see the presenter as well as each other to create an environment where everyone feels included. You should also make sure that the cameras and microphones in your space adequately cover the area to provide clear audio and video, no matter where you are in the room.

You can also leverage hardware that helps to create this environment automatically. With devices from Neat, such as Neat Symmetry,  you can establish individualized views of in-room participants. This creates a more inclusive and immersive experience for remote participants and takes your onboarding session to the next level!  

Neat Symmetry

2. Ensure you offer language support 

If you’re part of a global organization, some of your new employees may not speak your language or may speak a different language than other employees attending the same onboarding session. It’s critical to involve language transcription during your training sessions.

For onboardings hosted on Zoom, you can leverage Zoom’s Live Transcription feature to empower your employees with access to timely and correct information in their preferred language. During our onboarding sessions for the Sydney office, we offered live transcription in Japanese, Mandarin, and English so everyone could understand, regardless of which region they are from. 

Language support

3. Host ‘get-to-know-you’ breakout sessions

Onboarding sessions aren’t just about sharing information with new hires — they’re also about getting to know your teammates and coworkers! Hosting exercises like ‘get-to-know-you’ sessions are critical to a successful onboarding, as they help break the monotony of the presentation format and give employees a chance to interact in a relaxed atmosphere.

For virtual onboarding sessions on Zoom, you can use our Breakout Rooms feature to break your on-site and remote participants into smaller groups to participate in these exercises. This creates a separate space where employees can engage with each other on a more personal level and begin building those relationships that will be critical in the future. 

4. Inject some fun into learning 

Let’s face it — while the information presented during onboarding is important, hours of presentations and a constant flow of new information can burn anyone out. By gamifying sections of your onboarding session with trivia and other games, you can create a fun and dynamic atmosphere where employees can engage and retain the information more effectively. 

On the Zoom App Marketplace, you can find more than a thousand app integrations for the Zoom platform, including plenty of in-meeting games! You can seamlessly inject some fun into these onboarding sessions with the ability to run these apps and games within your Zoom Meetings, which promotes a fun and informative experience for both on-site and remote participants. 

We also recently launched Zoom Apps, which allows you to bring your favorite apps directly into your onboarding sessions for games, whiteboarding, and much more! And with the ability to share apps directly in your meetings, you can ensure that everyone can participate. 

5. Encourage participation 

Presenting information clearly and effectively during onboarding is important, but it’s also important to engage your new hires by encouraging them to participate in the sessions. Create specific breaks where participants can ask questions or refer back to specific sections of the presentation. 

You can also use Zoom’s in-meeting chat functionality to answer questions live without interrupting the presentation or create a dynamic Q&A session for larger onboarding events hosted on our Zoom Webinars solution. For interactive exercises where participants will be working on documents or other resources, you can also use the Annotation feature to allow them to mark up a document. 

6. Music 

Keeping the energy up in your onboarding sessions can be difficult, especially when you’re presenting hours of dense or detailed information. Playing some music during breaks can help to refresh people’s minds and focus during the next session. 

And just because some of your participants are remote doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy some music as well! Zoom Meetings has a high-fidelity stereo mode for our screen sharing feature which allows you to share music to the meeting without any compression, allowing everyone to jam out. Just make sure you have obtained all the necessary music licenses before sharing out publicly.

7. Lunch is on us!

All that learning and participating during onboarding can work up an appetite, and a catered lunch is one of the hallmarks of a successful and enjoyable session. Providing lunch for your employees not only shows you care, but also helps the group stay focused during the second half of the day. 

You can even bring lunch to the remote participants in your onboarding session. Instead of sending them lunch, set a daily monetary limit of how much they can spend on lunch and have them expense it to the company. This way your remote employees can enjoy a free lunch of their choosing and join in with their on-site coworkers. 

8. Happy hour 

Team building is critical to developing relationships between your new employees, and what better way to bring people together than a happy hour? To create a happy hour for your hybrid onboarding session, simply send all of your participants an invite for an after-work video meeting. Once you’re in the meeting, you can host games, ice-breaker activities, or even just chat with your new employees to get to know them. 

To set that happy hour feel on Zoom, you can use the virtual backgrounds feature to put all of you in the same place, or you can use the filters feature to add some wacky and hilarious effects to your video feed. You can also encourage your happy hour crew to use in-meeting reactions to express themselves when playing games or during activities!

For more examples on how leading organizations are creating informal spaces for engaging with new hires, check out this Harvard Business School article

9. Create a resource library

Onboarding sessions often cover a wide range of information, and it can be difficult for new hires who are unfamiliar with your organization to remember it all. Creating an easily accessible resource library that includes vital information for new hires enables them to find information whenever they need it without the need to ask someone. 

You can also use Zoom’s cloud recording feature to record the onboarding session and send it to your participants to give them the opportunity to review the session whenever they want. Giving your onboarding participants access to other recorded training materials also helps get them up to speed faster. 

10. Create a lasting memory

Once your epic onboarding session is over, it’s time to create a lasting memory for your new employees! There are a number of ways to show your appreciation for your new employees, regardless of where they’re located. You can send them company swag like mugs and T-shirts to commemorate their onboarding experience, or even a ‘welcome to the company’ kit that includes gifts like stickers, notebooks, blankets, or other items. 

To create that perfect memento of their onboarding session, you can use Zoom’s Immersive View feature to get everyone onto the same screen for a virtual group photo, which you can then print and send to each participant. You can also create a Zoom Team Chat channel for new hires where they can go and ask each other questions or just get to know each other better. 

Immersive Scenes

To learn more about managing a hybrid workforce and creating equity between on-site and remote employees, please read our blog about making the shift to a hybrid workforce.

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