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Virtual Employee Onboarding Checklists for Managers

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Head of Marketing & Business & Technology Advisor

Great first impressions go a long way, and as an employee starting at a new company, it is vital to make yours count. That being said, doesn’t the same apply to organizations doing the hiring? Of course! That’s why to help organizations put their best foot forward from the start, we have put together an employee onboarding checklist for managers.

You can take it as-is, but we also provide light nods to Microsoft 365 solutions that can help and a suggested method that leans into Microsoft 365 technologies. With this onboarding checklist template, you’ll be sure to improve employee retention and employee performance, especially in the long term.

It is also imperative to tailor the employee onboarding process for hybrid and remote workers alike, with the increase in both categories. However, this virtual employee onboarding checklist is a great place to start. Wondering about the suggested method we mentioned? Read until the end to learn what it is.

Checklist for the First 3 Stages of Virtual Employee Onboarding

stages of employee onboarding

It is essential to show your new hire the right tools and processes and understand what your company culture is all about, which can also be implemented in the hiring phase. In this employee onboarding checklist, we will help with all of the above and connect some of the dots on how Microsoft 365 can help. After reviewing the checklist, we have added our suggested approach to drive better results.

First stages of employee onboarding
First stage of employee onboarding

Inform the rest of the company about the new hire

  • Ask yourself what the best solution gets the most engagement from your employees and lean on it, or a couple, to deliver the message. With Microsoft 365, you can leverage your intranet through SharePoint or Teams, post to a community in Yammer or channels in Teams, or send an email to your organization through Outlook.
TIP | While a group or community dedicated to new hires might seem logical for any sized organization, it may get lost among your other Teams and channel alerts. So, while larger organization can get away with, as more employees will be hired more regularly, smaller organizations may be better off with a general channel or community. 

Create a structured itinerary for the first couple of weeks. 

  • Organize time for the employee to familiarize themselves with Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and your Intranet (SharePoint).
  • Make sure to include Human Resources and admin meetings and time to fill the related forms. 
  • Schedule it all through Outlook, and it will automatically appear in their Microsoft Teams calendar too.
  • You may also use Planner to structure out tasks they need to accomplish. There you can assign dates, add essential bits of information and communicate directly on a task.

Contact the new hire to communicate the working from home standard and virtual onboarding specifics. 

  • Send them an email with essential links, like your employee handbook and useful links on your website. 
  • Create reusable OneNote tabs for onboarding essentials according to their department/team.
  • Examples of good content to use in your OneNote are links to webinars stored in Microsoft Stream, SharePoint, OneDrive, relevant documents, and common questions.
  • Finally, reiterate that the team looks forward to their arrival.  

Prepare for their first day.

  • Make sure that they have either received their technology or that it is ready for pick up. You can automate the process with Power Automate to let you know that a new account was created by IT in your department and other small tricks to avoid needing to check in as frequently.  
  • Assign the new hire an onboarding buddy that isn’t you for the first few weeks or months. This will allow them to ask questions that might be too shy to ask their manager and get familiar with the rest of the team.
second stage of employee onboarding
Second stage of employee onboarding

Welcome and overview meeting in Microsoft Teams

  • Check out our “Tips for the perfect remote meeting in Microsoft Teams” infographic and feel free to share it with the new hire and your organization.
  • Suggested meetings include Team introduction meeting, virtual team lunch, introduce them to their onboarding buddy that is not you, digital workplace tour (following up on the links you sent them and/or are in the OneNote you created), software tour and function check, and any others that are more specific to your organization. 
third stage of employee onboarding
Third stage of employee onboarding

Clearly communicate how their performance will be reviewed.

TIP | Make sure you allow them room to communicate their perspective and ask questions. 

Outline how they can report feedback about team members or even you.

  • This will help them feel like they can freely communicate their concerns, should they need to.  

One of the meetings within the first two weeks should be to set their goals and expectations.

  • Share critical information about their role and responsibility. 
  • Go through and documents performance goals with them.
TIP | Create reasonable goals for their first month or so, as getting used to a new environment, virtual or not, takes time.

Streamlining the process with onboarding sites

We have made light nods and suggestions throughout this blog to help you through the checklist with Microsoft 365. However, there is a more effective way to streamline the process, and if your organization is going through continuous growth, it’s an ideal time to leverage it. Below are two reasons with examples of why an onboarding site can create a more effective onboarding process.

An example of virtual employee onboarding sites in SharePoint
An example of virtual employee onboarding sites in SharePoint

A consolidated experience

Imagine the impact of sending your new hire a single link to a site that is focused on their onboarding and adoption of your culture and environment; instead of an email with links to various locations and files, such as your intranet and employee manual. By doing this, you can keep the attention of your new hire focused on the onboarding process.

Tailoring the experience

When we say you will keep your employee-focused, it isn’t just because you have provided a dedicated link, it’s that the entire environment is dedicated to the process. The following points outline a couple of ways you can keep your new hire focused, efficient, and engaged with the rest of the organization in a directed way.

Navigating to successful onboarding

Create a path that is clearly represented in the menu.

Virtual Onboarding Site Nav
Virtual Onboarding Site Navigation Example

Same journey, different delivery

For employees who are born to browse, recreate the experience in the page layout. The following are a few examples of the onboarding site sections.

  • Start you onboarding journey

    Virtual Employee Onboarding Site Layout Example 1
  • Wandering a bit, why not reintroduce them to your company and leadership?

    Virtual Employee Onboarding Site Layout Example 2
  • Push them to engage with the rest of the organization. For example, connecting with their assigned mentor or onboarding buddy.

    Virtual Employee Onboarding Site Layout Example 3
  • Have they set up their personal information? Why not make sure they do and make HR happy all-in-one?

    Employee Onboarding Site Layout Example 4
  • Does the new hire have some extra time between meetings? Consuming relevant information is never a bad idea!

    Virtual Employee Onboarding Site Layout Example 5
  • Pepper in some more company engagement opportunities like your internal and external social channels.

    Employee Onboarding Site Layout Example 7
  • Finally, make sure even the greatest born browser finds their way back on track in their scheduled virtual employee onboarding journey.

    Employee Onboarding Site Layout Example 8

Accelerating the onboarding process 

Now that you have your checklist ready, are you looking for ways to accelerate the onboarding experience? Our CTO and Microsoft MVP, Richard Harbridge, will be teaming up with LiveTiles for a webinar on accelerating employee onboarding and your hybrid workplace with Microsoft 365

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