Shifting to virtual: 3 tips for onboarding new hires virtually

Sep 3, 2020 | Culture and Engagement, Performance Management, Training and Development

We have had to quickly adapt to the new reality of shifting our human resources practices virtually. As an HR consultant working with small to mid-sized businesses across industries, what stands out is that all businesses are looking ahead at their upcoming recruits and new hires, and determining how best to adapt existing onboarding practices to welcome new team members remotely.


First impressions are everything! Onboarding is an integral part of the employee life cycle where we welcome new team members and provide them with a memorable and valuable experience on the onset of their journey within our organizations.


Are you ready to pivot and adjust your onboarding to welcome new hires virtually? Let’s explore three tips on how to successfully onboard fully remote team members during their first week.


Training Schedule


Providing your new recruits with structure on what to expect in the coming days and weeks is a best practice, especially for virtual teams. It provides your new hire with a clearer picture of their role, the organization and the team.


  • Work with your existing team members to build a structured and tailored new hire schedule, including daily virtual meetings and allotted time slots capturing who to meet and what will be reviewed.
  • Send an electronic copy of this schedule in advance of the new hires’ first day or pre-populate their calendar, demonstrating that your organization has invested the time, energy and resources in advance to set them up for success.
  • Provide contact information for key stakeholders involved in the onboarding and training of your new hire, including names, departments/practice areas, contact information.
  • Block off “free” time for the new hire to settle in, taking the time needed to review documentation and training materials and get accustomed to their new role.


Meet and Greets



During the first day and week, new hires are beginning to establish connections with their team and fellow colleagues. To welcome our new hires and help them build relationships with others, organizations can encourage virtual one-on-one introductions or meet and greets. These introductions will help your new hire integrate faster into their role, the organization and the team.


  • Set-up some initial meet and greets for 30 to 60 minutes with key stakeholders, incorporating these meetings into their training schedule.
  • Encourage new hires to set up 30-minute virtual calls with team members during their first week and month, emphasizing the importance of getting to know their colleagues and taking ownership of their personal onboarding experience.
  • Complete an organizational chart of who’s who in the organization, helping your new hire set up meet and greets with the right people.




A sink-or-swim approach to onboarding will do more harm than good. Beyond welcoming your new hires to the organization, it’s important to support them to start strong and hit the ground running. Check-ins serve as an opportunity to assess and guide your new hire, ensuring they stay on track to success.


  • Pair up a buddy for the new hire, providing them with a direct go-to person to help them adjust and ramp up quickly.
  • Set-up daily multiple check-ins, assessing their onboarding experience and adjusting training or additional support when needed.
  • Empower new hires to readily and frequently reach out to their buddies, mentors, supervisors and managers with questions, allowing team members to get the support they need during these crucial first week(s).


Our priority is to hire top talent and our responsibility is to ensure that the virtual onboarding of new hires is effective, ultimately setting them up for success as a productive member of our company and team.


This article was originally published for The Canadian Accountant



Need help with your onboarding practices? Need to streamline your onboarding of new hires? Contact us … we’d love to help.




Email: [email protected]

Sofia Arisheh

We are here to help!

Receive HR insights right in your inbox.