Skip to content

Day Off

Virtual Onboarding Best practices

A person participating in a virtual meeting, visible from behind and clapping their hands. The monitor displays a video conference with four colleagues in different locations, each in their own video frame. The room is dimly lit with a desk lamp illuminating the workspace, creating a cozy and focused atmosphere.

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the traditional office environment is giving way to remote work, driven by advancements in technology and the recent global pandemic. As a result, virtual onboarding has become a critical process for organizations to integrate new employees seamlessly into their culture and operations. Effective virtual onboarding ensures that new hires feel welcomed, supported, and equipped to perform their roles efficiently. This comprehensive guide outlines best practices for virtual onboarding, offering detailed explanations and actionable steps for organizations to follow.

1. Pre-Onboarding Preparation

Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan: Before the new hire’s start date, create a detailed onboarding plan that outlines the entire process, including key milestones, training schedules, and introductions to team members. This plan should be shared with the new hire in advance to set clear expectations.

Prepare Digital Resources: Ensure all necessary digital resources are prepared and accessible. This includes onboarding documents, company policies, training materials, and access to necessary software and tools. Use a centralized platform like an intranet or a shared drive to store these resources.

Set Up IT Equipment: Arrange for the delivery of IT equipment, such as laptops, monitors, and peripherals, well in advance. Include a detailed guide on setting up and troubleshooting the equipment and provide contact information for IT support to assist with any technical issues.

2. Engaging First Day

Welcome Package: Send a virtual welcome package that includes a welcome letter, company swag, and an introduction to the team. Personal touches, like a handwritten note from the hiring manager or a welcome video from the CEO, can make a significant impact.

Virtual Orientation Session: Organize a virtual orientation session to introduce the new hire to the company’s mission, values, and culture. This session should also cover the organizational structure, key policies, and an overview of the onboarding process.

Team Introductions: Facilitate introductions with team members through video calls. Schedule one-on-one meetings with key colleagues to help the new hire understand team dynamics and build relationships from the outset.

3. Structured Training

Develop a Structured Training Program: Create a structured training program that includes both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) sessions. This should cover job-specific training, company systems, and soft skills development. Provide a mix of self-paced learning and scheduled training sessions to accommodate different learning styles.

Use Interactive Training Tools: Leverage interactive training tools like virtual whiteboards, quizzes, and simulations to engage new hires and enhance learning. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and interactive LMS (Learning Management Systems) can facilitate this process.

Regular Check-Ins and Feedback: Schedule regular check-ins with the new hire to monitor their progress and address any concerns. These check-ins should be conducted by the hiring manager or a dedicated onboarding buddy. Provide constructive feedback and recognize achievements to keep the new hire motivated.

4. Building Company Culture Virtually

Virtual Team-Building Activities: Organize virtual team-building activities to foster camaraderie and integrate the new hire into the team. Activities such as virtual happy hours, online games, and team challenges can help build a sense of belonging.

Encourage Social Interaction: Create opportunities for social interaction outside of formal meetings. Encourage team members to connect through virtual coffee breaks, chat channels, or interest-based groups. Platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams can facilitate these informal interactions.

Promote a Culture of Inclusion: Ensure that the virtual onboarding process promotes a culture of inclusion and diversity. Highlight the company’s commitment to these values and provide training on unconscious bias and inclusive practices.

5. Performance Tracking and Continuous Improvement

Set Clear Expectations and Goals: Define clear performance expectations and goals for the new hire. Provide them with a detailed job description, key performance indicators (KPIs), and a timeline for achieving these goals. Regularly review and adjust these goals as needed.

Utilize Performance Management Tools: Use performance management tools to track the new hire’s progress and provide regular feedback. Tools like 15Five, Lattice, or BambooHR can help streamline this process and ensure that performance reviews are conducted effectively.

Solicit Feedback on the Onboarding Process: Gather feedback from the new hire on their onboarding experience. Use surveys, one-on-one interviews, or focus groups to identify areas for improvement. Continuously refine the onboarding process based on this feedback to enhance future onboarding experiences.

6. Long-Term Integration and Support

Ongoing Training and Development: Provide opportunities for ongoing training and development. Offer access to online courses, webinars, and professional development programs. Encourage the new hire to take advantage of these resources to continue growing their skills.

Mentorship Programs: Establish a mentorship program to provide new hires with guidance and support from experienced employees. A mentor can help navigate the company culture, provide career advice, and act as a sounding board for any challenges the new hire may face.

Regular Engagement and Check-Ins: Maintain regular engagement with the new hire beyond the initial onboarding period. Schedule quarterly check-ins to discuss career progression, additional training needs, and overall job satisfaction. These check-ins can help identify potential issues early and provide ongoing support.

Virtual Onboarding Materials

Creating comprehensive onboarding materials is essential for ensuring new hires have all the information and resources they need to succeed from day one. Effective onboarding materials should be clear, organized, and easily accessible. Here’s a detailed guide to creating these materials:

Welcome Packet

Welcome Letter A personalized letter from the CEO or hiring manager welcoming the new hire to the company can set a positive tone. It should include an overview of the company’s mission, values, and vision, along with an expression of enthusiasm for the new hire joining the team.

Company Swag To create a sense of belonging and excitement, include branded items such as T-shirts, mugs, notebooks, pens, and other promotional items.

Organizational Overview

Company Handbook Provide comprehensive information about company policies, procedures, and benefits. This should cover details on company culture, organizational structure, code of conduct, dress code, work hours, holidays, leave policies, and health benefits.

Organizational Chart Help new hires understand the company’s hierarchy and reporting structure with a visual representation of departments and key personnel, including contact information.

Job-Specific Information

Job Description Clarify roles and responsibilities with a detailed description of job duties, performance expectations, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Team Introductions Facilitate early relationship building by including brief bios and photos of team members, their roles, contact information, and a personal welcome message.

IT and Systems Access

IT Equipment Setup Guide Ensure new hires can set up their workstations efficiently with step-by-step instructions for setting up computers, software, and peripherals, along with IT support contact details.

Software and Tools Access Provide access to necessary digital tools, including a list of software and tools, login credentials, user guides, and tutorials.

Training Materials

Training Schedule Outline training sessions and timelines with a calendar that includes dates, times, topics, and trainers.

Training Manuals and Videos Facilitate learning of job-specific skills and company systems with written manuals, video tutorials, and interactive e-learning modules.

Compliance Training Ensure adherence to legal and company-specific regulations with courses on data privacy, workplace safety, anti-harassment policies, and industry-specific compliance.

Communication and Collaboration Tools

Communication Guidelines Set expectations for communication with preferred communication channels (e.g., email, Slack, Microsoft Teams), response time expectations, and meeting etiquette.

Collaboration Tools Access Enable teamwork and project management with access details and guides for collaboration tools like project management software (e.g., Asana, Trello), document sharing platforms (e.g., Google Drive, SharePoint), and video conferencing tools (e.g., Zoom, Teams).

Performance and Development

Performance Review Process Clarify how performance will be assessed with information on performance review cycles, feedback mechanisms, and goal-setting processes.

Professional Development Resources Encourage continuous learning with access to online courses, certifications, webinars, and industry conferences.

Cultural Integration

Company Culture Overview Help new hires understand the company’s ethos with information on company values, traditions, social activities, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Social Interaction Opportunities Facilitate social bonding with information about virtual social events, interest groups, and team-building activities.

Feedback Mechanisms

Onboarding Feedback Surveys Gather insights to improve the onboarding process with surveys to collect feedback on the onboarding experience, including what worked well and areas for improvement.

Regular Check-Ins Monitor new hire’s integration and satisfaction with scheduled meetings with the hiring manager or HR to discuss progress, answer questions, and address any concerns.

Resource Directory

Contact List Provide quick access to key contacts with a list of important contacts, including HR, IT support, team members, and office administrators, with phone numbers and email addresses.

Useful Links Provide easy access to essential resources with links to the company’s intranet, knowledge base, HR portal, and other frequently used platforms.

Example virtual onboarding schedule

Pre-Start Preparation

Week Before Start Date:

  • IT Equipment Delivery: Ensure the new hire receives all necessary hardware (laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse, headset) with setup instructions.
  • Account Setup: Create email and other necessary accounts, set up software licenses, and configure access to all required tools.
  • Welcome Packet: Send a welcome packet via email, including a welcome letter, company swag, digital copies of the company handbook, and organizational chart.

Day 1: Welcome and Orientation

  • 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM: Welcome Meeting

Activity: A brief video call with the hiring manager and HR to welcome the new hire.

Purpose: Introduce the new hire to the company, outline the day’s schedule, and address any immediate questions.

  • 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM: IT Setup Support

Activity: Virtual meeting with IT support to assist with any technical setup issues.

Purpose: Ensure the new hire’s workstation is fully operational.

  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Company Orientation

Activity: Live webinar covering the company’s mission, values, culture, and organizational structure.

Purpose: Provide a comprehensive overview of the company.

  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch Break
  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Team Introductions

Activity: Virtual meet-and-greet with the immediate team via video call.

Purpose: Help the new hire get to know their colleagues and understand team dynamics.

  • 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Role-Specific Overview

Activity: Meeting with the hiring manager to discuss job responsibilities, expectations, and initial projects.

Purpose: Clarify the new hire’s role and immediate tasks.

  • 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Self-Paced Learning

Activity: Access to the company’s learning management system (LMS) to review initial training materials.

Purpose: Begin familiarization with job-specific tools and processes.

Day 2: Tools and Processes

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: IT Systems Training

Activity: Live training session on using the company’s IT systems, including email, VPN, and communication tools.

Purpose: Ensure the new hire can navigate essential IT systems.

  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Software and Tools Access

Activity: Guided tour of the software and tools required for the job, including hands-on practice.

Purpose: Provide practical experience with necessary tools.

  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch Break
  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Compliance Training

Activity: Online training session covering company policies, data privacy, and workplace safety.

Purpose: Ensure compliance with legal and company-specific regulations.

  • 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Collaboration Tools Workshop

Activity: Interactive workshop on using collaboration tools like Asana, Trello, and Google Drive.

Purpose: Enhance teamwork and project management skills.

  • 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Self-Paced Learning

Activity: Continue with self-paced learning modules related to the role.

Purpose: Deepen understanding of job-specific tools and responsibilities.

Day 3: Culture and Integration

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Company Culture Overview

Activity: Live session on company values, traditions, and social activities.

Purpose: Help the new hire understand the company’s ethos.

  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Meet with Department Heads

Activity: Virtual meetings with heads of different departments to gain a broader perspective of the company.

Purpose: Provide insight into how various departments function and interconnect.

  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch Break
  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Diversity and Inclusion Training

Activity: Training session focused on the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Purpose: Promote an inclusive workplace culture.

  • 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Virtual Team Building Activity

Activity: Engage in a fun virtual team-building exercise.

Purpose: Foster camaraderie and team bonding.

  • 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Self-Paced Learning

Activity: Continue with self-paced learning modules.

Purpose: Further familiarize the new hire with their role and responsibilities.

Day 4: Role-Specific Training

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Deep Dive into Job Responsibilities

Activity: Detailed discussion with the hiring manager about specific job duties and expectations.

Purpose: Ensure clarity on daily tasks and performance metrics.

  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Shadowing Sessions

Activity: Virtual shadowing of team members to see day-to-day operations.

Purpose: Provide real-world context to job duties.

  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch Break
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Project Kickoff Meeting

Activity: Meeting to discuss initial projects and set goals.

Purpose: Start the new hire on their first assignments.

  • 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Self-Paced Learning

Activity: Continue with self-paced learning modules.

Purpose: Consolidate understanding of role-specific tools and processes.

Day 5: Review and Wrap-Up

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Performance Goals Setting

Activity: Meeting with the hiring manager to set short-term and long-term performance goals.

Purpose: Establish clear objectives and expectations.

  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Feedback Session

Activity: Gather feedback from the new hire on their onboarding experience.

Purpose: Identify areas for improvement and ensure the new hire feels supported.

  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: HR Policies Review

Activity: Review of key HR policies and benefits.

Purpose: Ensure the new hire understands all HR-related matters.

  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch Break
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Continued Learning and Development

Activity: Access additional training resources and professional development materials.

Purpose: Encourage continuous learning and growth.

  • 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Final Team Meeting

Activity: Virtual meeting with the team to wrap up the week and discuss the next steps.

Purpose: Reinforce team connection and outline upcoming tasks.

  • 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Onboarding Wrap-Up

Activity: Final wrap-up session with HR and the hiring manager.

Purpose: Address any remaining questions and confirm the new hire’s readiness to start their regular work schedule.

Communication Tools

Email Clients:

  • Microsoft Outlook, Gmail – Facilitate professional email communication, schedule meetings, and manage tasks.

Instant Messaging:

  • Slack, Microsoft Teams – Enable real-time communication, file sharing, and collaboration within teams and across the organization.

Video Conferencing:

  • Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet – Host virtual meetings, webinars, and training sessions with features like screen sharing, breakout rooms, and recording capabilities.

Collaboration Tools

Project Management:

  • Asana, Trello, – Manage projects, assign tasks, track progress, and collaborate on project timelines and deliverables.

Document Sharing:

  • Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox – Store, share, and collaborate on documents and files in real-time, with version control and access management.

Virtual Whiteboards:

  • Miro, MURAL, Jamboard – Facilitate brainstorming sessions, collaborative planning, and visual project management.

Training and Development Tools

Learning Management Systems (LMS):

  • Moodle, TalentLMS, Coursera for Business – Deliver and track training programs, courses, and certifications with features like quizzes, interactive content, and progress tracking.

Interactive Training Tools:

  • Kahoot!, Quizlet, Articulate 360 – Create engaging and interactive training modules, quizzes, and simulations to enhance learning experiences.

E-Learning Platforms:

  • LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Pluralsight – Provide access to a wide range of online courses and professional development resources.

IT and Systems Access Tools

Remote Desktop Software:

  • TeamViewer, AnyDesk, RemotePC – Allow IT support to remotely access and troubleshoot new hires’ computers, ensuring smooth setup and problem resolution.

Virtual Private Network (VPN):

  • NordVPN, Cisco AnyConnect, OpenVPN – Securely connect new hires to the company network and protect sensitive data during remote access.

Password Management:

  • LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane – Manage and securely store passwords for various accounts and tools used by new hires.

Feedback and Performance Tools

Survey Tools:

  • SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google Forms – Collect feedback from new hires on their onboarding experience, training sessions, and overall satisfaction.

Performance Management Systems:

  • 15Five, Lattice, BambooHR – Track employee performance, set goals, provide regular feedback, and conduct performance reviews.

Recognition Tools:

  • Bonusly, Achievers, Kudos – Recognize and reward employees for their achievements and contributions, fostering a positive and motivating work environment.

HR and Administrative Tools

HR Information Systems (HRIS):

  • Workday, ADP, BambooHR – Manage employee data, payroll, benefits, and compliance, streamlining HR processes and ensuring accurate record-keeping.

Onboarding Platforms:

  • Talmundo, Sapling, Enboarder – Automate and manage the onboarding process, including document signing, task tracking, and new hire communication.

Time Management Tools:

  • Toggl, Harvest, Clockify – Track time spent on tasks and projects, ensuring efficient time management and productivity. Day Off Leave Tracker to manage your employees’ time off.

Security Tools

Antivirus Software:

  • Norton, McAfee, Bitdefender – Protect against viruses, malware, and other security threats.

By leveraging these tools, companies can ensure a smooth, engaging, and efficient virtual onboarding process, setting new hires up for success from day one.


Effective virtual onboarding is crucial for the successful integration of new hires into a remote or hybrid work environment. By following these best practices, organizations can ensure that new employees feel welcomed, supported, and prepared to contribute to the company’s success. A comprehensive onboarding process not only enhances employee satisfaction and retention but also drives productivity and organizational growth.

Implementing these strategies requires a proactive approach, continuous improvement, and a commitment to creating a positive onboarding experience. By prioritizing virtual onboarding, companies can build a strong foundation for their remote workforce, fostering a culture of engagement, collaboration, and excellence.