Most businesses believe that their task is finished once they recruit an employee. However, the reality is that the actual work begins once the new employee signs the paperwork.

You may wonder what that is. It is referred to as employee onboarding. Effective onboarding of new employees leads to more integrated hiring and improved corporate performance. If you do it correctly, you’ll also be able to create time-saving processes. But to accomplish all of this, you must be aware of best practices.

So what are the four onboarding phases? What are the advantages and challenges of virtual employee onboarding? What else should you be doing to assist new hires during this critical period?

Let’s get started and find out.

What is Virtual Employee Onboarding?

Virtual onboarding makes use of technology to make it easier for new hires to join a remote team.

Companies use virtual or remote onboarding programmes to help remote workers feel at home in a new company and become more productive faster.

It’s a critical period for the employer and the employee because it determines how their working relationship will proceed.

Whether your business is remote-first or not, in-person onboarding is an excellent method to establish a warm welcome and make employees feel valued. However, it is only one part of the issue.

Companies may ensure remote employees feel appreciated by combining instructive videos, pre-recorded messages from key executives, and a thorough online learning path.

Phases of Virtual Employee Onboarding Phases of Virtual Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding is broken down into four steps, each essential to integrating new hires into teams without creating a disruption. Here, we examine the four stages, beginning with the one that comes before the first.

First phase: Pre-onboarding

As soon as a candidate accepts your offer, the first stage of onboarding, often known as pre-onboarding, starts and lasts until their first day of employment. Because your applicants are the most unsure about what lies ahead, this is a significant time for them. As a result, candidates may second-guess their decision to join your company even after a minor mistake or misinterpretation. On the other hand, candidates will begin to feel more enthusiastic about their decision to join your company when they are effectively handled and informed about organizational advances.

Assist employees in completing the required papers throughout the pre-onboarding stage. Give them plenty of time; they might be wrapping up exit responsibilities at their prior employer. Ask whether they require any assistance in obtaining housing if they are moving. Additionally, you might send them a video or document that provides a brief overview of your company’s operations and what their first day would include.

Second phase: Greeting new employees

The second onboarding phase is frequently devoted to welcoming new employees and giving them an orientation to help them settle in. Remember that they might need to become familiar with someone inside your company, and they won’t be familiar with how teams function daily. They must therefore have a thorough understanding of your company before they start working for you. However, most new workers will be eager to start, so it’s ideal for keeping this phase to a week at maximum.

Make the first day as easy as you can. Help them better understand the organizational culture during orientation, and demonstrate how your work procedures are consistent with this culture. Discuss issues like paid time off, attendance, health insurance, and payroll procedures. Point them in the direction of parking spaces, cafeterias, and hospitals if necessary. Introduce your new hires to their coworkers and other stakeholders after that. You might arrange a brief meeting with your new hires after the second phase to ensure they are at ease and adjusting well.

Third phase: Role-specific training

One of the most crucial stages of onboarding is the training phase, which directly affects how productive new hires will be in their positions. Your staff can lack the knowledge necessary to succeed if they don’t receive formal training. As a result, individuals could start feeling unsatisfied, resulting in a high turnover rate. However, a well-written new hire training plan will make employees feel at home by demonstrating your concern for their advancement.

As the initial phase in training, assist employees in becoming familiar with your Elearning. They should feel safe while looking at the application if you offer online courses. Investigate several learning strategies, like blended learning, self-paced learning, micro-learning, and others, to let your new hires choose the one that suits them best. Any learning resources used during onboarding should be kept securely in a convenient location for employees to use and return to.

Fourth phase: Helping them adjust to their new role

The final onboarding stage is designed to aid employees in transitioning from their new hire status to that of a full-fledged employee. Encourage your supervisors to be specific about what they anticipate from their new team members, so they know their responsibilities. It is preferable to set smart goals to help them imagine what success, excellence, and productivity entail. You may conduct a performance review after a month or a quarter to acknowledge their work thus far and assist them in strengthening their performance.

Advantages of Virtual Employee Onboarding

There are a few advantages for your business from the virtual onboarding process. The following information may be helpful:

 1. More adaptability

New remote workers stay in their familiar surroundings rather than adjusting to a new schedule, location, or group of people, significantly reducing the stress resulting from offline onboarding. In addition, remote workers like to take their time and complete the onboarding process at their own pace.

 2. Enhanced Efficiency

Increasing organizational efficiency is the main advantage of remote onboarding. Software programmes such as Avature Onboarding, Wrike,, and Loop help digitally manage the remote onboarding procedure. Recruiters and new hires benefit from it being much quicker and less repetitive. For instance, by employing the copy-paste function, employees can save the time spent typing and pasting the same information on several analogue and digital media.

 3. Remote Instructional Training

As an alternative to traditional classroom training, corporate eLearning courses have been adapted into training programmes by international L&D teams due to remote work. Recruiters are now using various virtual or digital learning solutions to speed up the remote onboarding and upskilling process for growth and development. 

 4. Higher Productivity

Tech Republic reports that 65% of workers believe working remotely will increase their productivity since there would be fewer interruptions and they would save time on the commute. Employers who wish to onboard new hires remotely can thus benefit from this development and shorten the learning curve.

 5. Cost-efficient

Comparatively speaking, virtual onboarding takes less time than the conventional procedure. Therefore, when all the required resources are available, the amount of time spent on onboarding is reduced, and your budget is significantly reduced.

Challenges of  Virtual Employee Onboarding

Although the virtual onboarding process can seem relatively simple, it is not. From the very beginning of the onboarding process, organizations face difficulties. Here are some typical challenges:

 1. Miscommunication:

Miscommunication is one of the most challenging problems with remote onboarding. A newly hired employee quickly understands their role of action in the organization with concrete examples when they have direct interaction with the company leaders. However, suppose newly hired employees choose virtual onboarding procedures. In that case, there is an excellent risk of misunderstandings between the staff members and the firm executives because there needs to be direct communication and access to real-world examples to learn from. In addition, the newcomers may need to clearly understand their position within the organization.

 2. Making staff feel comfortable is difficult:

Making new employees feel at ease is one of the most challenging aspects of the virtual onboarding process. In addition, the organizational culture will be much easier for new hires to understand if they can connect with their coworkers in person rather than through online communication.

 3. No cooperation and teamwork:

Employee cooperation and teamwork are necessary for a business to operate at its peak. It is one of the more challenging aspects of the corporate virtual onboarding process. There is no sense of harmony among the workers since they cannot connect with and understand one another, which can be detrimental to the company’s reputation. Organizations tend to be less profitable than other companies because their newly hired staff need more connection if there is balance, collaboration, and human connection.

 4. Gap formation:

The distance between newly hired employees and their bosses is an inescapable issue with virtual onboarding. Adjusting to the new company and role for both the employees and the supervisors becomes much simpler when you get to see each other daily and interact sometimes. However, it differs when it comes to virtual onboarding. Only video call meetings and conferences are used for contact between new employees and management. Due to a lack of direct monitoring of the advancement of new hires in their field of work, the promotion terms are automatically reduced.

 5. No official onboarding procedure

A straightforward formal process is one of the critical issues with virtual onboarding. The HR sends the necessary paperwork through email and uses a zoom call to present the new hire to the management. The manager briefs the recruit on the essentials of the position, discusses some general product resources, and anticipates that they will soon begin contributing.

 6. Various Cultures

Dealing with cultural variations when working with teams in various nations and regions is a big problem posed by remote onboarding. In addition to overcoming language difficulties, recruiters must comprehend corporate expectations and cultural conventions and modify their communication and training methods to suit the cultural backgrounds of their employees.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. The advantages and disadvantages of remote onboarding are as follows. After reading the blog, you can evaluate your resources, IT setup, and schedules to determine whether this practice is a “yes” or “nay” for your company. Virtual onboarding can be profitable for businesses that play their cards well and utilize the tools.

It’s crucial to bring a new person up to speed as early as possible after hiring them so they can start contributing immediately.

You can achieve this for hourly workers by giving them an orientation to the workplace and the role they’ll be playing.

But what about office and salaried employees?

It might be challenging to successfully prepare someone you recruit who doesn’t work on-site, which adds time and price before they are a productive team member.

We have already covered the advantages of virtual onboarding in this blog, which will enable you to increase new recruit productivity.

If you have questions concerning the employee onboarding process, consult our detailed guide: But what about the office and salaried employees?

It might be challenging to successfully prepare someone you recruit who doesn’t work on-site, which adds time and price before they are a productive team member.

We have already covered the advantages of virtual onboarding in this blog, enabling you to increase recruit productivity.

If you have questions concerning the employee onboarding process, consult our detailed guide: How to design a successful employee onboarding process


Question 1: Why is onboarding important?

It facilitates the transition of your new hires to their new place of employment and equips them with the resources and training needed to excel in their positions. Additionally, it shows your new hires that you care about their professional development and will support it, improving their job satisfaction.

Question 2: What distinguishes orientation from onboarding?

Most definitely! There are different phases to the onboarding process. Preboarding starts as soon as the new hire signs the paperwork, and it can run for three months to a year. A step in the onboarding process is orientation. It can run for up to a week and starts on the first day of work for the employee.

Question 3: What is the first phase of virtual employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding begins with a hearty welcome after pre-boarding, the stage during which necessary documentation is finished. You could do this through an email, a video chat, or a face-to-face meeting, during which you introduce the new employee to the business fundamentals and convey your excitement about having them join the team.

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