June 04, 2020

Just eight weeks ago, a global pandemic was the stuff of nightmares and Netflix. Today, it’s our daily reality and it’s fair to say that the pandemic response has well and truly disrupted the business of ‘work.’

As COVID-19 spread and governments advised citizens to stay home, many companies scrambled to enable a remote workforce. Quickly pulling together new policies to keep employees motivated, productive and connected at a distance, employers soon realised there was a bigger challenge ahead—onboarding new employees remotely.

Organizations heavily reliant on the physical office tour, printed employee handbook and team introductions over coffee in real life (IRL) have woken up to a new reality where the building blocks of their employee onboarding process are now impossible to deliver. 

The opportunity to design a more inclusive onboarding experience is one of the small silver linings on a very black cloud in our collective history. Not convinced? Let me take you through it:

Social distancing is new; remote working is not

Although Coronavirus has dramatically accelerated remote work practices, research supports that distributed workforces have been on the rise for quite some time. Numerous studies point to flexible work being the biggest drawcard for jobseekers, with an increase of 400% over the past decade in employers offering flexible work arrangements.

If making sure your policies were conducive to any employee arrangement before was not a priority, in a socially distanced world it certainly should be now. With nearly three in four CFOs planning to shift at least 5% of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions post COVID-19, it’s time to get up to speed with the new normal and plan your remote onboarding experience.

As we find ways to help our remote workers stay connected and the hiring wheel keeps on spinning, how do we design an inclusive onboarding experience in a format not dependent on face-to-face contact? By using video.

An employee onboarding process flow that works for all

COVID-19 has catapulted many companies into the digital era, shining a light on an industry-wide discrepancy between on-site and virtual employee experiences. 

With more and more businesses starting to hire geographically dispersed talent, onboarding remote employees can no longer be about ticking HR boxes—we need to create consistent and high-value first impressions regardless of location.

A common misconception is that onboarding starts from day one on the job, but the weeks between signing a contract and commencing employment is prime time for new hire engagement. When done well, the experience and expectations you create could be the difference between a long-term and a short-term employee. 

Video can help you make all candidates feel welcome and connected in a way that text-only communication cannot. Ditching the automated contract acceptance email and replacing it with a human face is your first step, followed by three more evergreen videos that will make your new employee feel a part of the team long before day one.

Create a video for each step of this onboarding process and open up the conversation by adding a custom message when you send: 

Video 1: Contract acknowledgement | Send: 4 weeks out 

Acknowledge receiving a signed contract with a personal video that screams authentic joy way more than an automated confirmation email. Use this video to convey your excitement of their acceptance and give them a heads up on the pre-onboarding communications they can expect to receive. There’s nothing worse than accepting a job and not knowing what comes next. Be transparent and communicative from the get go.


Video 2: Meet the team | Send: 2 weeks out 

Painting an accurate picture of company culture is only possible with help from the diverse personalities in your team. A vox pop video that includes all employees is a great way to let your candidate in on the quirks of their new colleagues and surface some ice breakers for day one. Pick a topic and ask your team for one word answers to the same questions. This style of video is easy to make remotely with the send project feature in the VideoMyJob app. 


Video 3: What to expect | Send: 1 week out 

Whether it’s remote or in-office, being the new kid on the block can be an anxious time for many. Use video to give an overview of what day one will look like, curb any uncertainties about email access, touch on crucial systems that matter and summarise the induction process. Sending this a week in advance gives your employee time to ask any questions before the big day.


How to recreate your employee handbook with video

Once you’ve implemented your pre-start video sequence, it’s time to think about enhancing other aspects of your onboarding process with video.

An employee handbook is a necessity for all businesses and something that a new hire will expect to receive during orientation. This critical manual, that usually includes company policy, culture and expectations, is an opportunity for you to further build connection and mission alignment. 

Start your new employees' first day by delivering an innovative company manual that really stands out. Take your 72-page pdf and segment the core chapters into video topics. Use the content from your handbook to inspire the video scripts and have fun bringing the backbone of your operation to life.

If translating your employee handbook to video feels like more than you can manage, consider scripting the below video ideas to breathe a little life into your intranet: 

  1. Company culture, values and mission statement
  2. HR overview of vacation time, sick days and pay schedule
  3. Behavioural expectations for employee and employer 

Once you have your employee handbook contents in video form, you can house it on your staff intranet, embed them in an email template or use your team messaging platform for one-to-one sharing. Revamping this crucial piece of communication in your onboarding process will ensure that all employees—no matter their physical location—have the same great onboarding experience. 

As we continue to navigate this new world of work, more opportunities to improve the candidate experience will emerge. Companies that use video to build human connections and create scalable personalised onboarding process will deliver an employee experience that’s truly a cut above the rest

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Article Topics:
Employee Engagement Employer Brand Onboarding & Training