Virtual Onboarding

Developing a more effective virtual onboarding program

The issue

The HR department of one of the worlds largest global companies had become concerned about the costs and effectiveness of its onboarding programs. Central to these programs were face-to-face events that lasted several days. While these were well received their cost and the associated logistical challenges meant that only a limited number could be run each year. As a result many new hires were working in the company for several months before attending an onboarding program. It was widely recognized that reductions in the time it takes to get new people up to speed results in considerable cost savings for the company, so there was a need for a more flexible and effective approach to onboarding.

The Challenges

While existing on line onboarding tools were providing valuable support for new hires they were doing little or nothing to facilitate the social integration of the employee into the organization and its culture. They were also of limited value when it comes to developing the ability to solve many of the challenges that employees face in their day-to-day work. In many instances this can only be facilitated through coaching and dialogue with subject matter experts and more experienced colleagues.

Successful on boarding programs require the involvement of multiple departments from within the company all working together to welcome and engage new employees. Within this company the leading subject matter experts are distributed all over the world and by their very nature these people are in high demand and find it difficult to allocate time to supporting the on boarding programs. The same can be said for senior leaders whose presence and active participation in these programs demonstrates to new employees that they are considered to be important assets to the organization.

Engagement and inspiration is critical during the onboarding process, as research has shown that 90% of employees are still deciding whether they will stay at an organization throughout their first six months.

The Solution

Illustra worked with the company’s HR teams and subject matter experts to design and implement an effective live virtual program that enabled more frequent on boarding events across the year at considerably lower costs. This program consists of a series of live virtual workshops, which bring new hires together from around the world so they can enter into live dialogues with top subject matter experts from across the organization. During these virtual workshops they engage in challenging interactive exercises, simulations and role-plays that mirrored the challenges they encounter everyday in their work. During these workshops the participants create action plans that document how they intend to implement key learnings from the program. A follow up virtual event held several months later enables them to discuss the challenges and lessons learnt in implementing their action plans with colleagues, subject matter experts and the Illustra coaches

The Result

The unique televisual approach pioneered by Illustra has proved to be particularly suited to promoting interaction and dialogue between participants and subject matter experts from different parts of the organization. It has also enabled new hires to get to get to know colleagues from around the world and to engage in dialogues with senior executives who previously had rarely found it possible to attend the face-to-face events. The new virtual onboarding strategy with its series of virtual workshops and follow up events several months later provides new entrants with a strong sense of support across the initial period of their employment. The end result is a cost effective solution that has greatly enhanced the company’s ability to socialize new hires into its organizational culture and reduce the time it takes for them to reach full effectiveness in their roles.

What Participants say

  • Perfect for this prestart Boot camp
  • Great experience and welcoming instructors, makes you comfortable.
  • I like the fact, that we have had the chance of having human interaction!
  • An exciting experience, it’s a very good environment!
  • Excellent use of technology to collaborate and manage a large audience