Virtual onboarding for managers and supervisors
Last updated: October 21, 2021
Use technology to welcome new employees and get them set up to work remotely. Virtual onboarding is just as effective as completing the process in person. It helps new employees:
- Learn how things work
- Find a sense of belonging
- Build relationships with others and connect to their workplace community
Here are some tips and suggestions to help:
Regular one-on-one time with the manager/supervisor is listed as the primary thing employees want at the start of their new job.
Schedule daily check-ins with your new employee. Let them know your schedule, when you're available and the best way to contact you.
Have weekly check-ins as a team and create opportunities for everyone to connect with each other virtually. This will help with team cohesion, morale and performance. Use a variety of tools like email, phone, text, Skype, MS Teams, etc. Remember that video conferencing is especially helpful for building relationships.
Find more tips: Supervisor Virtual Onboarding Checklist (PDF, 240KB).
Include a schedule for the first couple of weeks with activities and assignments planned out for each day.
Be specific about expectations, tasks and assignments. In a virtual environment, it’s important to provide more structure, not less.
Culture is key to understanding how things work, but it can be challenging to convey in the absence of a shared work environment and face-to-face interaction.
Make sure you incorporate team check-ins that allow for social interaction and connection.
Having a virtual buddy available to answer basic questions will help your new employee build relationships with other team members.
Ask the buddy to schedule virtual coffee chats for the first 1 or 2 weeks on the job.
Nothing says 'welcome' like having all the necessary equipment set up on an employee’s first day.
If that's not possible, have a backup plan to make sure all your orientation materials are up to date and available digitally so you can send everything to a personal email address.
Avoid overwhelming new employees who are working remotely. Instead of inundating them all at once, give them a chance to absorb information and ask questions. Get more info: Supervisor Virtual Onboarding Checklist (PDF, 240KB).
Remember that the onboarding process will not be perfect the first time. Ask your new employee for feedback about their experience and be prepared to edit the design of your onboarding program.
The Learning Centre’s new self-serve website offers tutorials, online readings and guides to help you make the most of the tools you have available for working remotely.
You can also register for the Leading Virtual Teams course offered by the Learning Centre. Register for this 1 hour webinar through the learning system.
Using IT and mobile devices
The appropriate use policy includes policy requirements that all government employees must follow when accessing and managing government information (particularly confidential information) and when using information technology (IT) resources.
The mobile device guidelines address the most commonly asked questions employees have about mobile device use and management.
For more information on teleworking, read the telework policy.
Contact your new employee
Call or email them. This is one of the most important work relationships you'll have, so start early by reaching out to offer help and answer questions. Let your new employee know they'll be required to work remotely and send them information about how the tools and equipment will be delivered.
Submit requests for tools and equipment
Arrange for appropriate technology tools, such as an IDIR, computer, software, phone, printer key fob, building pass and systems access, such as the VPN, LAN, SharePoint, MS Teams, etc.
Contact your ministry iStore facilities representative, if applicable, or follow instructions in the OCIO My Service Centre rates and lead times.
Request the following items, if applicable:
- Financial authority
- Petty cash
- Business cards
- Digital signature
Follow up with the person at your ministry responsible for each item. An admin support person may be able to find out who to contact.
Arrange to have tools and supplies delivered to them. Contact your office manager to see if it can be either shipped to their home or safely picked up from the office.
Get the virtual workplace ready
Announce your new employee to staff. Email a short new employee bio to your staff.
Assign a buddy to virtually meet the new employee on their first day to answer questions and share how things work.
Prepare a schedule for the first week. See this Sample 5 Day Schedule (PDF, 130KB) to get you started. Set up virtual job shadowing or virtual job training sessions with other staff.
Create a guide with details about how your team functions or key processes involving the new employee.
Meet with your new employee
Schedule time to virtually meet using a Skype meeting or MS Teams at the start and end of their first day. Set up daily meetings to orient your new employee into their role.
During your virtual meetings, turn on your camera and share your screen:
- Provide a detailed description of their position and role
- Define and clarify work assignments and expectations (for the first month, focus on the top five tasks to complete)
- Discuss the Standards of Conduct, payroll and benefits, work schedules and mandatory training
- Provide them with a link to the Public Service Pension Plan Guide for Plan Members so they can learn more about their pension
- Show them how to submit an AskMyHR (IDIR restricted) service request
- Provide key contact information, like who to contact for specific support, who to contact with a safety concern, who can order office supplies, etc.
- Send invitations to regular meetings
- Show them how to use group chat tools
- Share info about websites they should check out
- Help them map network drives
Schedule time to virtually introduce the team using a Skype meeting or MS Teams. Invite people that the new employee will be working with the most.
Help them set up their workstation
Show off our culture
Keep reinforcing BC Public Service culture and values, along with your ministry's mandate, vision, mission and corporate plan.
You should also encourage them to:
Manage relationships with employees
Check in with new staff regularly to see how their transition is going. Try to identify issues or concerns as soon as possible.
- Access tools and resources to help you support a respectful workplace, even if it means having difficult conversations
- Manage relationships with employees by clearly communicating expectations and following up when they're not met
- Review the probation plan
Complete their first performance review. As part of the performance review, create an environment to have open dialogue and provide honest feedback. Discuss career goals and values.