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The landscape of the working world has been forced to evolve and adapt over recent months with many companies undergoing a digital transformation to enable their business to operate as much as possible through these turbulent times.

The dust is beginning to settle with those able to work from home doing so. New schedules have been created, sacrifices and compromises have been made but brave faces, optimism and togetherness drive us all to make the most of the current climate and continue on the best we can.

In the world of recruitment, hiring is slowly but surely unfreezing as companies adjust to the current market and start working towards adjusted business goals. Virtual working has all been set up, the adjustment period is over and the ability to hire and start new employees via digital/virtual onboarding is here.

We have come up with an onboarding checklist to help employers successfully navigate the onboarding process and get off to the best start possible.

#1 – Before an offer is made

Onboarding is not something that begins after an offer is made, the process begins at the very beginning of the hiring process. Accountability and management workload are two challenges faced when employees work from home. Setting out clear expectations of the role such as hours of work, output monitoring and communication channels ensure that new employees are aware of all objectives and processes in this new role.

#2 – Offer Acceptance

There is no escape from paperwork, even when employees start and work from home. Instead of printing and mailing documents, consider utilising a virtual document system such as DocuSign which can be viewed and signed online.

#3 – Pre-boarding

If there is an opportunity, don’t wait until your new hires first day to introduce them to your business and culture. It is never too early to get buy-in, engagement and motivation from your new hire.

Send a welcome email with your new starter pack. Include an itinerary for the first week or two to help mentally prepare your new hire and give them an idea of what to expect. Provide contact details of points of contact and HR in case there are any questions. Don’t forget to provide insights into your business such as mission, culture, vision and values. Having all this information on an online portal new hire can explore will make this stage so much simpler.

If you can, send a welcome pack including company goodies such as a hoodie, notebook, pen or mug. This is a small gesture that can create excitement and motivation in new hires that many like to snap a picture of and share on social media. Vouchers for restaurants or coffee always go down a treat if material goodies aren’t possible.

Technology and Equipment

All new hires must have access to the following:

  • Laptop/PC
  • Appropriate Monitor
  • Mobile
  • Webcam

All new accounts must be set up and sent to new hires before their first day:

  • Company Email
  • Access to Intranet
  • Office 365
  • HR / Payroll Systems

Of course, all roles are different and require different things. Be sure to confirm a list of hardware and software requirements for the role so your new hire has everything they need for their first day

#4 – The First Day

The first day is always an overwhelming experience for new starts and when working from home, this can be even more of a challenge. Without physical engagement and meeting colleagues face to face, it can be an overloading experience.

The key to addressing these concerns is to be mindful of this new experience and try to balance the day and not bog them down with information or numerous virtual meetings.

As we mentioned before, try to have all accounts and communication platforms set up in advance of the first day, this means they have less to worry about and are ready to go.

Meeting the team

It is important for new hires to meet the team as soon as possible. Set up a video call with their immediate team where each individual can introduce themselves and give an overview of what they do and how they will be working with the new employee. Try to keep this casual, a virtual coffee with the team is always a great idea.

Provide your new hirer with an organisation chart and walk through all the key members and give them guidance on who to go to for support if needed.

The Buddy System

Assign a buddy to your new hirer, someone that is comfortable and knowledgeable about the company, online systems and organisations structure. No matter how detailed you believe your onboarding process to be, there will always be some questions from new staff.

#5 – The first week

New hirers should have all the tools for the job, but the first few weeks are key to getting them immersed in the company. What you do, your culture and values.

It’s a good idea to host induction sessions with other parts of the business such as Management, HR, IT, Finance and Marketing so new hirers get an understanding of all business functions and understand the goals of the business overall.

Now that they are settled in, you should confirm and agree on success metrics and deliverables for the first few months, making sure duties and roles are defined and your new hirer has clear guidance and direction in their role. These can all be reviewed with them at the end of their probation period.


Don’t forget to check in from time to time. This can be informally or in a formal setting with their line manager and HR. Ask for feedback or barriers they have had to overcome in the first few weeks and implement solutions to these in your onboarding process for future employees.

This is a good time to ask for any training requirements they may need and ensure these are addressed. If your new starter needs additional support using company software or tools, address this ASAP. It is much harder to learn new systems and processes with no personal interaction or training.

The importance of onboarding

Onboarding is crucial, whether it is in-person on digitally. The benefits are clear and new employees are more likely to embed quicker and stay with your company longer.

Benefits include:

  • Employee engagement and commitment to your business is much higher
  • Job performance is improved as well as increase teamwork, innovation and collaboration.
  • Employees are more productive, quicker
  • Employee experience is improved, and they are more likely to become an ambassador to your company

Some statistics surrounding successful onboarding include:

  • Employee performance increase of 11%
  • Discretionary effort increases by 30%
  • 58% more likely to be at your company in three years’ time

 If you would like to discuss how MCS Group can help you with video interviewing or how to move your onboarding process online, get in touch with us via call 028 90235 456 or visit