The Guide To The Best Virtual & Online Onboarding

First impressions matter in the workplace as much as they do on a first date.

As an employer, offering a seamless onboarding experience is one of the best things you can do to retain top talent. Onboarding is more than the logistical nuts and bolts of email set-up, login credentials, and health insurance—you want to ensure that a new hire truly feels like part of the team and can see a future for themselves at your company.

COVID-era online onboarding inevitably looks a little different. Sure, there might be friendly faces on the computer screen, but none of them can give a quick tour of the office. There’s no substitute for the warmth of in-person interactions on the first day of work, so a solid virtual onboarding experience requires some extra work.

Going the extra mile pays off, though—sometimes literally. Without a warm welcome, new employees may feel inclined to search for another job: up to 20% of staff turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment, which can be costly.

At the end of the day, fostering a sense of connection doesn’t just lead to better retention rates, it inspires your employees to do their best work. We’ve compiled our top tips to help you create a strategic online onboarding process.

1) Keep it as interactive as possible.

An online onboarding process isn’t purely paperwork, or at least it shouldn’t be. As an alternative to a typical training session, try sharing company policies with new hires through a fun game. And if you have to present a lot of information at once, experiment with different formats, like video, to hold everyone’s attention.

2) Start with icebreakers.

It’s harder to feel like a fish out of water when you can put faces to names. Make sure your virtual onboarding program helps new hires connect through a creative icebreaker that instantly puts everyone at ease.

These easy icebreaker activities will help the whole team bond and get to know each other as more than co-workers.

3) Warm them up with an appreciation gift.

Your online onboarding experience should show employees how much they’re valued. A little swag goes a long way. Visit our DIY store to discover new and inexpensive ways to recognize, reward, and retain your team.

4) Host a virtual happy hour.

After-work drinks are one of the best parts of that first week on the job. Hanging out at the local bar might not be an option these days, but TeamBonding’s Virtual Happy Hour & Mixology event more than fills the void. Where there are cocktails (or mocktails), there’s camaraderie, too.

5) Bring the whole team together, no matter where they’re located

Strong relationships are critical to a new hire’s experience. The more connected they feel, the more likely they are to stay on the team long-term and do their best work. Investing in team-building will deepen trust and collaboration among the various members of your team. If you can’t all be physically together in the same space, try a virtual or hybrid team-building activity to keep company culture alive.

6) Take advantage of video.

Every employee wants to feel like their time is valued by the people they work for, and sometimes, the medium is the message. Rather than holding multiple explanatory meetings, condense your content with a single video, which is also great for engagement. (And remember, an engaged employee is a happy employee.)


Good online onboarding programs go far.

Better online onboarding programs have been linked to higher rates of productivity and retention. On top of that, a warm welcome can help alleviate the sense of isolation that’s become all too common in our current moment. Yes, virtual onboarding presents unique challenges, but with careful planning, you’ll be able to impress all of your new employees.

When in doubt, use the tips above to guide your process and be sure to contact TeamBonding to take advantage of their virtual, hybrid, and in-person employee engagement events. 

Baylee Goldstein

Team Contributor


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