The Pitfalls of Virtual Onboarding

Everything has gone online these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it should

When new employees join an organization, they typically go through an onboarding or socialization process that often involves training. Onboarding helps newcomers learn about their jobs and tasks and also serves to build work relationships and job attitudes that foster engagement and commitment to the organization. And when committed and engaged employees are important to you, onboarding becomes a strategic issue.

Information and communication technologies allow firms to onboard new employees virtually, using tools such as streaming videos and online training to help newcomers get up to speed. In a recent chapter published in The Brave New World of eHRM 2.0, the authors refer to this process as e-socialization. They explain that, although there are advantages in leveraging technology to facilitate onboarding, doing so also presents unique challenges that have to be addressed effectively if newcomers are to become fully integrated, dedicated and effective employees. Just because you can onboard people virtually does not mean that you always should.

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Dr. Jamie Gruman

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Dr. Jamie Gruman is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the University of Guelph’s College of Business and Economics. He specializes in human sustainability and productivity in the workplace, and recently published the book, Boost.


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