Virtual Onboarding Report by Polymensa Based on 33 Agencies and 8 SaaS Businesses

The shift to remote work 2020

2020 signalled the start of a shift in business operations; remote work replaced the office environment as employees were asked to work from home. Agencies faced challenges with this new virtual environment, particularly the process of onboarding. There was a need to find a solution to keeping new hires engaged and productive, all the while providing an office culture from home.

Armed with this knowledge, Polymensa saw an opportunity to provide value and insight to agencies facing similar problems with onboarding. An in-depth report was conducted using research collected from 41 progressive companies, all of which demonstrated exceptional virtual onboarding practices.

Thoroughly researched with qualitative interviews and feedback from actual starters, Polymensa’s report will help you navigate the challenges of remote onboarding.

Download the full virtual onboarding report here.

Key stages of virtual onboarding

Polymensa’s research found that the majority of companies had similar stages in the onboarding process:

  1. Pre-boarding
  2. 1st day
  3. 1st-2nd week
  4. The next 30-60-90 days

Exceptional pre-boarding plan

Companies who implemented well-planned pre-boarding plans were found to be more successful at retaining their new hires. These companies found a significant reduction in the number of employees leaving during the probation period.
The majority of companies with successful pre-boarding plans also had checklists to help set up new starters with everything they needed. These checklists remained in either a system or simple spreadsheet; examples of all systems used can be found in the Virtual Onboarding Report.


Org-charts with photos

Part of most companies’ pre-boarding process, research found that sending out org-charts was an effective strategy in making new hires feel welcomed. These org-charts included photos of each employee alongside their department to help give new hires a better understanding of their team members.

Virtual 1-to-1 coffees/lunches

Polymensa found that half of the companies researched provided their team with vouchers for virtual coffee/lunch breaks with new hires. This ensured that all new recruits felt welcomed and helped provide a sense of office culture in a remote environment.

One company stressed the importance of vouchers in coffee/lunch breaks:
“Make them vouchers though. Otherwise, they’ll just end up not doing the coffee meets, because it’s too much hassle to expense them.”

Those that did team lunches/coffee breaks made sure to equip the ‘meeting host’ with information about the new starter to avoid any awkward silences.

Measuring the success of virtual onboarding process

Agencies with the most successful onboarding practices made sure to measure their progress in three ways:

1. Employee progression

Surveys were conducted by the majority of agencies alongside the 30/60/90 day markers, checking whether new hires were reaching set goals.

2. Line manager performance

Some agencies provided new hires with the opportunity to provide feedback on their line manager via surveys. These surveys helped reveal whether line managers were providing enough support to new hires to ensure their progression.

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3. Employee satisfaction survey

Some agencies conducted surveys to assess whether the company was meeting the expectations of new hires. Out of every company that received a negative response, one would result in a new hire leaving during the probation period.

Equipment and welcome boxes

Polymensa found that 87% of companies interviewed provided new hires with equipment and welcome boxes. These ranged from welcome boxes containing company ‘swag’ and equipment needed for the first day, as well as IT equipment.

34 pages of practical tips to improve your virtual onboarding

The full report contains plenty of more great tips for your agency. If you have any questions, they’re always happy to help out. Feel free to get in touch with Daniel de la Cruz.

You can download the full virtual onboarding report here.