CPA Career

How to Train and Onboard Interns and New Hires Virtually

how-to-train-and-onboard-interns-and-new-hires-virtually

In the wake of the current pandemic, companies all over the world have had to implement virtual training for their interns and new hires. With roughly five million employees (3.6% of the U.S. employee workforce) currently working at home half of the time or more, companies are finding themselves quickly launching remote training programs without any prior preparation.

To help spearhead your company’s new virtual on-boarding program and successfully adapt to this current environment, UWorld Roger CPA Review has identified 5 main areas of training for virtually on-boarding interns and new hires. One thing to consider, however, is the important role video conferencing technology plays in virtual communication. If your firm doesn’t already have video conferencing technology in place, it’s a good idea to invest in this type of technology as soon as possible. Transitioning to cloud-based communication software will allow your employees to stay connected and effectively work remotely. This is especially true for interns and new hires who rely heavily on hands-on training. Having a virtual tool that allows for screen sharing is essential for their success. 

5 Tips to Virtually Train and Onboard Interns and New Hires

Assign a Mentor

Most interns and new hires, who are new to a firm, are trying to figure things out as they go — which, to no one’s surprise, is much harder to do when working from home. Having a designated person who can act as a mentor for the employees will significantly aid in ensuring that the intern or new hire feels comfortable within the company. The mentor should schedule weekly 1-on-1 calls with the intern or new hire so they can get their thoughts regarding the role they are fulfilling, responsibilities of the role, or to discuss resources they need to successfully complete their work.

Also, for interns and new hires to be successful within an organization, it’s critical that they feel integrated within the company. Kristen Fitzparick, Managing Director of Career & Professional Development at Harvard Business School, suggests that this integration within an organization can still be replicated virtually using video conferencing technology with day-to-day work being streamlined via chat, project management tools, and email.

Set Effective Training Schedules

Eight hours of continuous training will leave interns and new hires exhausted . Rather than having day-long training sessions, consider splitting up the training into mini “courses” over a few weeks. This will provide more time for interns and new hires to better absorb the material. It would also be useful to develop a realistic schedule or checklist that the interns and new hires can follow to avoid feeling overwhelmed when learning new material.

With video conferencing technology and screen sharing abilities, live demonstrations or training sessions will encourage interns and new hires to pay more attention than they probably would with pre-recorded training videos. This can help improve the interns’ and new hires’ engagement with the material, while allowing them to ask questions in real time. 

Have Resources at the Ready

One major detail to consider with remote work for interns or new hires is providing full access to resources and information. When it comes to remote training, interns and new hires often need access to information regarding how to access training materials, who and where to ask questions, how to access payroll, and much more. As mentioned earlier, having a mentor assigned to new employees is one way to solve this problem. Another way is to have a designated resource platform (perhaps a Google Doc or PDF) that compiles frequently asked questions, links to resources, contact information of employees, and more.

Engage Virtually

Showcasing your company’s culture and values can be a challenge when interns and new hires are working from home. To combat this, consider finding creative solutions to engage virtually. Handshake, a job search platform for students, advises companies to use video conferencing technology to host virtual activities that promote engagement, such as virtual breakfasts, lunches or coffee sessions — or allowing the interns or new hires to expense meals once in a while as a way to get to know others in the organization. 

TeamBuilding.com has compiled a list of 21 virtual employee engagement ideas; those of which include virtual tiny campfires, healthy habit challenges, virtual birthday parties, and more.

And Finally, Set Expectations and Communicate Them Clearly

Setting expectations is extremely important from a management perspective — and that includes clearly communicating expectations to your interns and new hires, as well. Every company has their preferred way of communication, whether it be via chat, email, phone call, etc., and it’s important to be clear which default method of communication your team prefers. For instance, which channels should they use and when?

Managing virtual teams requires clearly defined metrics of success and determining what that success looks like. Expectations should be concrete, measurable, and actionable in order to avoid any misunderstandings. Talking through these expectations with your interns and new hires will encourage them to achieve more.