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Leadership Communication Skills that Stick: Innovative Ideas for Virtual Onboarding

Updated: Apr 3

by Stephanie Bickel

leadership communication skills

Interacting through a computer screen is quite a different experience from a physical handshake. So many processes, including onboarding, must be executed in different ways to create that same instant connection. Helping others develop strong leadership communication skills from the beginning, will create exponential impact for them and your organization.

It is time to break away from what you have done in the past.

Be unique.

Be innovative.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." The famous quote from Albert Einstein rings true as we find ourselves immersed in a virtual culture that is not going away.

Invest in ideas that make your organization stand out from the rest to create dynamic interactions from day one. We have pulled together our top seven favorite ways to enhance leadership and communication skills for new hires.

1. Brand your virtual onboarding to amplify your culture

Branding makes you distinct. It represents who you are as a business and how you wish to be perceived. Branding is important because it helps others know exactly what to expect from you and leaves a memorable impression. It is the clarity your new hires need to understand how to act and how to perform. Prior to Day 1, send out a welcome box that includes SWAG items with your branded logo. Have them display at least one SWAG item on your first welcome call. New hires will immediately feel a part of a team, something much bigger than just them alone in their home office.

2. Prepare big problems for new hires to solve

Solving problems is one of the best ways to demonstrate value to a company. Give your new talent the opportunity to do just that! Share a company or industry challenge on one of your next check-in calls. Have your new hires tackle the problem in small breakout groups. Then, provide a platform for each group to present their solution to leadership. Have leadership vote on the top three solutions. There is nothing better than for them to experience what communication for leadership looks and feels like.

leadership communication skills

3. Use reward and recognition programs

Competition helps drive performance. Excite the next wave of talent with various reward and recognition programs for excellent leadership communication skills. Contests involving self-recorded videos are great ways to engage employees. Ask employees to submit a short, 1 to 2-minute video on their smart phone that showcases a communication for leadership success. Have them record it using creative props or a unique background. Choose a video of the week to be highlighted on the intranet or during a leadership call. Use video success stories to help spread a winning culture throughout the organization.

4. Make it fun!

When was the last time you remember a meeting being “fun”? All employee interactions do not have to be that way! Introduce “fun” elements that break up the monotony of meeting after meeting after meeting. Conduct virtual cooking classes where team members are shipped a prepared box of ingredients or they grab their own ahead of time. Add some humor to your event with a comedy show or improv event from a place like “Second City”. Invite them to a “Virtual Happy Hour” with a wine tasting or a live musician playing on screen. Create that sense of community that colleagues are longing for.

leadership communication skills

5. Create training video libraries

Watching videos is a great way to learn concepts and standard processes. Set up training videos by specialty on your company’s intranet page. New hires can review topics at their own pace. They can pause them for disruptions. They can watch them again. And, it saves you time from delivering modules over and over and over again.

6. Use more screen-sharing to increase capabilities

One of the best ways to sustain learnings is to teach someone how to do something. Record live demonstrations and ask them teach you the concept back the next time you meet. Have them screen-share and annotate to expand their capabilities using virtual platforms.

7. Ask unique questions

Powerful conversations are started with insightful questions. Insightful questions lead to dynamic discussions. Questions like these can help people open up and understand each other better.

What are people likely to misunderstand about you?

Have you ever had a bad boss?

Some questions may even add a little humor to a conversation.

All of these moments help shape the people that will lead your organization in the future. Stay ahead of the competition and invest in the resources needed to develop them and their leadership communication skills.

Be courageous…

…use innovative onboarding solutions for a better tomorrow.

Try something new…

…use technology to increase engagement and build capabilities.

These moments will help launch careers.

They will also define who you are as an organization.


Great leaders and speakers start with Speak by Design. Learn the techniques and build the skills with us. Speak by Design University is the only leadership communication program in the world that gives you access to self-paced learning, group coaching and training and, most importantly, private one-on-one coaching. Learn more and register.

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