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Virtual Onboarding: 4 Ways Employers Can Help New Hires Build Leadership Communication Skills

Updated: Apr 3

by Stephanie Bickel

leadership communication skills

For those that had already been working in remote settings, there may not be much that needs to change in your business operations. For others, processes such as onboarding new hires must be transformed into a dynamic, informative virtual experience.

With that, comes challenges. There is not a physical office to welcome new employees. They do not have the ability to connect with colleagues in the lunchroom or down the hallway. And, you most likely do not have the virtual tools or standard procedures set up to execute a successful onboarding.

You must now excite and engage from afar. New hires must feel welcomed. They need to connect with other team members. They need to be immersed in your company’s mission, vision, values, and goals. Once they are, they are on the path to make an immediate impact.

Set your new hires up for success. Make their first days and months ones to remember with these four best practices.

1. Assign more than one person as a sponsor / buddy / mentor

Help new hires build meaningful connections to colleagues outside of regularly scheduled meetings. Assign them to people of different tenures and roles to give a new hire many different perspectives. Most will likely try to pursue this on the own anyway and you can be instrumental in helping them connect with the right people.

2. Develop a 2020 new hire cohort

Provide a platform where 2020 new hires get together once a month to discuss a topic. The topic could be networking with colleagues or clients, maximizing productivity, work / life balance, or using communication tools to overcome challenges with remote working. Invite guest speakers or leaders to these sessions to share best practices or participate in an “Ask Me Anything”. Leave time at the end of these sessions for the new hires to learn from each other. Conduct these as breakout sessions so they can feel comfortable opening up in a smaller group. Have them come back together where they share the top three take-aways to the larger group.

3. Deliver special trainings

With this unique time, should come unique offerings. Make one of the benefits specialized trainings around virtual communications. Set a communication norm for these trainings to be facilitated by HR or a senior leader. Our Speak by Design model begins with private communication coaching to help new hires set goals and create a stakeholder action plan. We follow with virtual group training options such as virtual problem solving, virtual project management, and virtual attire. Conduct a survey with your new hires to find out what they need most.

4. Help new people SPEAK UP…in the FIRST THREE MINUTES of every meeting

Speaking up can be hard to do, especially when someone is just starting out. Help new hires shine! Send questions or pre-reads ahead of meetings to give others a chance to prepare. Ask attendees to share a point of view in the first few moments on the information that was sent. Empowering such a newly tenured group can pay dividends for long-term impact within your organization.

The first moments of meeting someone set the tone for future interactions. Why not set the tone for someone’s career during onboarding?

It can be a defining moment that starts to cultivate a trusted, lasting relationship with your new talent.

Your new talent is the future of your organization.

Invest in them…

...and they will invest in you!


Become a speaker who can command any room. Speak by Design University is a one-of-a-kind leadership communication program. It’s 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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