Online onboarding: 5 challenges noticed and their solutions

What is the purpose of onboarding? 

In OIP, onboarding lasts for one year. It starts from the moment an offer is present and doesn’t finish until the future employee is truly embedded in the company. Our goal is to integrate our new hires into an organization and prepare them for success in their new role. This process involves introducing the employee to our culture and processes, training them for a new role, feeling comfortable and confident, and providing them with resources and information so they become a productive and engaged member of the team. 

How did it change?

Remember the COVID? It transformed us and forced many companies to adapt. In 2020, more than 500 OIP employees transitioned to remote work. This change raised questions about maintaining productivity while having the bed right behind us. It was very confusing! Our company was under a significant transformation, shifting from a strictly office-based model to a flexible hybrid one. Now, we can choose to work from the office or stay at home. The journey from the initial work-from-home to a well-organized hybrid model posed numerous challenges, impacting our onboarding process. 

What were the challenges?

The point of the onboarding or any other process is not to look back but forward and adjust to changes and new environments. We have noticed that new hires may find it more difficult to feel a part of the team as remote onboarding did not exist before in our company and it required additional technology and training. 


Here are the top 5 challenges we experienced:

  1. Limited Interaction. It is very important for new hires to interact with their colleagues and supervisors during the onboarding process. In an online environment, there may be fewer chances for face-to-face conversations, meetings, and casual interactions that happen in the office. Limited interaction can impact relationship-building, making it harder for new employees to feel like a part of the team. It can also impact the transfer of knowledge, company culture understanding, and the overall socialization process, all of which are vital aspects of effective onboarding.
  2. Organization and technology. Another challenge was coordinating the whole process and organization of each member that is participating in the onboarding process. It was a challenge to organize various aspects of the onboarding process, such as paperwork, training, and communication, all within a digital framework. 
  3. Loneliness. We do not want anyone to feel lonely during the onboarding process, right? We don’t but how do we achieve that when a new hire might be alone at home and all that person sees is working equipment? This is a challenge because it lacks the in-person social interactions and team connections that traditional onboarding offers. This isolation can lead to disengagement and not being connected to the team.
  4. Communication. Onboarding in an online environment has several communication challenges due to the absence of face-to-face interactions and physical presence. Effective communication is very important during the onboarding process so that new employees feel welcomed, informed, and integrated into the organization. Online communication primarily consists of video, text, and audio, leading to a lack of personal connection and immediate feedback. Furthermore, the majority of information is presented in textual format, potentially overwhelming new employees with the volume of content.
  5. The “Belonging to the team”. The “Belonging to the Team” challenge in onboarding refers to the process of integrating a new employee into a team or organization in a way that helps them feel like they are an important part of the group. This is an important part of the onboarding process, as it can have a great impact on an employee’s job satisfaction, engagement, and long-term success within the organization. In an online environment, we wanted to avoid: isolation, a sense of disconnection from the team, and insufficient support.


This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the challenges we’ve encountered in the online environment, but it’s been a wild ride that’s made us revamp our onboarding process and roll with the digital punches!

It was important for OIP to recognize the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and technology in the onboarding process. We have also prioritized communication, support, and engagement to make sure that new employees feel welcomed and integrated into the organization, even in a remote working environment. This adaptability and commitment to creating a positive online onboarding experience are essential for the success and retention of our employees.

How did we overcome all the challenges?

Just like the rest of the world, we joined the “Oops Club” where we made a bunch of mistakes, turned them into learning moments, had a few more oopsies, and kept fine-tuning until our process was completely adapted. 

Seriously, how did you overcome those challenges?

We had to understand that this new environment has brought not just challenges but also opportunities. We had to replace traditional methods with new ones to have a smooth and amazing experience for all of our new employees. We have invested in modernizing the onboarding process by using digital communication platforms, a digital documentation system, a new communication system, regular feedback and checkups, online meet and greet, virtual new team member introductions, a buddy system, and many more. By implementing these changes, we have created an interactive online onboarding process that not only overcomes challenges but also creates the best possible experience for new employees. 

What is next?

Designing an onboarding process for outer space work environments. Well, we’re not quite there yet, but who knows what the future holds? Jokes aside, what we have to do is to observe and slowly adjust our processes. We will focus on technology, personalization, engagement, and adaptability to create an onboarding experience that will be the most beneficial for our employees but also keep the company’s identity. 

Milan Bursać
Talent Experience Manager
Outsource Insurance Professionals

About OIP:

OIP, a rapidly expanding outsourcing company, is a leading provider of insurance services to corporate clients across the USA, UK, and Canada. Their innovative products, award-winning services, and decade-long partnerships have made them one of the most recognized and respected companies in the specialty lines insurance industry.

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