You’ve Hired A New Employee Virtually (Or Are About To) – Now What?

| by April Anthony

As a board, search committee, or executive director you have put so much time and effort into hiring a new employee – now what?  You’ve hired a consulting firm, like Armstrong McGuire, to conduct a search for a new employee. How do you make sure they are onboarded correctly, performance measures are in place, and an environment promoting longevity is achieved – especially during COVID-19?  As nonprofits start to come back into the office full-time, a few days a week, or continue to work virtually, there are many ways you can onboard your new hire during the pandemic: 

 Before the First Day

  • Prep a workspace if they will be physically working from the office, or make sure your new employee will have everything they will need to work virtually (like a solid video platform for meetings).
  • Make sure your new employee has everything they need to be functional such as a computer (laptop from home), cell phone, working email, software access, and any other necessary tools or supplies.
  • Make an outline for the new employee's first week including the date, time, and participants for each agenda item, such as first-day introductory online meetings for the new hire and their supervisor and key colleagues, online training sessions, online staff meetings, and check-ins.
  • Ask your new employee to complete any necessary employment forms and review employee policies and benefits ahead of time.
  • Send the new employee the organization’s annual report, current budget, an updated organizational chart, staff bios, and a summary of your strategic plan. Include a copy of the new employee’s job description and supervisor's job description.

 First Day

  • Arrange a welcome virtual meeting. Use the opportunity for your new hire to get to know the staff, what they do, and how they each relate to the organization as a whole.
  • Meet with your new hire virtually one-on-one. Give them your background and what brought you to the organization and share some of the challenges your organization might currently be facing.
  • Explain the office culture, communication guidelines. and general expectations.
  • Work together to define what a successful first 60 to 90 days would look like.
  • Ask your new employee if they have any questions and thank them for joining the team.
  • Explain important safety and emergency information.
  • Assist employee in setting up voicemail and email signature.
  • Provide a name tag, badge, and/or identification card and information on accessing the facility when it’s time to go into the office.

 First Week

  • Explain the roles of the board and the executive director.
  • Describe how the employee's job contributes to the organization's goals.
  • Assign a buddy to serve as an informal guide.
  • Arrange for the new employee to virtually shadow their supervisor to learn more about the organization and its culture.
  • Discuss performance expectations and explain the annual performance review process.

First Month

  • Identify performance and professional development goals.
  • Enroll employee in any required training programs, such as health and safety training.
  • Ensure the employee understands additional learning opportunities, including internal and external resources.

Beyond the First Month

  • Continue to meet virtually or in person with newer employees monthly to check in.
  • Ask the employee if they have everything they need to be successful.
  • Make sure timely performance evaluations are completed. For a new employee, an evaluation, which can be done virtually, could be held at 6 months and then one year and annually after that.
  • Ensure each employee’s performance is connected to the organization’s strategic planning outcomes and impact measurements.
  • Follow up on professional development opportunities.
  • Make sure staff meetings are engaging, all voices are heard, and employees who have exceeded expectations are recognized.
  • Monitor that PTO is taken so that employees are able to recharge when needed.

At Three Months

  • Meet virtually or in person with the new employee to discuss what is going well and what could be improved.
  • Meet virtually or in person with the new employee and their supervisor to discuss the orientation process and any additional training that would be helpful for the employee.
  • Ask the new employee to provide feedback on the orientation process.

Helpful Resources:

BetterTeam New Hire Checklist
The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Practical tips for new-employee orientation by Alicia Abell
Free Management Library: Orienting new employees (new hires, on-boarding) by Carter McNamara


Please email April at with any comments or questions. 


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