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5 key steps onboarding employees in the hybrid workplace

30 Apr 2024

Having a streamlined process for Employee onboarding is crucial in any organization and can make or break the success of a new hire. It involves not only providing the necessary tools and training, but also creating a sense of belonging, culture, and engagement. In a hybrid world, where the digital workplace incorporates employees working from different locations and time zones, onboarding can be even more challenging. How do you ensure that your new employees feel welcome, connected, and productive in a hybrid work environment?

In many ways, working digitally is like learning a new language. What apps do we use? What digital channels do we communicate in? What are our “house rules” for communicating and collaborating in our digital platforms?

Use Storyals template to create your own House Rules for Microsoft Teams or your other digital platforms.
You can download it for free here!


At Storyals, we have been onboarding new employees remotely for years, and we have learned some best practices along the way. In this blog post, we will share with you our 5 key steps for how to succeed with employee onboarding in a hybrid workplace.


Step 1: Have a checklist of tasks and responsibilities

One of the first things you need to do when you hire a new employee is to have a checklist of all the tasks and responsibilities that are involved in the onboarding process. There are many people involved in making sure a new employee is onboarded successfully.

At Storyals, we use Microsoft Planner to create and manage our onboarding checklist. We assign tasks to different team members, create buckets for various phases of the onboarding, and attach relevant links to web pages, Intranet pages, and forms. We also share the checklist with the new employees, so they can see what is expected of them and what is coming up next. We have created a generic Storyals Employee Onboarding Plan/Checklist which is available for anyone who needs to onboard a new hire and it’s easy to duplicate and adjust in Planner to fit the role or person you are about to onboard.


Screenshot_generic template I © Storyals


The template is copied and a new plan is created for the new employee.

Screenshot_generic template_copy plan I © Storyals

The manager then shares the plan with the new employee and assigns the tasks to the various team members.


Step 2: Make the new employee feel welcome and valued

Another important step in the onboarding process is to make the new employee feel welcome and valued. In a digital world, the “human touch” becomes even more important and has a great impact on the person joining their new team. It can be in the form of a handwritten message (digital or on paper), a video greeting, or a personal greeting card, expressing your excitement and appreciation for having them on board. Creating a culture of belonging and inclusion is so important. Sending a “Welcome kit” with some branded swag is a simple, yet powerful way to make the new joiner feel part of the team. At Storyals, our employees get a branded mouse pad, water tumbler, name tag, and a green plant to make their physical workspace feel more welcoming!

Storyals welcome kit I © Storyals


We also ensure to introduce our new joiners in our “Social Channel” on Microsoft Teams and in our weekly virtual “All Company meeting”. We also assign each new employee into a “Virtual buddy group”, with other employees based in other geographical locations and who can help them navigate the organization and the digital work environment. The team members in these groups are encouraged to start a Teams chat group, to connect and communicate regularly. This becomes a great way to communicate a bit more casually than if you post a message in the other official company Teams channels.

Welcome to Buddy group

From a “getting to know the team” perspective, team-building activities are of the essence. Ideally these should be done in-person, but if that is not possible, there are other ways to play games and get to know each other virtually. Check out our blog post Fun games for online meetings for inspiration!


Step 3: Teach the new employee how to work in the digital workplace

One of the most challenging aspects of onboarding in a digital or hybrid workplace is to help the new employee learn how to work effectively and efficiently in the digital work environment. This involves not only teaching them the technical skills and tools that they will need to use, but also the soft skills and behaviors that will help them collaborate and communicate with their colleagues and customers.

Some of the things that you need to help the new employee with is:
  • How to use the communication and collaboration platforms that your organization uses, such as Teams, Slack, or Outlook. For example, when to use what and where to post what kind of messages.
  • How to manage their time, avoid distractions, and get focus time through appropriate settings.
  • How to participate in and lead virtual meetings, presentations, and workshops.
  • How to balance their work and personal life and avoid burnout.

At Storyals, we use Microsoft 365 and LMS365 to train our new team members on how to use Microsoft 365 effectively. Storyals various training products provides employees with video-based training courses, based on storytelling, about how to work smarter in the digital workplace of Microsoft 365.

Employee onboarding in a hybrid workplace - inset I © Storyals


Step 4: Optimize the employee’s digital presence

One of the key aspects of working in a digital workplace is to feel good about your digital presence. People will not want to upload a profile picture if they are not happy with the way it looks. At Storyals, we provide our new hires with the opportunity to have their head shot taken by a professional photographer. Our amazing media production team then “brush up” the photo to ensure the employee has a stunning and polished profile picture to proudly use across digital platforms and apps. We also introduce them on our web site (About us) and help them update their profiles on LinkedIn, and other relevant social media sites. We want our new team members to feel confident and proud of their digital presence, and to leverage it to connect and collaborate with others in the industry.

To learn more about optimizing your digital presence you can learn more and get recommendations in our blog post Dress for Success in The Digital Workplace


Screenshot_individual plan_one square I © Storyals


Step 5: Set clear goals, evaluate and improve

The final step in the onboarding process is to include the new employee in the work activities and projects that are relevant and meaningful for their role and career. This will help them apply their skills and knowledge, contribute to the organization's goals and vision, and feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose. At Storyals, we have clear company goals and everyone can see each other’s quarterly rocks, which are individual goals defined each quarter during what we call the “Team Rock setting” event.

Lastly, we share the "Employee onboarding feedback form", to evaluate how the onboarding experience was. What could be improved for the next person who onboards? Was anything missing? What was especially appreciated as a new employee joining the company? When the onboarding is done, and the plan is completed, we conclude the process with a meeting with the direct manager to walk through the experience. When everything has been checked off, we export the plan to Excel, save it in the personal folder of the new employee and delete the onboarding plan in Planner.


Export plan

We hope that these 5 key steps will help you succeed with employee onboarding in your hybrid workplace! 


Feel free to get in touch with us if you are interested in Storyals training courses and programs.



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