10 tips to avoid virtual fatigue in remote onboarding events

Nov 12, 2020 | Development

Content provided by: Cappfinity

Insights developed from running a number of onboarding events inform 10 top tips from Cappfinity.

The pandemic drove many businesses to a fully remote working model at breakneck speed, leaving them grappling with a myriad of challenges as they tried to help employees make the transition to a virtual workplace.

Fast-forward six months and businesses are facing new challenges – from combating virtual fatigue to upgrading digital experiences for new starters, ensuring they are energised and engaged employees from day one.

Since March, Cappfinity has created a number of virtual onboarding events for our clients. Our first took place shortly after lockdown, which stretched our thinking and provided a raft of learnings despite years of virtual facilitation experience.

Feedback at the end of the event was overwhelmingly positive, with 100% of attendees rating the entire event very good or excellent. In the end we believe we built something engaging and fresh, hopefully creating a new approach to virtual development.

Below we share our learnings from this experience and more recent virtual development days we have run. Here are our top 10 tips for creating engaging digital development and onboarding events:

1. Frame it right – pre-event comms need to build excitement about the upcoming Digital Residential, rather than fear of ‘just another two days on zoom’.

2. Coach the peer coaches – like any Residential, Digital Residentials can’t be all about learning new models and tools – there has to be a big focus on solving their real-world challenges. Making sure the delegates can effectively coach each other means a whole network of supportive coaches to challenge each other to action.

3. Scaffold the event with an online platform – a platform like Cappfinity’s ‘My Strengths Coach’ where delegates can see each other’s contributions, learn more about each other and access additional materials helps support the Digital Residential before, during and after the event.

4. Curtain raisers are not just for theatre – a short warm-up event the day before with fun activities and some informal networking begins to build cohesion amongst the group outside of the ‘main event’.

5. Silent zooms are silent – magic happens when mental space is provided – even virtually.

6. Lunching is a 60-minute endeavour – we did experiment with ‘walk & talk’ activities over lunch, but recognised that participants needed a complete break, as well as knowing in advance what time lunch was going to happen.

7. Big questions require some thought – we recognised the need to pause before throwing people into a breakout with a group of strangers – to provide an opportunity to reflect on the questions beforehand.

8. The random breakout generator isn’t always random – the larger the group, the longer the session, the less likely the word ‘random’ will come into play. We found that manual intervention was required to enable the networking across the group.

9. Not just choirs need multiple voices – two facilitators, ideally of differing styles, plus a guest speaker and extra coaches for the ‘peer coaching sessions’ – all provide those critical mental shifts and variety for the participants.

10. Take care of tech – digital producers are essential for events of more than 20 participants to monitor communication, make contact with missing participants and manage the tech so that everything runs smoothly.

And so, despite virtual fatigue, remote development and onboarding events can be a positive experience for your new starters and employees if you push the boundaries and take the right approach.

Whilst we will probably see a transition back into the workplace, there will still be a place for virtual delivery. Employers who take the plunge and do something different now will be more likely to stand out in a crowded talent market in the future.

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