Virtual Onboarding When F2F isn't an option

The Forbes article below offers an interesting view of using virtual environments for onboarding.
VR and simulation environments are being used more often now . If you have interest in the future- it has already arrived in many business and educational environments.

Please add your comments, views, reviews, observations on using virtual environments in any capacity.

Emotional. “Almost in-person” is hugely risky for emotional communication. Roughly 10% of communication comes in the words. 35% is tone. 55% is body language. While you can deliver words “almost in-person” and can get most of tone, body language doesn’t come through completely, potentially leading to an “almost emotional” connection. So, use “almost in-person” tools for assimilation and acceleration when face-to-face is not an option; but compensate for the gaps and risks with over-communication in other ways and other times.
While virtual tools are not the right choice for all situations, they can make a big impact when leveraged appropriately.”



Every year, my unit takes up the challenge of organising an onboarding for more than a 100 young adults who begin a 2 year leadership journey.

In the last 2 years, we have conducted virtual Pre Institute sessions which form like the first contact we have before the Face-to-Face training sessions.

Reading this article opens up my imaginations about the possibility of including VR and simulation environments for onboarding. I am so excited about the FIVE A’s (aligning, acquiring, accommodating, assimilating and accelerating) and will love to explore each.


The breakdown of communication into direct, indirect, and emotional categories makes so much sense to me. Communication needs to be deliberate, especially when we are separated from those we are communicating with. Each step further away from someone (face-to-face, over the phone, through chat, in an email,) leaves more and more room for miscommunication to seep in.

In an article I wrote, The Time is Now…And the Person is YOU, I underline the necessity and benefits of communicating deliberately and in different forms to create connections, maintain relationships, and build rapport with remote team members. Virtual tools make our communication availability easier, but they also make our communication strategies more complex.

I appreciated how the Forbes article dissected the onboarding process to aligning, acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members. These missions seem clear and allow us to consider how virtual tools for communication can be used throughout or even in specific stages of onboarding. Again, I think strategy is key.

Does anyone have personal experiences where virtual tools have been implemented successfully and thoughtfully? Conversely, does anyone have personal experience(s) where virtual tools were not implemented successfully or thoughtfully? What made the experience what it was?


Thank you for your excellent article and for your deep and thoughtful response too. The communication categories do make sense as these are vital to take into consideration when designing onboarding/learning experiences.


Hi Jemima,
Fabulous to read about your virtual Pre Institute sessions! Onboarding100 young adults definitely sounds challenging! VR and simulation -these web 3 technologies are exciting and seem to be more available for exploring and piloting new learning experiences than in past years. The five A’s also captured my attention as action verbs segueing in a meaningful way, notable for onboarding.