The agency sector, like many others, has undergone a number of changes, particularly the move to remote work. Replacing office culture and face-to-face contact with virtual catch-ups, remote work posed a lot of challenges to agencies.

Polymensa explored the sector’s remote work challenges and found the most heated issue to be virtual onboarding. As companies move operations away from the office, there is a growing need to provide an onboarding process that engages new hires and facilitates productivity.

Conducting extensive interviews with 41 progressive companies, Polymensa has created an in-depth virtual onboarding report to help agencies overcome these challenges in a remote environment.

Backed with research from only the best agency onboarding practices, Polymensa’s report will help you navigate the challenges of keeping new hires engaged and providing an office. 

Key stages of virtual onboarding

Polymensa’s research found that the majority of companies had similar stages in the onboarding process:

  1. Pre-boarding
  2. 1st day
  3. 1st-2nd week
  4. The next 30-60-90 days

Detailed pre-boarding plan

Polymensa’s research found that companies who implemented a well thought-out pre-boarding plan were more likely to retain their new hires. The majority of companies that provided recruits with plans saw a significant decrease in the number of employees leaving during the probation period.

The level of detail was key to each agency’s pre-boarding plan to help ensure new hires were well-equipped with what they needed to do. Checklists were often used via spreadsheets or systems to help achieve this and examples of the most popular systems used can be found in the Virtual Onboarding Report.

Company organisational charts

As part of the pre-boarding plan, many companies included company org-charts that included photos of team-members and their department. This was an effective strategy in helping new hires feel welcomed and provided them with an overview of how each department was organised.

Books that represent company culture

Some agencies sent out books to new hires as part of the onboarding process, reflecting their values and culture. One company in particular used their EOS framework to send a copy of Traction to new hires which helped reflect their specific values and principles.

Meeting the founders/CEOS/MDS virtually

The most successful companies’ onboarding processes included an opportunity to meet company executives and founders. This provided new hires with a sense of belonging and helped them feel welcomed;  something which is especially important in a remote environment.

Though an effective strategy, it wasn’t always possible for companies to make these virtual meets happen because of their sheer size. Organisations with 150+ staff often encountered problems with this approach but crafted their own solutions in response. Instead of one-to-one meetings with execs, these agencies set up group Q&A’s with board execs and recorded personalised welcome messages.

Measurements of success

In measuring the success of their virtual onboarding practices, the majority of agencies measured their progress in three ways:

  • Employee progression

At each 30/60/90 day mark, surveys were conducted by agencies to check employee progression and assess whether they were reaching their set goals or not.

  • Line manager performance

Some agencies received feedback from new hires on their line managers via surveys. These helped reveal how big of a role managers were having in the progression of new recruits, as well as checking if they were providing enough support. 

  • Rating employee satisfaction

The majority of companies conducted surveys to assess employee satisfaction, in particular, whether the company was meeting the expectations of new hires. Out of every company that received a negative response, one would result in a new hire leaving during the probation period.

Polymensa provides tailor-made learning & development services to agencies. For more information on how they can help you, feel free to visit: 

34 pages of practical tips to improve your virtual onboarding

The full report contains plenty more great tips for your agency. If you have any questions, we’re always happy to help out. Feel free to get in touch with

Polymensa virtual onboarding report