Everyone knows how hard it is to be the new person at your company, even more so if you had just graduated from college and this is your first “big kid job.” There is so much to learn, a lot of information to remember, and people to meet. On the bright side at least you finally get your own desk in an office space, your hard work has finally paid off.
Now imagine starting that overwhelming experience in front of nobody else but a computer screen, at a makeshift desk in your bedroom. Sounds really odd and near impossible, doesn’t it? Well due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, many companies and industries alike all over the world had to completely restructure their onboarding process and shift it online after a brief hiring freeze.
After almost a year, the world is still trying to get used to onboarding virtually and making new hires feel well trained and welcomed, even from miles away in the comfort of our own homes. In this post, I will provide you with a few tips and tricks to survive training and onboarding online and some additional things to keep in mind if you are already an employee of a company that is hiring remotely.
Congratulations on your new position! I know this transitional time in your life doesn’t look like what you thought it might, but that doesn’t mean it will be more difficult, it will just look a little different. Now that you got the hard part of getting a job out of the way, let’s look at a few tricks to get acclimated to your new role from the comfort of your own home.
Virtual Coffee Breaks: Taking 15 minutes out of your workday to meet with new coworkers your first few weeks seems like a no-brainer, but it is really impactful! It helps fill those micro-interactions that you would usually have in the office with your colleagues. Once you’ve had a short chat to get to know some of them, it opens the door and makes it easier for you to be able to ask them questions or for getting help with something.
Check-ins with HR: Weekly check-ins with human resources, hiring managers, and others who are in charge of onboarding really help you acclimate to your new role. These short meetings will help make sure you are on track with training, important to-dos, and other onboarding processes. They helped create your company’s new online new hire training and are a great resource!
Take Responsibility: I know there’s a lot thrown at you in your first few weeks in your new role but it is important to organize yourself sooner rather than later. Additionally, make sure you are asking questions when you have them and reaching out more than you would in a typical office environment because it’s easy to get stuck in our own to-do list.
Use All of Your Resources: There are a lot of resources available for you as a new hire and it is important to take advantage of them. Dive into the culture of your company by setting up virtual coffee chats, joining communication channels, and attending virtual happy hours. Utilize your team members, most importantly your manager, your trainers, and fellow new hires.
New Hire Group: One of the most helpful things is connecting with other new hires. This extends to individuals with different roles or who work in different parts of your company, they’re still going through a similar process as you! Create group messages to help one another and get to know each other along with creating weekly scheduled meetings as a group. Having contact with others who are onboarding at the same time is extremely helpful and helps to build community and culture and makes you feel like you have an extra support system.
You found a few individuals who fit the roles you need perfectly but training these people for their new roles looks a little different now. Here are a few important things to keep in mind while onboarding virtually.
Training: Create scheduled training that is well structured and that is well thought out. This includes making sure the new hires and current employees/trainers are on the same page as for what is expected of them for these trainings. Have these trainings with other new hires so they have an opportunity to meet each other and collaborate on the training projects together. Have trainings done by different people to give new hires more introductions and to know who they can go to for what
Company Values and Culture: Emphasize them early and often. Your new hires are getting a lot of information thrown at them that they can relearn but these are important to know right off the bat. Have an org chart to help them better visualize the company’s structure. It would be beneficial for mentors to be both folks who have worked in the company for a longer period of time and have individuals who have just finished their training not too long ago. This way the new hire has access to those with a variety of helpful advice and job experience.
Sometimes when you’ve been in a job for a little while it’s difficult to remember when you were the youngest on the clock learning the ropes yourself and most of you didn’t have to start your career journey virtually.
Reach Out: When someone gets hired at your company, and even more so in an entry-level role, reach out to them to do virtual coffee or a short meeting to get to know one another. It takes a lot of pressure off them for you to introduce yourself and helps them meet people. You can also share any tips and tricks that you’ve learned during your time at the company or think about things you wish you knew when you were in their shoes.
Mentoring and Training: Think back on a time where you had a mentor and take note of the ways they helped you grow personally and professionally and try to implement that into your mentoring strategy. If you are doing training for new employees, mention at the end of their training that if they have any questions, feel free to reach out to you and give them your contact information. It sounds pretty simple and obvious, but a little goes a long way and new hires are really appreciative of those efforts.
Starting a new position is a lot to take in, and even more so when you have to do it behind a computer screen. Regardless of these new barriers, we have to face, congratulations on either landing the job, finding the right candidate, or expanding your team! Even though we can’t be together in person right now, doesn’t mean the hiring and training stops. We just have to be creative, adapt effectively, and keep these things in mind!