2 Apr 2020
The virtual onboarding experience of our newest recruit
If you had asked me a few months back whether I’d ever start a new job working from home (not by design), I’d probably say no! There’s something about going into the office and meeting your new colleagues that is refreshing, nerve wracking, exhilarating - all at the same time. But here I am today, in my second week at my new company where I am being virtually onboarded. More on that below.
Let’s go back to a few days before my first day at Prezzee. Companies were slowly moving to work from home schedules, some people were losing their jobs and everyone was (and continues to be) scared of the mighty coronavirus - a term that no one had heard of a few months back but one without which no sentence feels complete these days. Naturally, I started to think how all this would impact my new job - How will I start? Where will I start? Will I even start?
Create expectations with a written plan
Fast forward to the morning of 23/03/2020, my first day at Prezzee. Thankfully the team at Prezzee had already anticipated this unusual scenario and had made arrangements for onboarding me, virtually. I was given an induction plan so I knew the meetings I had in my calendar for the week - whom I was meeting, the purpose of those meetings and anything else that was expected of me. Looking back, this was extremely helpful in setting expectations for what was coming my way!
Side but important note: Personally, I’m not all that comfortable on a virtual call because I find it challenging to connect with people that way. And catching a glimpse of myself in the tiny square box on the screen does not help.
Set up a company-wide welcome
The first step in my virtual onboarding was a “Welcome Rhea” meet which was attended by the majority of the company as a way to introduce themselves and extend a welcome. This was a nice initiative - personal, warm and a good way to break the ice and put faces to names (as many as I could remember).
Meet the team to learn about the business
The next part of the onboarding was meeting with individuals from various departments and functions within the business. I’d say, because of the initial welcome meeting, I was in a much better spot to commence these conversations. Of course face to face meetings (remember those?) can facilitate a better connection between individuals but all things considered, this worked out quite well.
Invest in caring about people
One attribute about Prezzee that has shined the brightest during my entire virtual onboarding is how much they care for their employees. Be it providing a WFH checklist to ensure a safe and comfortable work setup, or sending WFH tips emphasising on self care and spending time with family, or providing vaccine vouchers. For me, these things matter a lot.
My overall experience
I’m sure you can tell I’ve had a successful virtual onboarding experience so far. But what I haven’t focused on yet, is the vital role my team played in ensuring that the above experience was possible. It is imperative that the team make the new hire feel connected, included and welcome.
A big advantage of virtual onboarding is that you get to start your first day in a comfortable and familiar home environment and the pace is slightly slower than if you were to start in the office where everyone is part of the hustle and things move at the speed of light. That being said, I do miss experiencing the “office rhythm”, being able to quickly ask/clarify things or just having a face to face interaction with my new colleagues. But that day will come soon… I hope! Also, I realised you are less likely to forget peoples’ names when you chat with them virtually.
I’m happy that my onboarding experience has been good so far and no, I'm not just saying it to impress my new team. I mean it.
Thank you for reading and Stay Safe xx