Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Think back to your first day on the job. What was your first impression of your team and organization? How did that make you feel?
I remember my first day at my first professional job clearly:
I remember walking up to my office door, and my name was already on the office welcome sign
Reaction: “Wow! They seem excited for me to join the team!”
I remember that my business cards were already on my desk
Reaction: “Woah! I was only hired a week ago and they already have my business cards? I feel so official.”
I remember having a welcome meeting with my supervisors
Reaction: “Phew! They’re not so scary after all.”
I remember having a meeting with a person that previously had my role
Reaction: “I’m not in this alone. I have a great resource to help me with any questions I have”
In a world where so many roles have transitioned to remote or hybrid, it is a great time to stop and consider: how am I consciously making a first impression in this remote environment?
Statistics compiled by Click Boarding, an onboarding software company in Eden Prairie, Minn., show the value of a structured onboarding process or program:
69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.
New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years.
Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity.
While an all-encompassing onboarding program may not be something you can take-on right now, here are three simple logistical strategies to get your new team member started on their remote-onboarding journey!
Ask yourself the Guiding Question(s)
Before welcoming someone onboard, ask yourself:
What is this experience teaching them about me (as their supervisor)?
What is it teaching them about their team?
What is it teaching them about their department?
What is it teaching them about their organization?
MOST IMPORTANTLY, what is this experience teaching them about themselves and their value to the organization?
As you begin mapping out your plan, use these questions to guide the experience. Check-in with these questions frequently to make sure that your team member will be properly assimilated to the team, the organization and their new role. By asking these questions, you can check-in with yourself as to whether the experience accurately reflects the culture - something that isn't always so easily transferrable through the screen.
Plan your Welcomes
Welcomes happen more organically in the brick-and-mortar office environment. People may walk in and out of the office and introduce themselves, bump into each other in the breakroom, or even share an awkward bathroom introduction. A remote environment requires more intentional welcomes.
Be in contact with them by phone prior to their first day and/or send a welcome gift!
Start their day with a virtual coffee chat with you, their supervisor.
Schedule a virtual Pizza Party. Have pizza delivered to each team’s home and have a virtual informal meeting. (Worried about allergies and diet restrictions? Send them each an e-Gift Card to Uber Eats, GRUBHUB, Seamless etc.).
Think about who they will be working with cross-functionally, and schedule virtual meet-and-greets.
Conclude their first week with a virtual “cheers” to the weekend.
MAKE IT YOU!: For each of these, intentionally think about what aligns with your culture. If your company values wellness, maybe it is a Healthy Lunch instead of a Pizza Party or maybe it is a Friday Meditation or Yoga Flow instead of a virtual “cheers.”
Plan a Pre-Boarding
In the traditional office, you know what resources are readily available to your new team member.
You know that:
programs are installed and ready to be accessed on their computers.
they can receive their phone calls.
they have access to the supply closet.
their team is around and accessible to answer questions.
In the remote world, these are all unknowns that should be resolved prior to day one. There is nothing more stressful than trying to login to your first day of work and realizing that you cannot access your virtual meeting and materials. On top of that, you don't know your team yet and don't know who to reach out to ask for help.
If budget allows:
Explore what technology resources your new team member has and what technology needs to be supplied.
Explore if they have a functional workspace and what you may be able to provide to help them comfortably start in their role.
Send them initial office supplies or provide them with access to the account to order initial supplies to get them started.
At a minimum:
Schedule a call with your IT department to make sure that they can access all programs and can receive phone calls.
Identify individuals that are readily accessible and willing to answer questions throughout the work day, request their preferred contact method and provide that information to your new hire prior to day one.
The first day on a new job can always be stressful. Starting behind a screen can add an additional layer of uncertainty.
Let's get them started on the right foot with these three quick tips!