Employees with in-demand skills can now work anywhere in the world which places a new challenge for employers trying to attract and retain team members.
Virtual onboarding is arguably one of the trickiest parts of the hiring process. When working remotely, it can be difficult to know how well employees are adapting to the new company during the first couple days of starting with a new organization, especially if they are based in different locations and time zones. Since March 2020, ApplyBoard has onboarded over 900+ team members, which means that many of our team members have not yet stepped foot in our physical workplaces. Given the pace and the number of team members joining remotely, it’s more important than ever to establish a strong culture.
In order to make a good first impression, it’s integral to make sure all new team members are supported on their first day and have all the tools they need, whether it is their computer, software, or an internal support system. Below is a roundup of best practices and lessons learned to keep top of mind for onboarding.
Make the Onboarding Process Sacred
Here at ApplyBoard, all leaders know that each new hire will spend their first two weeks in company onboarding. This time is sacred and reserved for onboarding. We aim to get everyone off to a strong start by inviting them to an action packed two weeks of onboarding activities. It’s important to establish time within a new employee’s schedule that fosters learning and collaboration with their peers. New Hire Cohorts allow newbies to meet other new colleagues across the organization. A “new hire buddy” is also essential when we’re all working from home and need direction on who we can go to for those inevitable first day jitters.
Build An Interactive Onboarding Experience
Building a mixture of instructor-led training and online self-directed sessions that cover common onboarding topics is critical for a successful and efficient onboarding experience. For example, we have our own online guide that’s filled with general FAQs, as well as elearning modules that cover everything from diversity, equity and inclusion practices within the organization as well as business operations and an emphasis on our core mission, vision and values as an organization.
Onboarding within a New Hire Cohort is worth considering if your company is large in size. We have standardized our schedule to have two fixed start dates a month. Not only will it help new hires to network and collaborate, but it will make it more efficient for Human Resources teams to plan a big wave of newcomers if they are all starting at the same time. The last thing you want is to have a newcomer to the team feeling alone, like the only new person in a sea of veterans.
Empower The Team To Have a Voice In Innovation
Establishing touchpoints throughout the candidate’s onboarding experience and being responsive to feedback is essential for any evolving workplace that is looking to maintain its growth and innovate. We established 30, 60, and 90-day check points throughout the onboarding journey where new staff members can share their honest feedback and suggestions about their experience. We’re constantly evaluating the onboarding process in search of improvements and innovation to ensure overall team satisfaction.
Unite A Global Team Through Knowledge-Sharing and Fun Meetings
In a global company, it’s also important to proactively set up meetings with cross-functional team leads so that more collaboration and knowledge-sharing across the company can occur. An example of this is setting up ‘Lunch & Learns’ where leaders meet with other team members in other departments to teach and share their expertise with each other. This helps broaden newcomers’ understanding of the scale of the company.
Given we have team members in over 25+ countries, we also make an effort to ensure we’re honouring and acknowledging different employee styles and work cultures. We are constantly planning ways that we can foster discussion, collaboration and productivity through recurring video calls and webinars that involve the full company i.e. our vision days, bi-weekly company wide meetings and team socials. It’s important to seriously consider the intent behind these meetings and ensure all team members’ are gaining value and enlightenment that will help their job performance.
Plan Beyond the First 90 Days
Most importantly, the onboarding journey shouldn’t just end after the team member’s first three months. The onboarding experience should become the start of an ongoing two-way communication method that helps to strengthen the company and employee relationships.
While we have been tweaking our approach over time, we believe these five steps are key to success to ensuring employees start their journey with us with the best footing possible.
Susy Martins is the Global Head, People & Culture at ApplyBoard.