Organizations and their teams are currently faced with immense challenges due to Covid-19. Now, imagine having to onboard a new hire and get them through the probationary period without ever having met them. This is precisely what the team at //Seibert/Media was tasked with when they had to craft my remote onboarding experience.
Hi, my name is Sophie, and I’ve been part of the //Seibert/Media universe since April 1st, 2020. I’m assigned to the Atlassian Licensing team, but the thing is, until now, my team has only ever seen me through my screen. Is a smooth start as a newbie even possible without ever having met one’s colleagues in person? How are the members of my team supposed to train me for the role under these circumstances?
Initially, I was anxious that my start would be delayed, but that all went away the moment my laptop was delivered to my doorstep. So there I was, on April 1st, sitting nervously in front of my computer, waiting for the big welcome.
Everyone interested in meeting me on my first day was invited to do so in //Seibert/Media’s digital kitchenette. This is basically a Google Meet room so that employees can just hang out with each other digitally as they would in person, and enjoy small talk. I have to admit it was pretty strange to sit at my temporary workstation, knowing that strangers were watching me and that I could watch them.
To provide me with a halfway normal onboarding, my team and others responsible for administrative matters put together a remote onboarding plan for me. Part of this plan entailed being trained by my team via Google meetings. Through the split-screen function, I was able to see and replicate all the necessary tasks my colleagues carried out.
These training sessions were recorded so that I could access and review them at any time. This was vital for me as it gave me the change to review the learning material and familiarize myself with relevant topics.
Home alone, but not lonely
As you can imagine, a potential problem was being isolated from my team. How do you prevent yourself from feeling lonely or left out? To counteract this, the admin team set up regular conversations and meetings with a variety of colleagues for the purpose of my onboarding.
These virtual meetings were basically there for me to get an overview of other teams and their responsibilities. It also allowed me to just have regular conversations and get to know a broader spectrum of people.
Our Agile Coach, Clemens, set up and conducted performance reviews, which were basically put in place to just touch base with me and find out how I was coping. I would never have thought that I would never feel lonely, working alone at home! I felt so welcomed by everyone at the company - like a real part of the //S/M family.
A solid start in my duties and in the team
Before ever hearing about “remote onboarding,” I was skeptical. One of the biggest worries was that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill the requirements. Or to put it bluntly, that I’d fail at mastering this type of onboarding.
How could they possibly answer all the questions I had? Could I learn what I needed to with no one sitting right next to me, explaining everything? These were the kinds of questions that frequently floated around in my head. But I can tell you, my worries were completely unfounded.
Everyone on my team was and still are open books, all ears and ready to help me at any given time. Spontaneous questions? No worries, join a virtual meeting room! Problems were solved quickly and easily.
By the time you read this, I’ll have had the 1st of 4 formal onboarding feedback sessions. To be honest, I’ve grown used to all this remote work, and it almost seems normal to me now. In case I ever do feel loneliness creeping up, all I have to do is jump into a video chat, muted, and with no video.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret: being able to work from home in jogging pants is a job perk that I enjoy immensely. However, I am really looking forward to finally getting the chance to have my official “Hello, I’m Sophie!” welcome with my lovely colleagues.