Becoming a manager was always on my “career goals” list – it coinciding with a global pandemic was certainly not!
When I hired my first team member back in February, I was more worried about things like getting essential paperwork done and choosing a welcome gift. But when the pandemic hit Europe, I found myself having to get up to speed as quickly as possible on remote onboarding as my new team member was about to start three days after the lockdown began in the UK. However, the time frame also had its advantages: I had no time to be worried or stressed, rather just focused on the key areas of remote onboarding.
German Team Lead
Here is what I’ve learned so far and my top tips to help your own onboarding processes:
1) Preparation: really important to make sure everything is aligned and well prepared before the new employee joins:
- Make sure all necessary equipment (Laptop, keyboard etc) is sent out on time to ensure a quick start
- Check onboarding sheets are up-to-date and contain all the information needed
- Make sure a “welcome to the team” meeting is scheduled and everybody has the chance to say hello
- Schedule 1:1 meetings with key colleagues who will be working closely with the new employee
- Make a precise plan for the first few weeks of working – it will help you stick to a certain routine and it also ensures that you keep track of the goals you want your employee to achieve within the first months.
Important note: If you can, send something personal – A nice touch was a branded Movemeon mug, so our new employee felt like part of the team straight away (even if only in video chats). Since they also recently moved to London, our welcome gift was a potted plant to bring the outside in while on lockdown.
- Make sure all communication tools used in your team are set up (e.g. login to your slack channels etc)
- Make yourself approachable: set up communication agreements, especially for immediate questions (Slack, WhatsApp etc) – where is it best to reach you / where are you the most responsive
- Have a daily meeting with agreed actions for each day
- Share a task sheet (e.g. Trello) and agree on deadlines
3) Company culture/team-building: not work-related topics
- Make sure virtual watercooler situations are still happening – the most crucial thing for a new employee is feeling like part of the team. Since you can’t have a quick chat while making a cup of coffee in the morning, make sure you have weekly video calls for non-work related topics (we’ve called it random coffee and the hottest topic for weeks was the infamous Netflix show, Tiger King)
- Quiz time – As you’ve probably seen all over social media, the pub quiz is back by virtual demand. So much so that we now have a weekly Thursday quiz – its been a great way of staying connected with colleagues while answering random questions about tennis players I have never heard of. In our case, our new employee turned out to be a quiz guru making them an even greater addition to their team!.
Remote onboarding might first sound frightening. However, it is also a chance for you to review how good your onboarding process is in general. Furthermore, it is key to not stand still and to be adaptable during this global pandemic – my new team member already contributed so much in their first few weeks and I am very grateful that Movemeon decided against pushing the start date to the end of lockdown.
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