Our newest recruit talks virtual onboarding

Covid-19 has seen employers adapt to new, virtual ways of working. But organisations are now grappling with the next phase – finding the best return to work path for their people. With a hybrid approach a likely option for many, virtual working is going nowhere fast.

While we’ve adopted hybrid working and can attest to the benefits of a flexible, people-led approach, particularly when it comes to mental health, we also know the value in getting to grips with remote processes, such as onboarding.

So we’ve asked our new Learning Advisor, Hayley Price all about her virtual onboarding experience with People Business, to shed light on the topic.

Hayley, what were your expectations for your virtual onboarding and were they met?

Having never joined a team virtually before, I’m not sure I really knew what to expect. There was a sense that joining a new company remotely would be a strange experience, but the recruitment process had helped put me at ease. From my very first contact with People Business everything had been personable, clear and informative – I felt confident that the onboarding process would be no different and I was right. The professional yet relaxed nature of People Business was evident the whole way through my onboarding process.

What steps were taken before your first day?

Before starting I was sent a plan outlining my onboarding journey, including a framework of what my first two weeks would look like and information around learning topics and training opportunities. The documents referenced useful information, clearly setting out key tasks to complete during the induction process. I also received check-in phone calls ahead of joining allowing me the chance to ask any questions or queries.

Can you tell us what your first day was like?

Whilst the majority of my first week was spent working from home, I was lucky enough to go into the office on my first day so had the opportunity to collect my welcome pack, laptop and most importantly, chocolate, in person. I was greeted by Julie, from the Business Support team on arrival, and everything was already set up (emails, logins, passwords, etc.) so completing tasks at home, for the rest of the week, was nice and seamless.

It was also reassuring to see that Covid protocols had been set up in the office including; protective screens around desks, individual hand sanitisers, temperature check-in station on arrival, clearly marked pathways around the office and spaced-out seating areas.

How about your first few weeks, how have you found them?

They’ve been going well – it was comforting knowing that after the initial two weeks the induction process didn’t just end abruptly. Everyone’s been very understanding and knows that getting to grips and settling into a new role takes time and that there’s no single sign off point for the process – learning’s a life-long thing.

What part of the process do you feel People Business got spot on?

Maintaining a real team environment virtually. Whether that’s through the social group on WhatsApp, team energiser meetings or those quick check in calls – there’s been a real focus on supporting one another and working collaboratively. As the People Business name suggests, putting people first.

The connection with others doesn’t just make the day-to-day more enjoyable it’s a great way to understand more about People Business as a company, my role and what’s expected of me.

What’s been the most challenging part of the journey so far?

The whole process has been a learning curve for me, I’ve had to be mindful of the fact it’s a different experience and adjust my days accordingly, for example, virtual meetings drain more energy than face-to-face interactions so scheduling in breaks and taking five minutes to stretch and rest my eyes has helped maintain my focus. Also, having open lines of communication – it would be easy when working from home to make assumptions about how things are going in those early days but asking for feedback and having regular 1:1s has been really beneficial.

To what extent do you feel your onboarding experience helped you be productive in your role?

As with a lot of jobs, learning is often achieved as you go along, so the fact People Business has created a supportive environment both face-to-face and virtually in which I feel comfortable trying new things and asking questions has been fundamental to my productivity.

What advice would you give to an employer who’s about to onboard someone remotely?

Immersing new starters into the company culture can be difficult when remote onboarding but it’s an important one to get right. I would urge employers to get creative about ways to engage new starters with the company culture and values. With the loss of in-office routines and structures that previously helped uphold organisational culture. It’s vital employers think outside the box and find ways to adapt to a more flexible, virtual setting.

With thanks to Hayley.

People Business provide services on related topics such as returning to work/hybrid working and employee wellbeing. We’re also creating a ‘Best practices for virtual onboarding’ guide which we’ll be launching this July. Let us know if you’d be interested in receiving a copy by emailing enquires@peoplebusiness.co.uk