Streamlining employee onboardings during COVID
December 10, 2020
Virtual employees have become a peculiarity of the COVID-era office place. Hired and trained over Zoom while the rest of the office works from home, these employees are now commonplace on work teams across the country. While many have quickly become impactful members of their organizations—and many others deeply embedded into their companies’ workflow and ethos—challenges exist in integrating these employees into extant company processes and cultures.
For many firms, onboarding and training virtual employees has taken up a significant degree of time and energy. Many companies’ internal processes, procedures, and software were not designed to be taught over Zoom, leaving virtual employees feeling frustrated and demotivated during their first few weeks at work. For teams, it often feels paradoxical despite being in contact with new hires every day over Zoom and email, they remain relative strangers.
With COVID-19 cases increasing in states across the country, these challenges will likely persist well into the new year. We will go over based on the experience from running VC firm Spectrum Business Ventures. As we tackle these questions and more to learn more about how businesses and organizations smooth the process.
When it comes to onboarding employees during the work-from-home era, the traditional “sink or swim” model is simply obsolete.
“Working from home, while necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, effectively places your entire team into silos”. “To effectively onboard a new employee, management must first acknowledge this fact and accept that, without a proactive and integrative onboarding process, new hires will struggle to learn your company’s ethos.”
I recommend frontloading onboarding sessions into the new hire’s first few days with the company. He said that, by doing so, hires will be presented with their full range of responsibilities up-front, affording them time to learn and reach out with follow up inquiries.
Most importantly, management should cut new hires some slack.
“Joining a new company, even one that you love, always involves a period of transition and adaptation. The pandemic makes this markedly more difficult,” he said. “But incorporating new hires into your team is as much a mental game as it is a logistical one. Reassure your new team members that they are adapting well. Be amiable and generous with your time—they will respect you immensely for it.”
Utilize your team
The responsibility for onboarding new clients does not need to fall solely on management. Instead, management should integrate experienced employees into the process. Often, these employees already handle myriad tasks for their companies—and leaning on them for support with onboarding can be helpful to all parties involved.
I recommend asking key members of your team to block out “office hours” for new hires, in which they can pose any questions, comments, or observations they may have.
“This builds an important sense of camaraderie between teammates, which is integral to running a successful venture. For one, it gives your team an opportunity to interact and to build trust and connections. It also helps your new, virtual hires learn more about the company from the individuals conducting its day-to-day business.”
The best way to learn about a company, Raizada said, is to speak directly with those who have the most experience driving forward daily tasks in a safe, non-judgmental setting.
“Many of your veteran teammates are experienced in navigating onboarding processes and can answer specific questions—work-related or otherwise—that the new hire may have,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”