As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to evolve and shift, most companies have continuously had to implement creative solutions to problems that used not to exist. One problem many have had to face, among a long list of others, is thoughtfully and successfully onboarding new employees remotely.
My name is Katie, I am the Marketing Specialist at Greene Resources. I was the first internal employee that Greene Resources hired and fully onboarded remotely in the COVID-19 Pandemic. As I look back on the past five months, I recognize the ways in which many of my co-workers and teammates played an integral role in my smooth transition. I would like to share a few things that I believe companies should consider to effectively, carefully, and intentionally onboard a new employee remotely.
As I prepared to walk into our office on the morning of August 17 to retrieve my computer and keyboard, I felt prepared and confident. My manager took time before my first day to ensure I knew directions to the office, which elevator to get on, who would be meeting me in the lobby, and exactly what to expect upon arrival. When I now reflect, knowing what I do about my manager’s schedule, I am floored that she still made time to ensure my comfortability going to the office, send me detailed instructions about my arrival, and lay out an entire schedule for my first two weeks of work.
Immediately, when I accepted my position and made plans for my first day of work, my manager ensured every single detail about safety and beginning my job were communicated thoroughly. As a fellow Type-A individual, I felt incredibly cared for simply because I received an email walking me through exactly what Day 1 would look like- down to the parking spot that was most convenient to access the front door.
Beyond my first day, my manager, my teammates, the leadership team, and every other individual with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work has demonstrated thoughtful and thorough communication- something that I now know is modeled from the top down and is implemented in every single role within our organization.
Feeling prepared is an essential part of effectively transitioning or onboarding into any new role. The world of remote work brings many new challenges and obstacles to overcome. Not only are people facing the challenges of faulty internet, pesky pets, and roommates and family members who need attention, but our technology teams are also facing the reality of people not being quite as tech savvy as they maybe once thought. Within my first month of working for Greene, my computer died, and my Internet failed more times than I would like to honestly admit. Luckily for me, our IT Team was in the process of rolling out an entirely new remote system for submitting tech support tickets.
Because Greene Resources and our Tech geniuses were prepared for the difficulty that came with onboarding an employee remotely, each of my problems was greeted with more than sufficient help, generosity, and comfort. I feel as though I am set up well and I am empowered to do my job well because of the people that have gone before me to think through the potential issues that could arise when a new employee begins work remotely.
Invest in an Inclusive Culture
From my very first interactions with internal Greene Resources employees, I knew I was entering into a diverse, inclusive, welcoming, and fun community. Before COVID, when a new employee walked in for their first day at Greene Resources, a green carpet would be rolled out before them with all of their new coworkers high fiving them as they made their way to their desk. When COVID hit and our office went fully remote, our Leadership Team pivoted and found a new way to engage employees while onboarding on their first day to ensure they felt the full welcome entourage.
As I walked into the office on my first day to pick up my computer, I was greeted by the entire Leadership Team on a Zoom call with “Welcome, Katie!” backgrounds. Any fear or hesitation immediately dissolved when I saw the faces of the company so thrilled to greet me. There is something to be said for members of our leadership team carving out time in their day to ensure I felt welcomed and excited.
Further than my first day, I felt nervous about making friends and getting to the point of making real connections with my co-workers. Almost immediately, when I logged onto Microsoft Teams, I was greeted by numerous Greene Team members dropping by to say hi, welcome me to the company, and find common ground on which we could relate. Nobody forced my now co-workers to be kind, inclusive, and welcoming to me- it is just who they are, it is a lifestyle that is modeled by every leader, manager, and entry-level employee I’ve met at Greene.
Though we don’t yet see an end in sight to the days of working from home or onboarding remotely, we can definitely admit we’ve all gotten a *little* better at it. As we continue to walk down this unpaved road together, I hope we can continue to grow together, looking out for each other, empowering each other to show up each day with our all, and being as welcoming as we possibly can- even through the computer screen.