How Companies are Handling Remote Onboarding
How are companies handling the onboarding process in this remote world we are living in? Several companies shared the details on how they are making the transition and adapting their onboarding process to help fit the new era of remote work.
Our goal at Poppulo is to make our onboarding process as similar to our in person onboarding program as possible! In order to do this we rely heavily on communication and preparation! A member of our People Operations team works closely with the new hire to ensure they are ready for day one and answer any questions before they start. We send out an employee welcome pack, which includes a laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse, desk supplies, an onboarding plan, Poppulo SWAG and a welcome letter from their manager a few days before their start date. Having this ahead of time allows them to set up their desks and log into their laptop so they are ready on day one for their virtual meetings and onboarding! They are introduced to their teams by their manager who ties in with them regularly during their first few weeks and they are assigned a buddy to help them navigate their first few days and weeks at Poppulo. Lastly, we’ve created a great onboarding learning module that is self-paced includes everything from our company history, and overview of our culture and values, benefits, and helpful tips for their first day. The first few weeks and months at a new company is a time for learning and we really encourage all of our new Poppulites to embrace this time as a learning experience before jumping into the day to day of their roles!
In regards to equipment, we want to make sure that every new hire has everything they need to work from home comfortably. A member of the People Team reaches out prior to their start date to discuss their equipment preferences, and coordinate the shipping. On an employee's first day, the first thing we do is set aside some time with the new hire to make sure their equipment is working properly, and to double check that they have everything they need to be successful working remotely.
When we pivoted to remote onboarding, it was important for us to find a way for new joiners to make connections remotely that used to be made organically in the office. So aside from the 4 week onboarding plan we share with employees which is a combination of virtual trainings, one on one meetings, and LMS content, we have made an effort to create forums that help new joiners feel welcomed and included in our culture. On an employee's first day, a short introduction email is sent out to the company which includes fun facts we ask for ahead of time to be sure everyone can welcome the new hire (and also give the team some built in icebreakers!). Three times a week we hold a team-wide stand-up meeting to keep us all connected, and every Monday we kick-off that meeting by introducing our new hires and taking some time to get to know them. New joiners also are invited to our weekly lunch socials which are meant to replicate lunch in the office - there is no set agenda, the only focus is to take a break together and catch-up.
Here at ZoomInfo, we work together to ensure that everyone's first day is both fun and exciting, especially in our virtual work environment! All new hires start their day by joining our "New Hire Orientation," where they meet with various departments, from HR to IT, and members of our executive team - all via video meetings, of course. We also make one of our first priorities confirming that everyone's new laptop is accessing all the different tools and pages we use every day. Getting these "meet and greets" done on day one shows all new employees that they're our priority, and we're committed to making their remote onboarding successful, so they can flourish at ZoomInfo.
Since March, when the majority of employees migrated to working from home, Buildium successfully onboarded 63 net new employees. Making our new Buildians feel welcomed and supported is so important to us. Every Buildian is sent a swag bag complete with a backpack, sticker, branded mouse, and more. We usually have a breakfast with members of senior leadership, which we've now moved to Zoom - but we always make sure our Buildians get their cereal!
For EverQuote, remote onboarding begins with excess communication from our onboarding team. Employees also receive laptops well in advance of their first day. The first-day schedule is shared out prior to an employee's first day so they can be sure of what to expect on day 1. Frequent check in's occur with our People Ops team to make sure things are going smoothly! The most important part of the first day, however, is the Grubhub gift card all new employees get to treat themselves to lunch on us!
When our new hires start, we provide a virtual tour by sharing photos of not only the office, but our teams as well. We provide them with a comprehensive orientation and overview of our organization, both in the United States and abroad, so they’re familiar with everyone and how different roles work together. We love to give our newest hires some face time with their manager, so we assist them in scheduling virtual lunches and check-ins from day one, as well as encourage them to interact and engage with their immediate team. The remainder of the first week is largely reserved for meet and greets with the larger company and colleagues, so they can put faces to names and break the ice. We also send each new employee a care package before hire, containing a personalized welcome card, Examity sweatshirt, laptop, headset and more cool Examity swag. This makes them feel comfortable and connected, even while working remotely.
Salsify has had distributed employees for quite some time, so our remote onboarding experience is not that different from what we were doing pre-COVID! All of our new hires receive a company-issued computer, Salsify swag, and a gift card to order lunch on their first day. For the next 2 weeks they will have a series of Zoom sessions led by our people experience and executive teams that help our new hires immerse themselves in what we do and how we help brands win on the digital shelf. Having a company that feels connected is important to us, so we strive to provide ample time (and access) for the new hires to get to know each other and the greater team.
Prior to their start, new hires (a.k.a New Moose) receive an invite to a guest slack channel so that they may ask any and all questions pre-day 1. They also receive a welcome email outlining the activities for their first day and what to expect. On their first day, new hires engage in an onboarding overview to meet other new hires from across the company and to get a lay of the land. They also take part in a remote IT onboarding session to set-up the equipment sent to their home location. Lastly, on their first day, new hires receive a Kindle gift card via email with book recommendations from our leadership team!
In addition to our day 1 activities, new hires receive automated messages via a bot called Donut throughout their first 3 months (the duration of our onboarding program). This helps keep them apprised of various resources and key dates. In addition, within their first week, Donut pairs them with another new hire to meet virtually over coffee. We have also adapted our in person training to fully remote over Zoom. This training is two-half days (typically it is 2 consecutive full days).
At Quick Base, we realized quickly that we needed to shift from in-person orientation sessions to fully remote sessions early on in the pandemic. We now host our onboarding sessions, including our product training sessions, over Zoom. Our IT team seamlessly adjusted and sends out laptops and monitors, and our HR team adjusted to mailing out swag bags. We also encourage teams to host virtual lunches/happy hours so that everyone can meet the new hires! We send out emails to the org to welcome our new employees so everyone can put a face to each new hire’s name. In fact, our CEO, Ed Jennings, onboarded 100% remotely during this time!
At mabl, we’ve been fortunate to continue hiring through the pandemic. We have iterated our onboarding process to make remote onboarding more interactive for new hires.
Some actions I took to make sure new hires felt more welcome during their onboarding process include:
- A scavenger hunt which is tailored to each role and department. The hunt is broken up into three sections: company, team, and you. This allows the new hire to understand the company, get to know mablers outside of their functional team, and we get to know them.
- We’ve created a collaborative Spotify playlist for everyone to contribute music to and connect with each other through something so universal.
- When new hires join Slack, they are automatically added to our coffee buddies channel, which is synced to the Donut app. New hires and more tenured employees are matched together for a 30 minute coffee chat. We have a soft rule in place that folks chat about life beyond work.
- Finally, we have a new hire onboarding folder which includes slides of all our teams including faces and roles, because it’s always nice to put a face to a name.
During remote onboarding, communication is key. Since our new hires no longer meet each other and their teams in person, we facilitate plenty of opportunities for LogMeIners to interact with and get to know each other. From virtual WelcomeIn New Hires orientation using our very own GoToMeeting, to new hire Slack groups, to the New Hire Leadership Forum for new employees to engage directly with executive leaders around the globe, we create many touchpoints for our new hires to get involved in the LogMeIn culture from Day 1!
At Veeva, we host a weekly new hire orientation on Zoom for our new employees around the globe on Mondays. These are hosted across departments, regions, and time zones. We invite all of our new hires prior to the first day at Veeva to visit an online swag store where they can choose Veeva-branded gear that suits their individual work and personal style. Something we have added this year is a portal for keeping "Connected", which features tips on working remotely, music recommended by Veeva employees, collection of workout options provided by our Health and Wellness team, discount codes for office furniture, app recommendations for sleep, anxiety, and stress, and healthy eating tips provided by our culinary team.
Employees are able to choose the hardware that they are most comfortable using -- Mac or PC. We have always been a remote-friendly company and leverage tools like Zoom, Gmail, and have internal Wiki tools that serve as a social media platform where employees can share information about themselves, what they are working on, join groups based on interests, upload photos, share announcements or anything they want to share with the company.
The Monday before a new hire starts; we reach out to the new hire asking for their current mailing address. From here we send them their macbook and a new hire swag bag (T-shirt, moleskine notebook, pen, Recorded Future stickers, and a welcome note!). The Tuesday before their start date we will send them their "First Day Instructions" which is a 1-2 page guide to any pre-work they need to do and what they can expect to happen on day one.On their first day;New Hires meet with an HR Specialist on their first day at 9am for an onboarding meeting. Throughout this meeting we cover; the history of the company, objectives for the year, org. structure and complete all new hire tasks. The rest of their first day is spent getting to know their team; virtual lunches, 1:1 with managers and team members.
In "normal times" Recorded Future hosts Propel which is a two day intensive training program that we host at our headquarters in Somerville, MA. New hires from the past month travel from all over the world to meet with members of our executive team, network with other new hires that started during that same month, and attend learning and development activities. Since COVID, we have been running Propel completely remote and it's been going great! We host the program over the course of three-half day sessions (being sensitive to different time zones) on Zoom. New hires from the past month will listen to members of our executive team (CEO, CFO, CRO, etc) presentations, ask questions, and still network with each other through the "breakout room" feature on Zoom. At a new hires 45 day mark; we have also been conducting 45 day check-ins with the new hires to see how things are going and how we continue to assist them until we are back in the office.
As a result of the current working from home environment, EditShare has put several steps in
place to onboard employees remotely. To start, the company instituted a virtual new hire orientation led by a member of People Ops. This orientation is held via Zoom and ensures new hires have everything they need to be up and running in their new role. Additionally, EditShare has instituted several company-wide social events to ensure everyone, including new hires, feel a part of the greater EditShare family. Examples of these social events include virtual happy hours, a ShareTogether series (similar to a lunch and learn), a working from home lunch competition, and virtual hackathons. These events have helped new hires meet and socialize with their new colleagues from home. Additionally, our Marketing team has spearheaded a social media campaign to feature all new hires on social media pages. These features usually constitute a picture of the new hire wearing their EditShare orange converse along with a short bio. Lastly, EditShare believes it is critical to involve employees in the continuous improvement
of the remote onboarding process. As a part of this involvement, new hires complete a new hire survey a month into their employment and meet with a member of People Ops to discuss opportunities for improvement and areas of success.
It’s extremely important that virtual interviewing and onboarding processes are seamless and replicate the in-person process as closely as possible to ensure adoption of the process by the organization and increased engagement of candidates. Mimecast partnered with their marketing team to produce a 360-degree virtual office tour (it is an impressive new office!) and promote their culture on social media outlets. These videos and pictures are included as part of the orientation program. Knowing that many employees will be returning to the office when the COVID-19 crisis subsides, it’s important to showcase the benefits of their collaborative office culture, in office events and amenities. Mimecast infuses their mission and values into the onboarding program through speaker presentations and Mimecast University, learning management and career development system.
Wellframe has onboarded 28 new hires since going fully remote. Our Business Operations team worked tirelessly to turn our in-person process into a fully remote one basically overnight. Our Systems admin ships out all materials the week before a new hire starts and all of our new hire orientations and meetings are via Zoom. We've also successfully transferred many of new hire welcoming rituals like new hire buddies, lunches and happy hours to Zoom. We're looking forward to onboarding more new employees remotely this fall!
“In sales and customer success, being in an open office environment was great for real-time collaboration and learning by listening to teammates on calls. Now that we are all working remotely, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to re-create this virtually to get new hires up to speed as quickly as possible. A couple ways we’ve done this: Our sales leadership team all has iPads in addition to their laptops to make running team training 'whiteboard' sessions over Zoom really easy. Another way is that we utilize Gong to record calls and demos; for new hires, we build out a library of specific types of calls for them to listen to and learn from which helps us replicate the experience of shadowing live demos.”
- Steve Travaglini, Chief Revenue Officer at LinkSquares
"For new engineers starting at LinkSquares, our goal is to get them working with the team and using our systems as quickly as possible. We're having new hires work on an 'Onboarding Ticket' in JIRA on day 1. The ticket has all the subtasks for onboarding, which includes things like joining the relevant Slack channels, getting the code base running locally, gaining access to systems, attending sessions with team leads, etc. While they work through the onboarding activities in the ticket, they're also getting familiar with the dev process flow in JIRA."
- Laura Miyakawa, SVP of Engineering at LinkSquares
Moving from in-person to remote onboarding has been a learning experience for many organizations, including ours. Prior to the pandemic, we hosted new hires each month or quarter in groups at our headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland for presentations and face time with the company’s leadership. Now, we need to maintain that same level of personable and engaging experiences while remote. We have kept aspects of our original onboarding process the same with virtual presentations from leadership and our online platform which provides resources for continual learning for our employees. However, without the office culture and ability to walk over to a desk to ask a quick question we have found that our process is addressing more macro level needs. We are currently in the planning phase implementing resources to help managers in setting up their new hires for success including checklists for managers to help them provide all the necessary resources for new employees. With a more granular approach we can focus on maintaining and developing our company culture on a personal level through collaboration amongst employees. As we move forward in this world of distributed work, we are focused on how we can continue to improve our onboarding process, learning as we go.
One of the ways that we are really embracing remote onboarding is by constantly communicating with our new hires and staying on top of shipping! We ensure that all new team members receive their hardware a couple days prior to their start date and then on day one, we have a Zoom onboarding session all set up for them. They get an opportunity to speak with IT to get their machine all set up. All week one calls are set up with various team members, so when they are done with IT, they will already have events on their calendars! We understand that the first day makes even the best of us a little bit nervous, forget trying to do that remotely! It's important that all our new team members are able to meet people and engage with their teammates so they don't miss out on that interaction even while being remote! We are also looking into getting Doordash gift cards sent to all new hires for an unconventional day one team lunch!
Since transitioning to a remote work environment, Hometap has hired approximately 15 employees and counting. As important as it is to get new team members up and running in their roles, we value strong team culture, too, so remote onboarding needs to strike the right balance. We've started hiring in cohorts, which allows us to train and onboard efficiently and provides a sense of camaraderie among our new hires. We've instilled a "buddy program" that matches new hires to a well-versed Hometapper outside of their functional area to answer any questions about the company. And then there's #donuts, a Slack plug-in that auto-pairs each employee with a coffee (or donut) date each week so that we stay connected. Niche-interest slack channels (wine, cooking, parenting, you name it), virtual happy hours, and group Zoom lunches with the CEO, ensure we stay social between projects.
Here at Robin we began 100% remote onboarding in March and have successfully onboarded 12 New Hires. Our People Ops team coordinates New Hire Onboarding and we pride ourselves on our high touch communication process. Everything from assigned tasks in our HRIS, Rippling, to when to expect their laptop (in advance of their start date) are communicated which allows New Hires to feel confident going into their first day.
New Hire Orientation begins with a Welcome & Systems Setup meeting to kick off their day and we finish with virtual Meet & Greets with all of our function leads in the afternoon to get some face time with our leadership and learn how all of our teams work together to make the workplace the best we can for our customers.
As a music and audio technology company, we are obsessed with great sound. That’s why all new hires receive Beyer Dynamic DT 770 Pro headphones as they prepare to “plug in” and start their careers at iZotope. These headphones are the industry standard for both professional and at-home musicians, sound engineers, and broadcasters. With these awesome headphones, iZotopians can set the tone and rise above the noise. During the onboarding process, new hires receive a link to test run their headphones, watch videos of artists using our products, and get a sneak peek into what it is like to work at iZotope.
All Arcadians are working 100% remote and new hires are no different. Upon acceptance of the offer, People Ops sends a welcome package of swag (water bottle, notebook, pen and stickers) via Fed Ex with a handwritten note welcoming them to Arcadia. All of the needs that a new hire may have are taken care of. IT ships the preferred equipment, People Ops orientation and onboarding start on day one and links for home office equipment needs are sent as well, to ensure every new hire has what they need. The first week is focused on learning about Arcadia, our systems and more about their new role. After completing security training, there's a Meet and Greet with our CEO, Sean Carroll for a full hour. He gives an overview of Arcadia’s history and where the company is headed and then opens it up for questions. New hires walk through Arcadia Remote working best practices where they learn about the full calendar of employee virtual events - Arcadia Cinema twice a week, Photo Days, Fitness sessions twice a week, Trivia Wednesdays and Coffee or Happy Hours on Friday. Every other week, employees can attend an All Staff meeting for the latest on Arcadia's customers and business. Our latest, Arcadia's Got Talent series is wrapping up with our Finale on September 25th - there's a $1000 cash prize for the winner!