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What is it like to join a company in 2021, when we’re all remote? Great question. Thanks for asking.

It’s actually quite refreshing. How come, you ask?

It all comes down to the onboarding process, the exchange of first impressions between employer and employee. But how does it work when we are all working remote? When I “arrived” at Marketsmith, I was blown away by the virtual onboarding process, as it was efficient yet thorough – organized yet expansive. I’ve been onboarded to a few different companies through my years and the (oftentimes) slow and painful process of getting up to speed can be daunting, when it should be seamless and exciting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous for the virtual onboarding process, as I’m someone who feeds off of the energy of the team and a hands-on learner. However, I was (not so) surprised when I joined Marketsmith to find the process, albeit virtual, better than any in-person onboarding I’ve had in the past. How could that be possible? I would attribute this to two main reasons:

  1. Technological Comfort: Not only did MSI have existing technologies in place, but also all personnel from the hiring manager to my coworkers were experts in the existing tools and operational technologies, making it easy to understand the function of each.
  2. People-First Mentality: Sure, the technology enables us to communicate and get the necessary training done but having a “people-first mentality” helps set expectations early that as an employee here, it is essential to take the time to support each other, our clients, and our values on (and off) line.

Virtual Onboarding: Process, Technology and Team

Usually, an onboarding process is completed in a day or two, checking the boxes of “what we need them to know.” However, with virtual onboarding, it’s a bit different than sitting in a room with other new employees for two half-day sessions that feel as though they drone on for hours. It is important with virtual onboarding to spread out trainings to avoid informational burnout. Over the last week here at MSI, I felt like I was brought up to speed on all things process, tech, and team in a manner that, yes, had urgency, but was not rushed (there’s still so much to learn). There was purpose behind each training session, they didn’t run too long, and there was time for me to play around in each system to learn on my own. Instead of hearing, “I’m going to share my screen,” I heard, “Share YOUR screen and I will guide you through the platforms” – a much better way for me to learn how to use the platforms as opposed to just sitting and watching. Moreover, my colleagues shared information in an organized way, empowering me to get involved in a limited yet impactful way.

According to LinkedIn’s 3 Ways to Turn New Hires into Engaged Employees, “it is essential to make the new employee feel at home on Day 1 by providing the essentials and ensuring the new employee feels taken care of.” Having coworkers who take the time to ensure you have everything you need, coupled with their inclusive attitudes, I was able to quickly get acquainted with the MSI way, witnessing it by starting, doing, and interacting with the people who make it up – the good ol’ classic, show don’t tell.

Tech as a Tool, Not a Crutch

Whether it is in the virtual onboarding process, or in the current state of work-from-anywhere, I feel as though many companies rely too much on technology to be the centerpiece. Look, without tech, none of this would be possible.  Technology provides us with the ability to seamlessly collaborate despite where we’re sitting. Be that as it may, we are not robots (…yet). We are humans who think, feel, and long. With an overreliance on tech, we often forget these everyday emotions, bypassing the purpose of onboarding (making the employee feel welcome and arming them with the information and tools to succeed). With the constant need to decipher cryptic instant messages and toneless email assignments, I like to call this the “Era of Overthinking.”  In joining MSI, I was quickly reminded of the importance of using tech as a tool, not a crutch, as my new colleagues took the time to video chat, talk about priorities, and clearly communicate expectations for the first few weeks (strongly diminishing my overthinking).

So let’s recap what made this first week of virtual onboarding so great:

  • Have urgency, but don’t rush: Take the time to clearly communicate expectations in the first week and to onboard new employees to the tools and technology needed for everyday work-life.
  • Show, don’t tell: Give new employees the opportunity to participate in a limited manner to speed up the understanding of tech, process, and personnel.
  • People-first mentality: Deploy empathy when dealing with new employees and create a comfortable environment where they can ask questions, do, and speak up.

See for yourself.  Take a look at MSI’s open opportunities, here!

Make sure to follow along weekly as we dive into these new- world challenges head-on. To quote Troy Bolton, “We’re all in this together” as we approach these new working dynamics, such as virtual onboarding, so sharing and talking about what works and what doesn’t is necessary to get through it. Next time you’re on a Microsoft Teams call about to welcome a new employee and feel yourself relying on tech, maybe you’ll take a step back and think about how you can make this person feel right at home. I know I feel at home, ready to make a difference – all thanks to the people-first, virtual onboarding process.