Successfully on-boarding employees during a pandemic.
Jamie Schneiderman | April 7, 2020
In the midst of the confusion, stress, and uncertainty of the past few challenging weeks, I wanted to reach out on behalf of everyone at Career Spark. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy and are finding ways to not go too stir crazy.Like many businesses that are able to do so, we made the decision to have all of our employees transition to working remotely. We’re a data-based company, and the data shows that it’s crucial to flatten the curve of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
It, of course, has come with new challenges, but everyone has made the necessary adjustments to keep our business moving forward, and our clients supported.
We wanted to share some learnings that might be helpful for you and your employees as you’re also navigating this new unprecedented time.
Rewind about 2 and a half weeks…
As we transitioned to working remotely we knew there were going to be people on our team who would easily thrive under work from home conditions, and others, who have a natural preference for close collaboration, that could struggle. We wanted to make sure we found ways to ease the stress or anxiety of the latter group and find ways to make sure they were able to stay productive and happy. On top of the challenges of just managing our current teams, we had a few brand new hires who were actually starting their new roles directly from home. As you can imagine, not ideal timing for both the new employees and our leaders that of course wanted to set them up for success. Onboarding and keeping new employees engaged and productive remotely can be a real challenge in the best of times… trying to do it effectively during a pandemic with new stresses and concerns was something none of us had obviously experienced yet.
This brings me to Miles, one of our newest hires.
I’d like to share some learnings from his onboarding process and how knowing certain insights about him as a person enabled our team to get him ramped up and as productive as possible.
Here’s what we knew about Miles before he started:
We knew that Miles was very driven and would want to jump right into his work. We also knew that he liked to have a very clear structure around him and desired focus and guidance for what to do, company priorities and the right tools to execute his job successfully.
Even though things felt crazy and up in the air for everyone on the team, we knew that in order for him to be productive and to thrive in his new role he would need to be provided with at least some sense of structure and clear guidance from his leaders right from the get-go.
Here’s what we did:
Since we knew these things about Miles, our managers, in advance of his start date, strategized tangible ways that would give Miles ‘virtual’ structure, even though we couldn’t give him the typical structure of a physical office and working space. We made sure that Miles had a company email address, Slack account and was registered for all the other software accounts and licenses he would need for his role. We had a laptop couriered to his home in advance and we made sure that all the materials we needed him to review were waiting in his inbox. We made all these things a priority so that he would feel connected to the team and have access to everything he would need to start
performing his role effectively, even before his first day on the job.
Once Miles officially started with Career Spark, two of our managers committed to investing as many hours as they possibly could over video-conference with him in those first few days to get him up to speed as much as possible. They worked with him closely to develop clear 7 day, 14 day, 30 day, 60 day and 90 day plans.
Our managers also spent time putting together and communicating our overall action plan for how we as a business and how each of us individually were making the necessary adjustments to keep our clients supported and the business moving forward in the new context of Covid-19. We wanted him, and all of our employees to feel confident that no one was getting lost in the ‘Covid-19 shuffle’.
- These strategies helped Miles feel valued and empowered and provided him with a clear road map of how to be successful without wasting any of his “new job” energy and momentum.
- This time-intensive training – spent face to face over video with his managers – fuelled his energy and excitement to get going and they were able to point him in the right directions with set goals and expectations
- Setting him up in advance ensured that even though his new role was beginning under tumultuous and confusing times, he would know for certain that, as an organization, we were not only “on top of things” for him, but also that we value him and had set his job success as a priority.
We firmly believe (and know from our data of course), one size never fits all, especially when it comes to people. Just like your organization, we have diverse people with different traits, personalities, and preferences. Some individuals working for us, even in the same role as Miles, probably would not have needed as much structure. They would have been satisfied with a more relaxed approach to onboarding but would have had other needs in order to be successful. Knowing real insights about Miles, before he even began working for us, empowered us with exactly what we needed to tailor a custom plan for him, that would maximize his potential and set him up for success despite the truly unique circumstances.
That’s why we continue to strongly believe that real and accurate data about people is utterly game-changing for leaders who need to manage and make the right decisions for the unique and complex individuals in their work-force.
Interested in getting some free custom data insights about one of your own teams? Contact Us and we will hook you up!
Our Mission: Getting everyone in their right jobs to drive success at work.
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