It’s a crazy time of year. The holidays are right around the corner, we’re gearing up for that end-of-year push, and ramping up momentum as we head into 2021.
At this point, we’ve adjusted to working remotely for the most part. But, what about those who have had doors open and joined new companies during this time?
Sure, the whole working from home situation doesn’t change, but everything else with regards to onboarding and getting acclimated to your new company does. From your day-to-day workflows, to who you interact with on a daily basis, onboarding can be a bit overwhelming, especially in this new normal of remote work.
That’s why we – Laura & Libby, committee members here at Women in Revenue – wanted to share what we learned from our remote onboarding experiences. We’re hopeful sharing these best practices and recommendations can help you gain confidence to hit the ground running in your new role.
GET READY FOR DAY 1
Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than you normally would. Get out of bed and actually get dressed! I know firsthand that being comfortable with coworkers during remote work can lead to wearing sweatpants until 3pm (or maybe even all day), but when it comes to a new job, make the switch to get ready for the day. You’ll feel energized and ready to make a great first impression.
Hopefully you’ve received your laptop or other equipment with ample time to get it set up. Having trouble? A good plan of action is to ask a couple days before for a contact number for IT or HR to call in case you experience some troubleshooting issues. At the very least, make sure your computer is charged and you’re ready to dial into that first onboarding meeting.
- Manager Pro Tips →
- Ask your new hire beforehand if there’s anything they need to make their WFH set-up successful. Be sure if they request items that shipping is scheduled to arrive before their start date.
- *a little goes a long way… a handwritten welcome note, or swag box, or anything sent during their first week can really make a new hire feel welcome. Sugarwish has a fun gift that you can send to your new hire and they can choose what goodies they want!
HOW TO REPLACE THE “WATER COOLER” CHATS
One of the biggest pitfalls of remote work is the lack of ‘I’ll just pop by your desk’ moments. Instead, actually schedule coffee dates with your new colleagues. Get a list of key people you should get to know from your manager or executive and start throwing time on calendars. Don’t be shy!
Introduce yourself over Slack (or whatever company communication platform you’re using). Let people know you’re there and ready to jump in and get started. Everyone loves an energetic team player, so show off your personality by responding to company threads and emails. It’s a great way to send a virtual high-five, and make yourself present in the virtual world.
We all know ice-breakers are going to happen. Whether it’s a team meeting, or company all-hands, it’s always good to have a couple in your back pocket. Here are some classics: what’s your favorite food or vacation spot, what’s a fun fact, two truths & a lie…etc?
- Manager Pro Tips →
- Coordinate a team lunch with a $25 gift card for folks to order in and eat together.
- Designate 10 minutes during team meetings and 1:1s for small talk for your team to chat about things outside of work to get to know each other better. Or schedule specific time for non-work related conversations. It might feel odd, but 30 minutes of team chit chat goes a long way to build camaraderie. Kick things off with some fun questions like:
- What is your favorite ice cream?
- What was your dream job as a child?
- Where is the most beautiful place you’ve traveled to?
COMMUNICATION BEST PRACTICES
Getting used to new communication platforms and company norms can be a bit uncomfortable for the first couple days. It’s helpful to ask up front what are some key Slack channels (or other resources) to join to stay connected.
Also, have an open conversation with your manager around how you typically communicate and what should be expected since you’re not face-to-face in an office for impromptu syncs.
- Manager Pro Tips →
- It’s important to consider the communication style of each of your direct reports as well as how you want to communicate as a team in the virtual office. Be sure to be explicit and ask your team members how they prefer to communicate and how they best work instead of assuming or making the decision for them.
- If your organization is open to it, having team members put together a ‘user manual’ could be a really great way to open up that conversation about working styles. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- Do NOT multitask while spending virtual time with your new hire. It’s so easy to see a Slack notification and quickly check it while you’re in the middle of a conversation, but the truth is that the person on the other end can definitely tell. Give them your undivided attention – it’ll pay off in the long run.
GETTING UP TO SPEED WITH PRODUCT AND MARKET INSIGHTS
When you join a new company it’s important in the early days to dedicate time to learn your product differentiators & market insights. Most of these resources will be found internally via Google Drive, SharePoint, Guru or other LMS solutions (ask your manager where to look). A great tip is to schedule time with the ‘internal experts’ to have them share their expertise. If you have conversation intelligence implemented in your organization, like Chorus.ai, you can listen to recorded calls that will help you get up to speed quickly with the market, competitive intel, and product deep-dives. For market intelligence in the tech landscape, websites like G2 have great reports to help you gain a better understanding of your market.
- Manager Pro Tips →
- Depending on the size of your team and organization, you may or may not have a formal onboarding training that takes new hires through things like the product roadmap, key messaging docs, competitive analysis, and things of that nature. In either case, as the manager you are responsible to make sure your new employee has access to the resources needed. Be sure they know:
- Who to go to for which types of questions
- Maybe even pre-schedule 1:1 meetings with these folks for the first couple weeks
- Where key documentation is located, and what is current vs old (we know, things become “out of date” quickly in growing organizations
- But, remember that not everyone wants to just read documents to get up to speed – we all learn and absorb information in different ways. Be sure to carve out your own time to offer live sessions (or pre-record some using Loom!) as another way for your new employee to absorb the information.
Be yourself. Put yourself out there. Don’t be shy to call, email, ping your new colleagues and ask questions. We’re all living in this new normal, so until everyone is back in the office, take these tips in stride and you’ll be making a huge impact right out of the gates! Have more tips or questions? Join our amazing network of revenue-driven women and allies. Sign up here, and join our Slack channel.