The shift to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has created a dramatically different hiring landscape. As a result, job seekers are now learning how to navigate a new world of video interviewing as well as virtual onboarding.
Traditional, in-person onboarding provides a physical space into which new hires can settle. Coworkers are right in front of you, and you can walk to your supervisor’s desk when you have a question. With virtual onboarding, this is not the case.
How can a new hire get comfortable with their new workplace when, physically, they’re at home? Here are three pieces of advice for sailing through the virtual onboarding process:
Before your first day, establish a workspace separate from the rest of your home so that you can stay focused during work hours. This should consist of a desk, a comfortable chair, your computer, and any tools necessary for your new remote job (e.g. a webcam, a microphone or headset, and a strong WiFi connection). Keep office supplies like pens and paper close by.
During remote onboarding, you’ll likely receive training materials in the form of PDF documents and videos. Save links to or copies of these resources for later review, and keep documents organized on your computer in specific folders with consistent nomenclatures. Ask your supervisors if you need to set up a virtual private network (VPN), review company computer security guidelines, and familiarize yourself with relevant software and login details you’ll need on the job.
Finally, start keeping a detailed calendar. Keep track of project timeframes and deadlines early on to understand the pace of work. Maintaining an organized work calendar will help you align with your new team and their priorities.
Remember, starting your first day with all the necessary tools will help make remote onboarding as smooth as possible.
The onboarding process goes beyond teaching you basic on-the-job responsibilities. It is also a time for you to familiarize yourself with coworkers and your employer’s company culture. And, the faster you understand how your team works, the faster you will become an effective part of that team.
While attending your first virtual meetings during the onboarding process, carefully observe how your team interacts. Take notes on how your peers manage timelines, workflows, and collaboration. Your first priority is to understand your new position and where it fits into the company's larger goals. Your second priority is to understand your team members' roles. The more you absorb during video onboarding, the more you’ll be able to contribute in your new position.
Another way to get comfortable with your new role is to ask questions and communicate with your new team. During your first week, schedule one-on-one meetings with supervisors and coworkers. Ask for advice for new hires (you!), as well as insight on company culture. If you can, find a coworker who has held a similar position to yours. Ask them what they learned and what they would do differently when getting up to speed.
Holding one-on-ones during the onboarding process accomplishes two things. First, they establish a rapport between you and the rest of your team. Second, it shows the office that you’re committed to your role and are willing to take constructive feedback.
In addition, your new employer might provide a “training buddy” – a colleague in a similar role – to be your point of contact during onboarding. Use this resource to find more people to learn from and to form meaningful connections with coworkers.
Above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help when needed. You are navigating an unfamiliar environment and trying to learn as much as possible about a new role.
Even when it’s done in-person, onboarding is daunting for a new employee. These unprecedented, uncertain times aren’t making it any easier. Staying organized, being attentive, and communicating with your team will help your video onboarding process go smoothly. Remember these virtual onboarding tips and advice for new hires, and before you know it, you'll fit right into your new virtual office.
Ready to make your next career move? Get started with iHire’s industry-specific talent communities.