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Newsbridge: Onboarding During COVID19

Fri 26, 06 2020

How To Integrate New Team Members During a Global Health Crisis

So clearly we are living in an exceptional time. In a matter of months, our personal and professional routines have evolved on a massive scale. For companies currently hiring, candidates with a track record of adaptability are in high demand.

And there’s something about this word, adaptability… and how it applies to so many aspects of work right now. Adaptability of current employees’ mindsets, work and management styles, environments and various procedures and processes, such as employee on-boarding.

On a positive note, recruitment efforts just prior to or during confinement have given fruit to talented new hires. At the same time, it is also a period that poses its own unique challenges. Now more than ever companies are facing non-traditional employee on-boarding situations.

As Newsbridge has experienced Covid19 employee on-boarding first-hand (along with welcoming remote workers over the past few years), here are 5 key takeaways from our team to yours:

1. Warm (Virtual) Welcome!

In general first days are pretty nerve wracking. Add an international health crisis to the mix…and a virtual debut is bound to bring on feelings of uncertainty, whether that’s due to technical difficulties or misunderstandings caused by potential lack of human interaction. One way the Newsbridge team has approached the current situation is by providing information well in advance, allowing new employees to organize themselves and feel more in control of the new situation.

Considering this is an extremely unprecedented time for employee onboarding, the more information you can provide beforehand and day-of, the better! It could be as simple as sending over (1-3 weeks prior to start date) the invitation to your first google hangouts or skype, a brief team introduction, user name and password credentials, first 30 days expectation list…you name it. Also, finding a way for the entire team to welcome your new employee on the first day (here at Newsbridge we use Slack) is always a great idea.

2. Face-to-Face Check ups

Although working remotely is a familiar concept, and something most of us are capable of doing- the more personal component of working should not be overlooked. That’s right, the old face-to-face. Despite your team balancing crazy schedules and an uptick in responsibilities and tasks, a proper sit down with your new employee is highly recommended in order to put a human touch on the mission at hand and get to know your colleague better. Here at Newsbridge we like to use Google Hangouts.

Depending on your company, 1-1s may be organized on a weekly or monthly basis. Seeing as this is something that can easily be carried over to an online environment, especially a quick touch base, it is important to over-communicate and perhaps up the ante when it comes to management meeting with employees, especially those who have just joined. Never underestimate the power of face to face communication!

3. Assign a Remote Buddy

Here at Newsbridge, health crisis or not, we’ve always assigned new employees an ‘N-buddy’ or a colleague that serves as a mentor figure full of resources, advice and help! In fact, these individuals are responsible for a majority of the new employee’s on-boarding process which is executed via a streamlined checklist of on-boarding to-do’s.

This list of activities and tasks are carried out in a certain time period, usually upon the first week of arrival. With a hybrid remote culture at heart, we are always trying to mix it up in terms of matching mentors and mentees, many times having full-time remote employees assigned to new on-site hires.

4. Keep Traditions Alive!

Is there something unique that your company does anytime a new employee joins the team? Is it possible to transfer over this company tradition to a virtual landscape? It is extremely important to transmit company culture to new hires, as many times it is something that must be ‘lived and learned’ versus read about on a company page. Here at Newsbridge we believe that where there’s a will there’s a way!

In fact, seeing as we deliver an auto-transcription service, we challenge all of our new employees to a ‘battle of transcription: man vs. machine’ which we otherwise call the Weissman Challenge. Without giving too many details (because yeah it’s a serious competition!) this is an activity rooted in the heart of Newsbridge’s team building and ready-for-a-challenge spirit…and it is definitely possible to carry out virtually.

5. Team Ice Breakers

Ok so with this one we’ve got to get a little creative! Keeping in mind the importance of engaging everyone in the new hire experience, it is essential to find an activity in which everyone can (easily) participate.

Here at Newsbridge, we recently hosted an online pictionary game to: A) showcase our amazing artistic talents and B) get to know and laugh with our newest colleague. It was a lot of fun, but it was also a unique experience of communicating and problem solving.

In addition to that, why not mix up your traditional virtual introductions? For example, the Newsbridge team introduced themselves and then everyone had to choose which food they would eat every day for the duration of confinement (pass the ramen please!).

Congratulations on Your New Hire(s)!

Although this time is unprecedented, it is important to take a step back and appreciate the new talent you have onboard. Here at Newsbridge we are so excited to welcome 2 new hires! Marine is our new Project Management intern, and Maxime is our new Sales Development intern. It goes without saying that we are very grateful that they have both been able to adapt seamlessly into the company’s remote culture.

Welcome Marine and Maxime 🙂

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