Getting a new employee settled into their new job can be challenging in the best of circumstances, especially while managing a busy workload. Now sprinkle in a global pandemic on top of this, where working from home (WFH) or telecommuting is now the new normal for your recent hire and the entire office, and see that balance get thrown off entirely.
As a new hire myself, having only begun work the day before the new COVID-19 WFH restrictions became heavily implemented, I am in the thick of unchartered territory. Not only am I learning the ropes (new platforms, apps, general handover, etc.), pushing through that “new” feeling and any uncertainty remotely via the internet, but my colleagues are also having to adjust to explaining everything digitally as well.
It is because of this unique experience that I could take an objective look at what positive steps Green Hat took to reach out and break through the cold technology for a warm welcome. So here are five tips for how companies can translate their culture for new hires/clients into a virtual reality.
There have been many comparisons between the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, one of the major differences between the two is how far technology has come, as well as the number of programs and apps available to keep people and companies connected.
Zoom – A video conferencing program that has a range of plans from free (allows one-on-one meetings and group calls up to 100 people for a maximum 45 mins) to paid plans (allows unlimited call time, screen share recording and ranges from 100-500 group calls depending on which paid plan you choose).
Zoom cloud meetings have been incredibly helpful to have a colleague share their screen or allow me to share mine while they explain documents in real-time.
Slack – A private messaging app that allows you to have one-on-one chats, group chats, make calls or create “channels” for particular topics. Incredibly useful to avoid wading through emails about a particular project, or for a light-hearted chat between colleagues (see tips 2 and 3 below).
On my first day, I walked into the brick-and-mortar office to be greeted by a skeleton staff with the majority of the office already opting to work from home during the pandemic. I was shown to my allocated desk, which was covered in green balloons, a green folder, a green Aero chocolate bar (nice branding touch) and three “welcome” post-it notes from the select few who were still working from the office.
I thought it was a shame that this would be my only day to experience the company culture, having to work remotely for the foreseeable future – I was wrong. I opened my Slack app to be greeted by a #welcome slack channel that displayed the entire company (not just my content team) who had individually taken selfies of personalised welcome notes for me.
Technology is allowing us to open up communication lines even more (some introverts communicating better online than in person) so getting creative with how your team interacts is very important to maintaining and building new relationships, be it a new employee or client.
Nurturing and keeping talent within your company often has a lot to do with company culture. To combat talent turnover during COVID-19, keep company culture amplified and job fatigue down by maintaining culture activities. Here’s what we get up to at Green Hat:
If your brick-and-mortar office was lacking company culture, allow technology to let you implement new culture activities – office zoom Pilates anyone? Yes we really do that at Green Hat.
Zoom fatigue is a real thing, so be sure to only use Zoom for meetings with agendas and not just to discuss things that could easily be an email or Slack message. Set aside large blocks of time during your day to better get tasks done and to not interrupt your workflow.
E.g. Try blocking out 1–4pm daily for getting work done and where any internal Zoom meetings, unless urgent, are not allowed. Try and use Slack and email for any internal communication during this blackout period.
The opportunity to grow and tap into a pool of resources is one of the main motivations behind starting a new job. If your company already has structured cross-department training programs or this is an area you have been wanting to implement into your company but have struggled with, take this opportunity to work it into the office schedule.
Green Hat hosts “Lunch and Learns” every second week where a team member will lead a high-level presentation on a topic for the entire company. With WFH being implemented indefinitely, we have begun using Zoom for these Lunch and Learns where a member of the team will create a presentation and simply screen share and record the session on Zoom for everyone else.
Being a part of a company that can quickly adapt during these uncertain times will be a factor in companies being able to survive these self-isolation measures. Who knows, these extended WFH measures may lead to companies adapting and becoming more flexible about certain job roles being completely or mostly remote.
The important thing is to stay open-minded and keep communicating.
What techniques have you found to be effective during the transition? Let us know by connecting with us on social media.