Training Virtually – Our First Virtual Hire Part 2
If you follow along with us, you might have read my post from August where I shared some key learnings from our first completely virtual hiring process. Today, I want to dive into what we have learned from training virtually.
Create opportunities for connection:
The hardest part of introducing and onboarding a new employee virtually is making sure they feel like part of the team. The first few weeks at a new job are when personal connections are especially important, and with the absence of impromptu conversations over a cup of coffee in the kitchen, or the random discussions after a meeting, we have to find other ways to create connections.
In the first week of training at Syrup, each new employee gets 1-on-1 time with each individual member on our team to allow them to meet virtually and get to know each other. This initiates personal connections and opens the door for good conversation and integration into the team. We have also found that meeting as a company every morning on Zoom (even for only 15 minutes) deepens our connections with each other while we aren’t in the office (learn about what we are doing to keep morale up here).
As part of that connection, don’t be afraid to have impromptu video meetings to allow your new employee to catch up on how they are doing, watch someone do a task that they will eventually do, or discuss thinking behind a project you are working on. Just like you would in person, adapt your training to embrace and leverage the technology we have to create environments for connection and learning.
The onboarding process can be overwhelming, and even more so when all done virtually, so we prioritize 1-on-1 and group check-ins with our new team members to see how they are adjusting, how they are feeling, where they need more resources, more clarity, etc. These check-ins not only make the new team member feel supported but also creates an environment for them to freely ask questions and allow you to gauge the level of comprehension and readiness to take on more as a new employee.
Bonus tip: If you can make an in-person (socially distant and safe) outdoor gathering possible for your team, we highly recommend it! Nothing beats a little in-person interaction to really make a new hire feel welcomed and integrated into the team.
I believe now more than ever, creating human connections with new and existing employees is essential in creating and/or maintaining a healthy and motivated team. It by no means is easy in this new reality, but we can leverage the technology we have to foster opportunities for those connections and create uplifting environments for onboarding and training.