How We're Adapting our Onboarding While Remote
tl;dr: Working from home poses a few challenges, and onboarding is definitely one of the bigger ones. Our Head of Onboarding, Eliza, walks through how we've adapted!
When the Lola.com team started working from home this past March in the wake of COVID-19, our People Operations team realized that we needed to adapt our onboarding process for new hires, and quickly! People have always been our most important perk here at Lola. With that in mind, we knew that our onboarding process needed to be stronger than ever – especially now that teams were going to be doing it all from home. Below are a few ways we tweaked our process with this in mind.
"Pre-boarding” is important as ever
While we already had a pre-boarding flow in place, once WFH kicked in we ramped up communication with our new hires, even though they weren’t scheduled to start for a few weeks. We made sure that they knew we were already thinking of all the aspects that made them part of our team before their first official day. It’s stressful enough starting a new job, let alone starting one during a pandemic! Our pre-boarding communication included everything from sending out laptops and other tech that they needed to be successful, to being available to answer any and all questions about our benefits and culture before day 1. We also got them set up in our Slack workspace and sent schedules and resources for what to expect for their first few weeks of joining the company. Our ultimate goal was to ensure they had every resource and contact name that they needed to feel excited and ready to go before their first day.
Create a welcoming first day remotely! (and set expectations)
To make the company feel connected as we work from home, Lola.com now hosts all hands meetings first thing on Monday mornings. This has been beneficial as new hires are virtually introduced, briefed on important business developments, and actually get to put faces to names. Our goal for the first day was similar to pre-COVID: we wanted to have new folks get immersed in all things Lola immediately. We also use Google Calendar and Zoom to create a busy and productive first day. After day 1 has wrapped, new hires have already virtually met with their team, been briefed by their manager on what success looks like through a 100 day plan, and also met with our Head of People to walk through our culture and get a full benefits overview. It may seem overwhelming at first, but we’ve found that it’s impactful to keep new hires energized throughout the day! Meeting new faces, immersing them in some of the work they'll be doing, and setting expectations for what success looks like within the company is the perfect way to do this. While we're on the topic, be sure to continue to create a welcoming environment for your both your new hires and existing employees by focusing on remote team-building activities – check out this list for inspiration!
We pre-scheduled virtual meet and greets with key department leaders and new hires for the first two weeks. One of the differences between these virtual meetings and the prior department overviews was that each team now shares up to date decks of information for new hires to reference later. We wanted to give new hires tangible resources, including department org charts, how each team likes to operate and communicate, and key projects that they were working on.
Communication, communication, communication
As the days of desk drive-by's have disappeared, we’ve done our best to make sure that not just managers, but other team members check in on new hires. We kept our “Lola-mate” mentoring program alive by connecting new hires with company veterans for virtual coffees and weekly lunches, and also make sure that they know about our non-work activities such as virtual hobby talks and our weekly Beer Friday's. We also hosted a lively company trivia challenge a few weeks ago, where the team got into a friendly but spirited competition over cocktails and trivia after work. Making sure that new hires know about each of these non-work events helps them meet new folks in a more casual setting.. even if over Zoom!
Gathering feedback and evolving
One of our key values at Lola is “All Grit, No Quit," and there’s never been a truer time to flex this. Getting honest feedback from new employees who complete our three week onboarding process has always been an important step of the process, especially now. While we love to see feedback on what’s working, it’s more important to quickly address and adjust what’s not working while we’re remote. We wrap up our onboarding process by sending out a survey to track how we’re doing, and compile results so we can continue to make it as seamless as possible for the future of new hires.