What successful remote onboarding looks like – a new employee’s perspective
Last month, I celebrated my one year work anniversary at Reward Gateway. It gave me a chance to look back at what was a 100% remote (and very unusual!) onboarding experience. On the days leading up to my first day I had the usual nerves that you would expect, with the added layer of starting a brand new role with a brand new team right in the middle of COVID-19 lockdown.
Getting the remote onboarding setup right
Everything was well organized: my laptop was delivered to my house and our IT team had it already set up with access to the applications and systems that I would need on my first day of remote onboarding. That meant I could already see my inbox and that my schedule had been pre-packed with introductions and training sessions with RG team members from around the country. I was fortunate that at Reward Gateway, pretty much everything I needed was at my fingertips! I knew the second I logged in that this was set to be an onboarding I wouldn’t quickly forget.
Meeting my team
The first few days of any new job are a bit of a whirlwind, but I’ll never forget meeting my team for the first time virtually, via video call. They Zoom-bombed what was meant to be a one-to-one with welcome signs and made me feel so welcome!
In our first weekly catch-up that I attended, we had an icebreaker session and played a few games to get us to know one another more to create that team spirit from the get go.
Meeting colleagues from different departments and joining my first team meeting was a bit daunting, but when lockdown lifted I was able to meet some of my Sydney colleagues face-to-face. But one thing that I’ve found really great is that even though I’ve only met my Sydney-based team members so far, I still feel so connected with the rest of my team and the whole business.
This has been made so easy with our regular online catch ups and because I can simply log into our employee engagement program, boom!, every day and catch up on what is happening in our business. From weekly blog posts from the CEO, important notices from the People, Finance or Product teams, to pulse surveys and access to policies and benefits that I could immediately take advantage of – our platform has really allowed me to become more familiar with the business and its wider goals. It also helped to put faces to names!
Getting to know the business
One particular highlight for me was joining my first ever company-wide event: "boom!Fest." This was a day filled with a mix of fun activities to do at home and thorough business updates. Hearing straight from members of the leadership team - whose names I had frequently seen pop up on blog posts on boom! or on our instant messaging channels meant I got insight into the wider business and felt included and informed. It truly helped to bring the RG culture to life even more, and on a much broader scale. Our Culture Team organized some pretty amazing prizes that RGers from all over the world could win (hopefully at the next one I’m in with some luck of winning one).
Joining a culture of continuous recognition
Another aspect of the business that I really love is the way that we celebrate everyone’s wins, big or small.
Our "WOW wall" (a live feed of all the social, peer-to-peer recognition sent in our business) is always buzzing with colleagues celebrating moments with one another. As a new starter, this is really great to see! I love the fact that it's not just managers sending recognition to their team members – everyone at RG recognizes everyone!
We have a mixture of eCards to cater for different events, multicultural celebrations, strategic goals and our company values. It really is awesome to see people being celebrated for really living the values and mission here at RG!
On my first day there were a stream of peer-to-peer recognition eCards welcoming me to Reward Gateway, which really helped me to feel like I’d joined an awesome team and become a part of the company! I sent my first eCard at the end of my first week to thank everyone for the hard work they put into onboarding me remotely, which made me feel great to recognize others and see our own programs in action, too.
Accessing support from afar
Another amazing part of joining Reward Gateway is the employee benefits that I get access to the minute I join the team. It is so easy to just login to boom! and see what benefits are available to me (which, I’ve got to admit, I have really loved). I’ve taken full advantage of the retail discounts that we get from our SmartSpending employee discounts program (thank you, online shopping!) and I’ve also enjoyed making the most out of our Book Benefit, which allows all RG employees to expense one fiction book a month and an unlimited number of professional development books.
This is such a simple and practical way to support ongoing learning and to encourage employees to enjoy things purely for leisure – it was definitely a welcomed benefit that got me through lockdown!
Getting to know our benefits is easier when I can see them all at a glance!
Creating ambassadors from Day 1
Looking back at how easy it was for me to feel equipped and welcomed into the business, I would say my remote onboarding experience was truly a success. I’ve appreciated being surrounded by an amazing supportive team and platforms that helped me bring my best to work. Given that I only met a lot of my team face-to-face after 10+ months with the business I have still managed to feel like one of the team.
My advice to any managers who might have or are planning to remotely onboard their new staff, don’t think of the remote nature of onboarding as a hurdle – be organized with tech and calendars so you don’t feel the need to jump on a video call every day - let them take the reins too!
The first impression that my manager and teammates made in the first few days and through the following year is something that will stay with me and continue to motivate me – whether I happen to be doing that work at home or in our offices!