The current pandemic has come about suddenly and has brought extreme uncertainty around the world. IT companies everywhere have started remote operations, with all their employees working from home. Even though Nineleaps has successfully integrated a remote operations framework, on the management front new challenges arose.
With our hiring getting more aggressive than before the pandemic, it became vital to discover and implement a virtual process to onboard new talent. After much thought and many discussions, we as a team was able to devise and bring to life a process that has helped us convert this challenge into a new opportunity.
I am writing this article to share my experience in designing and conducting the Virtual Onboarding and Induction program at Nineleaps. One of our beliefs at Nineleaps is the evolution towards the future with active collaboration through commitments. With that belief in our hearts, we transitioned from our traditional onboarding to a more virtual process in welcoming our new hires.
It was in the middle of March when we decided that all our employees will work from home and continue working for customers remotely. The challenge of onboarding arose when new talent started coming in and there was a question about how to welcome them into the family. After much thought, I decided that using a virtual platform would enable remote onboarding easily. The more I thought about it, the more the challenges presented themselves.
We had to design our process in a way so that our new joinees feel welcome in the absence of physical office premises, welcome kits, and the customary meet and greets.
We had to also integrate an easy way to provide them with enough information to start off with.
We also had to discover ways to keep them engaged throughout the virtual onboarding process.
Post Onboarding, we needed a plan to constantly connect with them and give them enough support
Finally, we needed to take in their inputs as feedback and improve the process.
I started researching on the digital platforms for documentation and with the necessary details, I approached my seniors with the proof of concept of the process I had envisioned. After a lengthy discussion, they gave me a thumbs up and we went ahead with it.
We soon finalized on a very user-friendly, open-source platform provide by Zoho. To make sure that our process is radiant and transparent, we developed our own GLEAM Framework as our plan of action.
Greeting: To welcome our new joinees we decided to have a creative welcome note designed by our internal design team that would go as the first thing to their inboxes. Post that, to start with the meet and greets we would have our recruitment team giving notes of welcome to the new joinees post which I would take over to reins in taking the onboarding program forward.
Learning: We reduced our traditional 5-hour program to 3 hours on the first day where we would pass on all the knowledge that the new employees require about the company, processes, policies, etc. They would then be introduced to the tech team and our leaders.
Empathize: We also decided to utilize this opportunity to connect with them on a personal level by going beyond the traditional ‘How are you?’ by understanding their background, current situation and encouraging them to be transparent. This information would help us help them get accommodated better with the organization.
Acquit: We planned their day two in such a way that they could get acquainted with their PoC’s and get a deeper understanding of the next actions that they need to take.
Monitor: We also planned to roll out a questionnaire rolled soon after the Induction program for the new joinees to share their experience on the virtual onboarding, monitoring these inputs to help us to improvise our process for the upcoming batches.
The framework was then approved and we began to onboard our first talents remotely.
On 6th April 2020, we began our first virtual onboarding and induction program with 14 new employees. I remember feeling anxious about the video con-call. However, things settled in soon as there was a synchronicity between me and the employees, the interactions, the new virtual environment, and of course, the new platform. Towards the end of my first Virtual Induction, I remember feeling happy, excited and having a sense of achievement.
We have onboarded 30+ new members to our Nineleaps family. It gave me immense pleasure and a lot of positivity while welcoming the new and fresh faces virtually. I am eager to welcome our next batch.
“The induction was good and informative. It gives the clear picture of the working and culture of the company. I liked being introduced and being able to chat with different people. I was also happy to get interacted by founders as well. So, it was a very nice experience for me.” — Utkarsh Kumar Agarwal (Software Development Engineer II)
Virtual onboarding undoubtedly is a new experience for us however it has made the process more streamlined and quicker by allowing us to continue with our operations even during times like this. Functioning in the current pandemic has made us future-ready in terms of operating remotely and keep the business growing.
This blog post was authored by Leena Sawant.