A Digital ‘Hello!’: Remote Onboarding at intive

The new normal has brought on many challenges with regard to building and maintaining an exciting company culture. One such challenge is how we interact with colleagues who first started work during the pandemic and had to experience – for the first time in intive’s history – a 100% digital onboarding process.  How do we make people feel welcome and well-informed (but not overwhelmed) in times of remote and hybrid work?

The onboarding process: feeling welcome from day one

When a person starts a new job, they might feel a bit nervous or insecure. Therefore, we want to make new employees feel welcome from the start, reassuring and surrounding them with that special positive energy intive has to offer: a culture of good vibes, openness, excitement, and respect towards one another. In that respect, the pandemic has made us really creative - we’ve come up with 3 types of onboarding processes, to be adjusted to every situation we might possibly face: on-site, remote, or a hybrid work model.

To ensure a positive first impression, we’ve created an onboarding kit with several items for the newcomers. It includes a computer setup (laptop, mouse, monitors, etc.), stationery (pencils, notebook), job-related software, and a couple of cool gadgets. No matter where they live, this kit includes everything a new intiver needs to start their new professional journey at the company. There are also certain aspects of the onboarding process that take place before the first meetings, such as the welcome email where we present crucial basic information, organize the onboarding schedule and mark all the meetings in the calendar. Moreover, all new employees receive a welcome video from the CEO. We focus on introducing the basic structure from day one.

As strong believers in continuous improvement, while relying on the existing useful practices, we are always ready to adjust and make them even more effective, depending and based on the feedback from newcomers. For instance, we’ve been aware for some time that new employees during the pandemic felt they received too much information on their first day of work, and that didn’t seem too efficient. To amend this, we’ve divided our process into several meetings, prioritizing certain types of information according to the actual needs of the new members of the staff.

The importance of the first weeks

The onboarding process for new intivers consists of several steps. All new employees worldwide are invited to attend the same onboarding presentation that lasts about an hour. Then, there may be local variations in terms of the number of meetings, but the goal is to get to know the new processes, teammates and line managers. If current sanitary protocols in each country allow it, we give them an office tour and help with the set up.

Entering the company involves receiving tons of information, things to read and do. Therefore, we’ve decided to arrange information according to priority to make sure that the newcomers are not overwhelmed and get to know the company and its processes one step at a time. Week after week, intivers are introduced to new areas, and we ensure frequent follow ups to offer support in understanding how everything works.

We talk about intive’s history and its current operations, the back office, organization processes, how to access certain benefits, the performance assessments, the Technology Chapters at intive, the current projects we’re working on, and so on. We focus on making sure that every new intiver feels well-informed and always make it clear that we’re there to help.

COVID-19 and its challenges

Working during the pandemic has been a challenge mainly because of the lack of direct contact with other people. It’s hard to welcome someone to the company with a coffee and a snack, if most of us work remotely or in a hybrid model. Therefore, we needed to find new ways to integrate the new hires and create a friendly virtual environment. We’ve developed several activities to stay in touch. One of them are the virtual coffee breaks that are open for everyone to join in. In addition, we have team channels to share and chat about the things we love: pets, games, recipes, etc.

Moreover, each new team member gets assigned a “Buddy”. This person is the first point of contact for the new intiver, and a great support for managers during the onboarding process. The Buddy helps the new staff member understand the company better and guides them along their career path, plus he/she is simply just a friendly face in the as-yet-unfamiliar environment. Within the first month of employment the new intivers have the opportunity to meet with the CEO, CTO and the CDO, besides attending other global meetings. Finally, to explain certain processes remotely, we rely on WIKI – that’s where we store many documents, explain processes and fill in all the gaps with information and relevant examples.

Feedback and evolution

Feedback following the onboarding is our most important metric. A month after entering the company, we seek feedback from all new employees, and we do in two different ways: during an individual interview with an HR representative, and via an online survey in which they are asked to evaluate and comment on, among other things, the onboarding process. If they point out something that needs improvement, we make sure to pay attention to it.

When people ask us how-to questions, it’s important to hear that the information they’ve received has proven useful; even if it isn’t a “formal” type of feedback, all kinds of opinions are valued and taken into account. When a new person knows how to ask for something and what area to refer to, we know the onboarding process has been successful, both for the people who conducted it and for the ones who paid attention and received the information.

What do new employees think about our remote onboarding? Nancy Molina, a QA Engineer who joined intive earlier this year, says: Starting a new job is usually challenging since it's like entering a new world, and now, with the current situation that physically separates us, it can become overwhelming. You are ‘the new one’ and don't know anyone or anything about the company. However, when I started at intive, my onboarding was quite a nice and well-organized experience.

From day one, I felt welcome and received all the help I needed. Communication was very clear and the HR team explained to me the structure, all the processes and benefits that intive offers, and how to access them.

What stands out, is the role of the Buddy, who is here to help you with all your doubts and concerns. They update you on company processes, ask helpful questions and offer support with any work-related problem. With this role in place, I’ve felt pretty comfortable at intive from day one.

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