Every time we start a role at a new company, we go through Onboarding; and for every company it’s different; so what are the things we need to be considering as we try to perfect the onboarding experience, especially in this more virtual/remote/hybrid working world.
Having just gone through this process again with Deloitte; I thought about what elements I found that worked well, and what elements could be improved; especially in consideration to what I’ve experienced elsewhere (focusing only on those roles where I’ve onboarded virtually, compared to the public Sector where my onboarding was always in person).
Pre day one:
- Receiving any kit – At Difrent I received my laptop on day one; at both Kainos and Deloitte I received my laptop prior to my start date; which did seem better in terms of taking the stress out of waiting for your laptop and worrying about if/ when it would arrive on day one so you could start work.
- Onboarding tasks – Kainos and Deloitte both had onboarding tasks that needed completing prior to my start date via their Onboarding portals; things like uploading ID documents etc. At Kainos there were welcome messages waiting for me in the Onboarding portal from my Business Unit Lead and People Manager as well as some generic information about the company and benefits etc, which I useful; in comparison on the Deloitte onboarding portal the introductory information about the company and benefits were more in-depth; and there were more tasks to complete in preparation of starting, but there were no personalised welcome messages from my managers, which would have been nice. Difrent had no onboarding portal, instead any such tasks were completed via email.
- One thing in particular I want to call out and praise Deloitte for is how it handled health declarations etc. Including in the onboarding tasks was a task to complete your health declaration (pretty standard) however this included things like mental health, neurodiversity (including Sensory processing issues etc). in a really inclusive, non judgemental way; asking sensible questions that honestly made you feel like they were there to give you the best level of support. An Occupation Health call was also scheduled as standard for new starters, to make sure any support you needed was in place from day one. More places need to get better at doing this, and full marks to Deloitte for doing it so well.
- Logging on – At Deloitte I’d received my login details by 9:30, at Kainos this took until 10:30am; and at Difrent my login details were provided along with the laptop when it arrived around 11am.
- Getting set up – The instructions I received at Deloitte for getting my laptop and account set up seemed to be focus on a Windows laptop, which given I had a Mac was slightly confusing, with a number of the steps it was telling me to complete being irrelevant or different. This was slightly easier at Kainos as the instructions were provided for both Mac and Windows users; and at Difrent we only used Macs, so again, the set up instructions were clearer.
- Induction – At Difrent, the priority was jumping into the work, so the induction was less structured, and more a list of things to do and people to meet when you had time; which left you trying to juggle priorities. Deloitte and Kainos had virtual inductions for all new starters on the same day. At Kainos this was a 2 day induction that went through all the tasks you had to complete and had you complete them together; which was a nice idea, but if you happened to be someone who could speed through the tasks it felt a bit slow; at Deloitte it was a 1 day induction which gave you an introduction to everything and instructions on what you needed to do; with a checklist for you to take away and complete the tasks at your own pace, with a drop in option should you have any issues. This was certainly my preference, as it let me work at my own pace.
- Introductions – At Kainos, as you’d already had a welcome message from your people manager etc before you started and the first two days were dedicated to the induction, there was minimal contact from anyone else until day 3 once your induction was completed; which made sense. At Deloitte I didn’t get my People Manager confirmed until the afternoon of day one; and I wasn’t able to get a welcome session in with them until the beginning of week 2; but I did get a virtual welcome introductory email on my first morning, which meant lots of folks reached out to introduce themselves and set up intro chat’s, which felt really welcoming.
Weeks One & Two:
- At Deloitte, the focus for week one was completing all the mandatory compliance training etc. I also received a list of folks it would be useful for me to get to know as part of my role, and it was made clear that once my training was complete, networking and getting to know folks would be the priority before diving into project work. I was glad we had the first week set aside for training, as it was very thorough, and I found the D&I courses in particular really well done, both inclusive and informative. The only thing I found a bit lacking in the first week was contact from my people manager or buddies, as once I completed the training I wasn’t sure what to start on next, and I know from a few other new starters they were missing that contact as well. I then spent my second week getting around and meeting folks, going into the office for the first time etc; and then I got briefed on the project work they wanted me to start to pick up the following week. This was actually a really reassuring way of doing things, and a good way to learn about the company and its people, culture and priorities before diving into the work.
- At Kainos, once the induction was complete it was straight onto project work; and while I didn’t mind getting stuck in, it left me trying to build my network in my spare time, which as a new starter in a new company coming in at a fairly high level was tricky, as so much of what I needed to do depending on asking the right person, whom I often didn’t know or hadn’t had chance to meet. While I was given a list of folks to meet, and their job titles/responsibilities etc, many of them I didn’t get chance to meet until well into the second or third month, which was less ideal.
- At Difrent, it was project work from Day 1, with no time to acclimatise, and again left me trying to do introductions and getting to know the people and culture in whatever spare time I could find.
So; what were my hots and nots?
All in all, I’ve been impressed with Deloitte’s processes so far, and it has seemed well structured and thought out; the only thing I’d improve would be that People Manager contact before you start/ or on day one. Now to go start doing some actual work!