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Virtual New Hire Training in a Remote World

EddieAguilar Moderator | mod
edited February 6 in Workforce Management

With the uncertainty of when/if/how we will return to the office. How do you find yourself leveraging existing tools or new tools to properly train and integrate new hires?

We are really honing in our curriculum with some vital learn and test virtual delivery methods that actually would have helped even in the office environment but, I would like to open up a discussion about lessons learned so far and emerging best practices.

A big pain point we are trying to overcome is building team relationships and integrating new hires in to the culture. The majority of the team used to be in the office, which helped build those "ping me anytime" relationships. Missing those water cooler and spin your chair around moments, how have you begun to fill those gaps virtually?

Thanks in advance for any contributions :)

Best Answer

  • PatrickMartin
    PatrickMartin Founding Analyst | Expert ✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    Hi @Eddie Aguilar . We share some of the same challenges on our end as well. Onboarding remote employees and incorporate them in the team culture is definitely an area that we are focusing on. Our training and onboarding process is pretty much self-paced, to which we assign a mentor and target timelines to have completed the various steps in the onboarding process. This did not really change as we switched to remote. For the team integration part, we hold daily SCRUM meetings to ensure that everyone gets to know each other and help others when needed. We also have various social events throughout the week, to which we strongly encourage everyone to participate (happy hours, noon online gaming, etc.). However, we have seen participation drop as our remote time extends. We have just launched a new "Get to know..." initiative to help boost morale, team collaboration and integration of our newer members. This initiative consists of asking 20 some questions to each team member on various topics (last book read, hidden talent, favorite quote, etc.). We then use this information to build daily questionnaires (1 theme/question per week) and people need to guess who it is. We keep a leaderboard and such so that we add a little more fun and interaction as we are all remote. This has been very welcomed by the team members and we see high participation rates.

    I understand that this is not quite "work related", but I believe that it contributes to integrate our new employees in our team culture, allowing them to know their colleagues on various fronts, as well as share information about themselves.

    I hope this helps and triggers some ideas for you. Let me know if you would like to discuss further.


  • Lexi Provost
    Lexi Provost Moderator | mod

    Hi @Eddie Aguilar, thank you for your question. We do have a couple recently published papers that could be really valuable as you continue to navigate virtual employee training. One is our paper Remote Employee Wellness by our EVP Thomas Lah. The other is The State of Knowledge Management 2020, but our VP of Technology Research, John Ragsdale.

    @Gavin O'Leary or @Gerry Nolan, any input on employee training in a virtual environment?

  • SumitBhat
    SumitBhat Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

    Hi @Eddie Aguilar

    Besides our self paced trainings we are putting a lot of emphasis on virtual meetings , more interactions with the wider teams besides the designated mentors. We also have coach roles in our organization and we define their success on how well they have been able to integrate the new members in the team and its really a game changer when you push and recognize your senior members who go the extra mile to create and foster; as your rightly said "ping me anytime" relationships.

  • Jason Seals
    Jason Seals Moderator | mod

    Now that we are 2+ years in. How is everyone feeling about these attempts? What worked or didn't? Has the "great resignation" change how you think about any of this?

    For us, we had a decent enough training process that was run by the reporting manager. That has since evolved into something assigned to a mentor - shoutout to @PatrickMartin - and we have a lot more SOP documentation, since new folks can't just ask their cube neighbor for those kinds of details.

    We also have a lot more "swarming", to borrow a phrase from support services, on new ideas, processes, committees, etc., and that gives something for CSMs to work on together. And of course working closely on a shared goal is a great way to form bonds (along with developing project skills a CSM might not ordinarily run into).

  • PatrickMartin
    PatrickMartin Founding Analyst | Expert ✭✭✭

    Hi Jason, Wow, already been more than 1 year since the original question. I can tell you that a lot has happened on the enablement side of things for us. We hired an Internal Development Program Manager to build a full virtual training program for new employees, as well as progressive modular training/development paths for continuous training and development of our team members. We have just launched this in our LMS and this has been greatly appreciated by the team as they have access to necessary training sessions at the tip of their fingers, and it gives them the tools to grow professionally in their roles within the team. We have also launched an intelligent swarming solution leveraging Salesforce, Slack and Coveo to target collaboration and leverage other team members knowledge to help their peers on cases. Our approach is based on ML/AI to identify most qualified agents to help, and bring them in a dedicate Slack channel, to then index it (using Coveo) and make it available for future use. For those interested in knowing more, I'll be presenting on this topic at the upcoming TSIA World conference in Orlando. You can also reach out to me directly if that suits you best.

  • Jason Seals
    Jason Seals Moderator | mod

    @PatrickMartin This is super insightful and sounds like you have developed something with real scale. I'll be sure to check out the presentation! (live or recorded depending on the demands of the day).