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How to succeed with your onboarding and education online

Most companies are working on facilitating virtual workspaces, solutions that allows flexible work hours and a more simple day to day. It usually comes with great benefits like work-life balance and a smaller carbon footprint as examples. But these benefits haven’t been big enough to fully take the leap. In our current situation, everyone will need to take the step into the online workspace. No one doubts that we’ve only seen the start of this change and now more than ever there are a great deal of material to read about how to be effective in online meetings. And for good reason. But make sure to look further than the next sprint planning session and ensuring that the next Monday meeting is great. A lot of the forums that traditionally wouldn’t have been thought of being effective outside of the offices will be more productive in the confines on a virtual meeting room. We started with our own onboarding, intro and trainings. Here are my thoughts and take aways from our success of our intro program!

We’re a growing consultant business in constant development and growth. In my role as an employee experience manager I’ve lead the work in moving our onboarding, intro and training online. In these times we need to be extra creative and I have been running onboarding online from home this week.

How to facilitate online?

Facilitating intro and onboarding online is not something new and most companies have applied this in some way. There are off the shelf solutions that are very effective. But there’s a difference between being effective and being productive. If the goal is to introduce someone to your culture, ways of working, role specific training and the classic office tour, making smart decisions and planning is key. Digitalent have grown on the notion of building together, with initiatives like this included. We’ve involved consultants, talent relations and sales, not only to get different perspectives but narrowing down the content to the most relevant. As we have two new offices opening up, including a new country, we built on everything being scaleable and online-friendly. The three main areas were our culture, ways of working and system/processes. Each of which having a more effective forum, system/processes was placed in our e-learning plattform and we built live session modules for 5 areas: Mission & strategy, delivering excellence, growth, personal development and sales.

Points that I have top of mind when building and facilitating trainings that take place online.

  • Space for free talk. We don’t need to be less of ourselves just because we don’t sit next to our colleagues The digital forum creates an awareness that we should speak when we really have something to contribute with, which is a positive outcome. But create the agenda and space to bring everyones personalities to the session. Ask informel questions or create a quick poll to build engagement.

  • Facilitate first. We tend to prepare a lot of content and become present-heavy. Instead of leaning on our notes in a meeting room we create a detailed script that we read from. Theories, models and ideas need to be presented of course but take a look at the presentation and se where input, reflection or activities are needed.

  • Build break out sessions. This works as good online as offline. Instead of reading straight from the corporate-dictionary, build on reflections from the group. Ask for previous experiences or their take on a new theory. Structure this in smaller group with clear questions (max 2-3) and suggest a forum for them to discuss. Make sure to have a debrief, if the group is very big and you need to manage you time, prepare a group to share their thoughts.

  • Round up with a next step. This could be a task of reflection for everyone to bring home. But not necessarily. Give everyone an idea of the next time they will be exposed to or should be using this theory. After a session on personal development we close of by sending out a tool that will be walked through in the first conversation with the experience manager.

Remember to drive culture

It’s important for us to thrive and drive our culture despite we’re in different locations. As said, it’s great to create forums for social interaction, virtual work outs or informal lunch meetings. And use social media, have internal accounts and share your day to day, that’s what we are doing! And give recognition, the quick feedback or energy boost on the way to the conference room falls between the key lines. For almost a year, we’ve had a digital way of recognising each other. A web application built by some amazing colleagues in their spare time that hopefully now will take the next step. Anyone can send an ”X-card” with a message to someone that have done something extra. All cards are put in a pile and at the end of the week we read them out loud in a virtual meeting. The simple solution is often the most productive one, as long as there’s a smart solution behind it.

Jonas Lundmark

Employee experience manager at Digitalent

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