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Employee onboarding: Remote hiring and training

By Tracey Robinson - 14th July 2020

Despite the disruption from Coronavirus, we’ve hired eleven new employees and given them the necessary training and onboarding experience — all without physically meeting them in person.

We’ve been fortunate to maintain our growth trajectory despite the pandemic situation. And that means recruitment hasn’t stopped for us.

When we decided the whole company should work from home, we had already made three offers to candidates. So we quickly moved to ensure the onboarding and integration process was as seamless as possible. 

Onboarding remotely

We ensured the basics were covered; preparing and sending laptops, making sure new employees were set up at home and securely sending any sensitive details such as passwords and login details.

On day one, instead of showing a new employee around the office and making introductions, we have a virtual meeting at 9 am. It allows everyone to say ‘Hi’ and introduce them to some of the people they'll be working with. 

Further hangout meetings for the first few days cover:

  • Meeting with the line manager
  • Meet the CEO and get an overview of Zaizi
  • Laptop check-in to ensure they’re properly set up
  • HR 
  • Introduction to the Zaizi ways of working
  • Introduction to other teams to get a lowdown of what’s happening in the company, such as Sales & Marketing, SRE, other projects etc.
  • Friday Virtual Pub sessions
     

We also send personalised goody bags. We ask each new person to give us a bit of an intro about themselves. This intro gets emailed to everyone in the organisation but we also use the answers to think of innovative welcome gifts.

Example of what's sent in goody bags
Goody bags: Custom gifts sent to new employees based on what they like

Remote working — the new normal

The feedback has been really good. But as we’re continuing to work remotely for the foreseeable future, we would like to undertake a retro with all the new joiners since lockdown to see what more we can do to make the process better. 

We realised pretty early in the process that we had to improve how we set-up people on laptops. But our support engineer, who onboarded remotely himself, has already introduced ideas to make it smoother. 

Another thing we realised is the social side of things. As we’re introducing more people into the organisation, we have to find ways of integrating them into the wider company. Our office manager has taken steps to get people talking to each other, especially with those outside their teams. It’s replicating those water-cooler moments that would have naturally happened in an office environment when a new employee joins. 

This is obviously the new normal for now, but the hope is we all meet in person — sometime soon!
 

Katherine O’Doherty, Senior Product Manager

Picture of Katherine


Katherine joined Zaizi as a Senior Product Manager in June. She's worked for many government organisations, including the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HM Revenue & Customs.

What was the onboarding process like for you?

The onboarding process was great. I had a laptop delivered a few days before I started by a friendly member of the team and all of my set up details forwarded to me by email or phone.

What did you think worked best from the onboarding process?

I thought the effort to introduce me to the company, over various calls and set up meetings with different members of the team, was great. It felt like a lot of thought had gone into how I would get logged on and started on my first day. I also got some surprise joining presents, which was a lovely touch and made me feel very welcome!

What were your hopes and fears joining, especially as you joined during lockdown?

I think just managing to understand and get stuck into the work remotely, without the opportunity to have casual conversations and ask silly questions. But people have been very patient with me as I’ve been calling them up to do that!

How have you settled into Zaizi?

Really well. I feel like I have been here a lot longer than a month now!

What one thing would you recommend Zaizi does to smoothen the process further?

I don't really have any other recommendations. I thought it worked really well and was impressed.

About the author: Tracey Robinson
Tracey is the Head of People & Culture. She is responsible for employee engagement and retention and growing the highly talented team at Zaizi. She is passionate about the Zaizi culture and making Zaizi a great place to work.