Starting a new job before the pandemic was nerve-racking enough but having to start a new job whilst working from home adds a whole new dimension to first day jitters.
What if you can’t meet your manager and colleagues in person for a while? How will you get to know your colleagues, get up to speed on how to do your job, or even know who to contact when you have questions?
All good companies will have a robust virtual onboarding process in place for new starters and the operational and strategic elements are likely be led by your new companies HR and L&D teams.
Whilst your new line manager will want to make you feel welcome there are several things you can do to enhance your experience and get the most out of your new job.
If you haven’t already been set any goals, work with you manager to create some short- and long-term SMART objectives. Decide what you would like to achieve within your first month, three months and 6 months in your new role. These early goals will help you keep focused, improve your self-confidence in the job and make a positive impression on your new manager.
It may also be worth also asking if there’s any training you can access remotely or someone you should reach out to for help. If you are set any new projects be sure ask when they are due, so everyone is on the same page in terms of what is expected of you.
Find out how your team communicates
As you get to know your new colleagues, one of your first questions to them should be: What’s the best or easiest way to communicate with you? Find out if they have a preferred method (email, instant message, phone, or video), time of day or even frequency of getting in touch. Tell them about your preferences so you can meet at a time that works for everyone.
It’s also important to ask your manager how they’d like to hear from you. Would they like you to collect your questions and send them daily or weekly? How often would they like to have a catch-up and what format would that take?
Finally, see if there is anyone that has started the same time as you and reach out to them. A shared experience can help you feel less isolated and build confidence through exchanging stories.
Get to know your team
Consider asking your manager for a list of key stakeholders and team members that you’d like to connect with. Then follow up with colleagues to set up virtual coffee chats to ask questions about their roles, the projects they’re working on. Use the opportunity to find out how the team communicates. For example, emails might be for work only, instant message or video calls for questions and chat.
Understand how your company has been impacted by the pandemic
If you’re joining a company that’s gone through pandemic-related challenges, such as budget cuts or personal losses due to COVID-19, team morale might not be high. It’s important to find out what your team has been through over the last year and be sure to show compassion.
Be flexible and understanding
Have patience with your new employer. Understand that the onboarding process is complicated for both parties, and it’s not exactly ideal. Starting your job remotely at a time when your manager and colleagues are also juggling home and work life, and you’re all dealing with a lot of other stresses during a global pandemic. So be kind to yourself and others and remember you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get to know everybody and won’t be the newbie forever.