What is it like to be virtually onboarded at Afiniti? Hear from Rachel Shaw, Change and Communications Consultant, about her experience.
Embarking on virtual onboarding process for my new role was not something I had even considered at the start of the year- yet now it seems completely the norm across industries. Luckily, I happened to join Afiniti who were already well equipped to deal with remote working. The technology was sorted out quickly with my new laptop arriving before my first week already set up and ready for me to log on, and I was able to access all of the internal social channels and my email instantly.
So, from a logistics standpoint, my virtual first day went swimmingly well. However, I did miss the butterflies you get when you arrive at the first day of your new job and walk into the building and are shown your desk. I missed not being able to go out for a walk or enjoy the meet and greet coffee dates you often have with new colleagues, possibly even a friendly welcome drink at the end of the day, but the virus made all of that impossible.
Instead, my first day consisted of several introductory video calls with Afiniti colleagues, all very friendly and approachable, and a lot of reading. As it was the first time I was meeting quite a few of them, I did enjoy the chance to ask questions and connect. Oddly, and I can remember thinking this at the time, the meetings actually felt more focused and connected than what I had previously experienced in an office environment when so often onboarding meetings can be moved or rescheduled with a quick walk by chat or phone call.
As the week progressed, I had my first client meeting which was completely different to what I was used to. I didn’t have to wear a full suit or wait in a reception area for 15 minutes before being taken to a meeting room. Instead, I was able to meet and chat with my client in a more comfortable setting (my living room!). The client isn’t based in the UK so this was normal to them even before the outbreak – it was just me adjusting.
Onboarding virtually, you certainly have to learn to be more proactive with reaching out to people. I organised quite a few ‘coffees’ and was able to meet various Afiniti colleagues this way- none of which cancelled or turned me down, despite conflicting priorities, which I found incredibly welcoming and warm. The downside is that it does take a lot longer than usual to meet everyone as you aren’t bumping into people in the hallways or on the stairs- you have to actively find time in their calendar to connect.
Despite this, not once have I found that I can’t reach out or quickly call someone if I am unsure or have a question. I was also assigned an Afiniti Lead who was incredibly helpful in our weekly catch ups in getting me into the swing of things and making me feel comfortable with the Afiniti ways of working and checking in on my wellbeing and progress. This time was exceptionally helpful for me in becoming more comfortable with my role and responsibilities. In addition, the weekly Town Hall catch ups were useful for me in gauging a wider picture of the Afiniti ecosystem, such as who was who and what was happening in everyone else’s’ week.
So overall, although I am a very social person and would prefer to be in an office environment some of the time, I think that my virtual onboarding experience was welcoming and not at all stressful, despite a worldwide epidemic.
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