A peek inside: How TEKsystems adapted onboarding and training for the future of work
Learn how remote working has impacted our onboarding strategies—from a TEKsystems employee’s first week to ongoing professional development.
Nov. 23, 2020 | By: TEKsystems
Navigating the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Our first and foremost priorities are ensuring we’re supporting our employees, consultants and clients across the globe. As a full-stack technology and talent partner, we want to share our experience and offer support on how to alleviate the uncertainty around workplace services support as many businesses shift to a primarily remote workforce for an indefinite period of time.
Globally, companies have shifted from face-to-face professional interactions to remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this shift, remote onboarding and training has become a new reality. And that doesn’t exclude TEKsystems. Whether that’s building our future workforce with tomorrow’s skills or reskilling current teams on communication tools, our professional development department hasn’t put capability building or training on hold.
Learn how large-scale remote work has impacted our virtual onboarding strategies—from a TEKsystems employee’s first week to ongoing professional development.
Adapting our onboarding process during COVID-19
At the very beginning of this pandemic, we made an executive decision to halt all in-person training and onboarding operations. Within a week, we turned the lights back on with a new virtual strategy and execution plan. In phase one of this plan, we replicated all in-person training to a remote climate. Identical time frame, presentation and activities—just virtual. In phase two, we realized that we had to adapt. Remote working and learning require a different way of teaching—we adapted our strategy for long-term operations as we learned the gravity of how long we will be remote. Think: changes to how we were inviting and welcoming new hires; welcome packages and laptops being delivered to houses; hosting regional calls every week to welcome and train new hires; breaking up the training sessions and keeping the groups small.
New hire health, well-being and productivity
Working remotely can already feel like an isolating experience—especially when you don’t already know your colleagues. So, with new hires who haven’t had the chance to experience the company’s culture, we lean heavily on collaboration and virtual communication tools, like video conferencing on WebEx and Microsoft Teams, to mimic those in-office interactions. Also, clarity on goals and expectations when you’re working with a virtual team is more critical than ever because you’re not physically there. So, we make sure our teachers and leaders set those clear expectations; reinforcing that normal operating rhythm with a new hire—or existing team—is important. You have to be very intentional and deliberate with providing channels for your teams to connect and build deeper relationships, virtually. We’ve done just that: Leadership speakers, happy hours and team building all have required thought to make the experience conducive for virtual, but the outcomes similar to in-person.
Maintaining business continuity in our workforce development
Leadership and managers have played such a critical role in keeping our teams informed. They have taken extra steps to connect with their remote employees and remain empathetic, while recognizing in today’s unprecedented times that they aren’t going to have the answers to everything that may be pulling on their team members. Plus, we started to think about how they’ll share knowledge differently and lead virtually. You can’t just walk to your coworker’s desk anymore, so it’s important to develop more formal ways of being able to share knowledge, collaborate and lead your organization virtually.
Keeping new hires and trainees engaged
We did a bit of research on the human brain in a virtual environment. What used to be a 20-person class is now only four or five people. Besides having closer one-on-one time with teachers, attendees also get a break every 45–60 minutes. Our curriculum involves moving in and out of virtual rooms and breaking into different sessions. We also implemented the strategy of individual learning and encourage times during the day for our new hires to read or train individually, while the teachers keep the virtual meeting open if anyone needs to pop in for a question. We’ve noticed a sense of freedom and autonomy with this new way of learning.
The new now is very different than it was. As we transform our strategy once we can work in-person again, we will continue to consider new ways to train our employees moving forward. It was never our intention to move away from the in-classroom experience, but this virtual environment provided insights that have become food for thought.