As the newest Aztek digital marketing team member, I've had the unique experience of starting my new role as an email marketing specialist during a pandemic. Talk about nerve-wracking! Fortunately, leading up to my start date, the Aztek team maintained close communication with me. Already, I could tell that onboarding a new hire successfully was important to Aztek and that they were taking extra measures and employing creative solutions to ensure the success of onboarding me remotely. Below, I’ve shared some of the keys to my remote onboarding success.

CREATE AN ONBOARDING CHECKLIST

Whether onboarding someone remotely or in-person, Aztek uses Trello, a collaborative list-making and productivity tool, to outline a new hire's first week. Having a list of things to do and review throughout my first week was exactly what I hoped for when I learned I would be onboarded remotely.

The Trello board had a list of tasks to complete on day one, on day two, in the first week, etc., and I was able to jump right in and contribute from day one. The board also included resources that I've referenced throughout my first couple of months, like information about payroll and time off, details about Aztek's wellness program, and even a digital “people wall” with names and photos of my new co-workers! Looking back, the Trello board really guided me through standard onboarding procedures and gave me an excellent overview of the ins-and-outs of the company.

STAY CONNECTED WITH GROUP CHAT

Slack has been amazing for daily communication and getting to know the team and understand the different roles and responsibilities within the organization. It's also given me a glimpse of what the day-to-day office chatter would be like, get a feel for the company culture, and know who to turn to for certain questions.

Speaking of which, Slack has also served as a great platform for quick, off-the-cuff questions. I may not be able to walk over to someone's desk to ask a quick question, but I can send them a message that they'll reply to at their convenience. It's been a godsend for productivity and helped me pick up the nuances of my new role as quickly as if we'd been in the office.

A word of caution, however, about the effectiveness of group chat; it's not without its flaws. Although Slack has helped me feel included, it’s harder to get a feel for people's personalities without being in the office. Words, reaction GIFs, and emojis are helpful, but they can't replace body language and the tone of someone's voice.

DESIGNATE A TRUSTED ADVISOR

Having someone on the team to train me and serve as my guide and go-to resource has been the most critical element of a smooth onboarding process. Each job has its unique challenges and processes that can be difficult to figure out in a remote environment. Having someone to turn to for all sorts of questions (thanks again, Slack!) has been indispensable.

HOLD A DAILY STAND-UP

Kicking off each morning with an all-team Zoom video call was another important piece to my onboarding process. It helped me see what each member of the digital marketing team does each day and provides another opportunity to get some quick facetime with my co-workers. These daily stand-up meetings have made me feel included and a part of the team from the start.

INTRODUCE CLIENTS AND PROJECTS EARLY

I was invited to monthly client meetings within my first two weeks at Aztek. Even though I was just observing, being included in these meetings really helped me understand the work that I'd be doing for that client. Connecting the dots early on between our clients' goals and my role within Aztek has been enormously helpful.

If you're not in an agency environment, you can create a similar experience by inviting new hires to sit in on meetings for projects that they aren't directly working on. This gives employees a more holistic view of the organization and demonstrates how their contribution positively impacts the company.

SCHEDULE SMALL MEET & GREETS

Meeting my new co-workers through small "Meet & Greet" Zoom video calls over the first few weeks really helped me feel connected. It was wonderful to get to know everyone on a more personal level, while gaining a better understanding of their position within the company and how we would work together.

Like many of these tools and tips, meet and greet meetings are also useful in a traditional office environment. Aztek has found that the small groups work best for these in-person meet and greets, but it's even more important to limit these calls to three or four people to keep the conversation flowing.

HAVE A WEEKLY CHECK-IN

Weekly check-ins with my direct supervisor have been so important and beyond helpful on many levels. We blocked out this time to ask questions, make sure I’m on track, plan out my week, prioritize tasks, manage my workload, and prepare for what's on the horizon.

Overall, as I reflect on my onboarding experience, I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time at Aztek, and a big part of that is because of how supportive the team is. I’m excited to keep improving my skills and growing within the company. I can’t wait to see what awesome email marketing projects I’ll be able to work on in the future!

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