Remote onboarding is a top challenge for leaders today. According to Harvard Business School, “Remote onboarding requires new skills, capabilities, and processes; leaders must dedicate twice as much effort and time.”
In 2020, many leaders sensed this and doubled-down on structured, clinical learning curricula and what Harvard called, “the onboarding document dump” or Technical Onboarding.
Last year’s approach missed what is known as, Social Onboarding, the process by which new hires learn norms, get to know colleagues, and gain psychological safety. Social Onboarding happened naturally in “The Office”, but in remote work this requires deliberate planning.
Why is Social Onboarding so important?
(1) Form relationships
When team members know each other better, it creates psychological safety – a prerequisite for trust and creativity.
(2) Understand team norms
Social interactions help newcomers understand acceptable behaviors and effective means of communication.
(3) Promote authentic self-expression
Harvard research showed when new hires introduce their authentic selves soon after being hired, both they and their employer perform better.
Here are three examples of Teamraderie experiences that leaders use for Social Onboarding:
Best for: Getting to know each other.
Summary: Stanford’s Kathryn Segovia joins you live and leads your team through two science-backed exercises. Through “The Mistakes Game” and “The Similarity Hunt”, you and your new teammates will accelerate bonding in just 45 minutes.
Best for: Understanding team norms. Authentic self-expression.
Summary: Unlike ‘recognition’, ‘appreciation’ is focused on who you are rather than on what you achieved last month. The experience is a chance for each person to share something they have come to appreciate uniquely about their team and colleagues.
Best for: Forming deep connections quickly.
Summary: A powerful experience where a famous rapper/poet trains you to self-express quickly through rap or poetry. Participants discover more about themselves and deeply connect with the colleagues.
While remote onboarding can be difficult, there are many unique ways in which emerging leaders can approach this challenge. Through planning and exciting experiences, social onboarding can be done in a way that promotes connection, commitment and trust in your team.