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Onboarding Virtually: How I Started My New Job Completely Online
By Courtney Lodge
Starting a new job can be an uncertain and stressful time of transition in your life, but starting a new job during a global pandemic brings a set of new challenges. When I was interviewing for my new role at Capital One earlier this year, I never could have imagined that I would be remotely onboarded and working from home until further notice. I was so excited for my first day as a new Marketing Strategist, but with a start date during a time of strict social distancing rules, I knew I wouldn’t have the traditional first day at a new job experience. I wouldn’t be driving to the office in Wilmington, getting my picture taken for an ID badge and I wouldn’t be joining a cohort of other new hires in a typical first day onboarding session with human resources. I was nervous about not having a standard onboarding experience as I was entering a very large, and completely new to me, organization. I worried about training and getting to know my manager and coworkers in a remote environment. But the supportive and flexible work culture on my team and at Capital One made my transition so much smoother.
Finding the support and understanding to confidently start a new job remotely
So, on my first day at a new job, I stayed home. I received a very thorough and sympathetic email from human resources explaining how I would be onboarded remotely. A laptop and company cell phone would be shipped to my home and once I was connected to Capital One’s network, I would be able to connect with my new manager. It was a few days before I was all set up to work at home so I did my best to stay connected with human resources and my manager on expectations during that time. My first virtual interaction with my manager was great, she assured me that this is uncharted territory for everyone and wanted to make sure I wasn’t overwhelmed. As she put it, transitioning to a new job takes time, learning the in and outs of Capital One takes even more time and then doing that all remotely will probably draw out the process. She level set expectations of me over the next few months and wanted to make sure I didn't put too much pressure on myself to really jump in and perform.
Once I was set up in my new home office, I joined a virtual onboarding session that the human resources team coordinated. We covered the basics, like signing up for benefits, but we also had the opportunity to learn more about Capital One's history, mission and values. The session had over 200 participants, it was nice to know that I wasn’t alone in my virtual onboarding experience. At the same time, I couldn’t help but wish I was in the office, to onboard with the new team members at my office, face to face. The HR team worked hard to make sure we all felt supported as new hires and made sure we had the same resources and access for questions or assistance, just as if we were at the office.
Adopting a welcoming new work culture
I’ve learned that during times of uncertainty or stress, you have to take things one day at a time. So that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. During my first week, I spent much of my time on Zoom, having meet & greets with my team, which turns out, isn’t far from the norm at Capital One. Half of my team works out of a different location so this was likely how I would have first met them anyways. My team is also utilizing Slack for a “Question of the Day” to keep us connected in this new digital working environment. I’m learning tidbits about my new coworkers ranging from their favorite vacation spots to the one food they’d eat for the rest of their life. I actually feel like I’m learning more personal anecdotes about my coworkers than I may have learned face to face over a few weeks in the office.
While I never imagined onboarding to a new job virtually, I am happy to report that things are going just fine. I am very thankful for my health and for Capital One’s continued support. For others who may be onboarding virtually soon, my advice is to not put too much pressure on yourself, connect with as many people as you can, immerse yourself in your training resources and don’t be afraid to ask questions. As the days of quarantine roll by, I’m trying to stay positive and am very much looking forward to having my real first day in the office.
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