Shifting to Virtual Onboarding

By Jenna Knudsen

The era of remote working has changed CO’s onboarding by creating a new process for meeting potential hires and introducing new employees to the office. Pre-pandemic, our onboarding processes were much looser and natural, but that has since changed in our remote-work environment. We can no longer rely on the organic introductions that happen naturally in an office environment, and the process requires more preparation and organization.

At CO, every new candidate is scheduled for onboarding sessions on their first day – IT, HR, General Office, Intranet and project. New hires also have lunch with their assigned office buddies, one or two peers who are helpful resources and friendly faces. All new employees are announced with an introductory bio on COnnect, our internal intranet site, and introduce themselves to the entire office during the firm’s bi-weekly virtual Town Halls. This introduction has created a consistent onboarding experience, ensuring the office meets new employees even quicker virtually than when we were physically together.

Since the start of the pandemic, CO has hired 35 new employees and was ranked #2 for billings in LA County by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Technology has been a priority for our firm for decades, and last year it helped us transition to remote working quickly and with little difficulty. About 20 years ago, CO was an early adopter of Building Information Modeling, which evolved our industry from blueprints and physical meetings to digital design and virtual collaboration among architects and building contractors. This technological foundation expedited our transition to remote working and hiring.

Relocation time is no longer a consideration, so we’ve been able to get new hires started sooner. While each employee’s home situation is different, we have been able to address hardware and bandwidth variations to ensure everyone has the tools they need to serve our clients. Furthermore, onboarding our 35 new hires since the pandemic has actually been quicker and more efficient compared to meeting everyone face-to-face. This has contributed to even higher levels of project success as we were able to add hit-the-ground-running talent with the goal of exceeding our clients’ expectations.

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