Blog Culture/Agency Life

Onboarding in a Remote Workforce: How to Prioritize the Employee Experience

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Sydney MuellerSenior Learning and Development Manager
employee engagement tips

The best part of a new job is the excitement of it all! Pre COVID-19, when employees were in the office, that first day looked a little something like this: New faces, a new desk, that clean inbox and the overall sense of a fresh and exciting start. You come in all prepared with notepads and highlighters and the cute picture of you and your pup to put on your new desk.

In this COVID-19 era, our workforce has gone entirely remote and onboarding looks a bit different. But all of the excitement is still there: the fresh inbox is just as appealing and instead of walking into the office and meeting people as you get to your desk, it’s video meetings and your organized at-home work station with your pup curled up next to you.

At PAN, whether you’re joining in Boston, San Francisco, New York, Orlando or London, we want every employee to feel like they’re part of the team and feel the true heart and culture of PAN from day one.

On the flip side of all the excitement, we understand that there are the more intimidating and potentially overwhelming elements of a new job.

Adjustments to Make When Starting a New Job

While there is a bit of reading that each new hire does at any job, there should also be a very personalized and engaged 1:1 experience that is crafted for each individual from the moment they open up their laptop.

employee engagement tips

Enhancing The Onboarding Experience From Day One

At any company, it’s important that you make the virtual onboarding process as similar as you can to one in person. That means sticking to your regular check in’s with teammates and spontaneous lunch dates – even if they’re over zoom. The goal is to make the distance between the new employee and their colleagues feel as small as possible.

Making sure that new employees have the opportunity to connect to your company culture is important as well. Whether its forwarding an invite to encourage them to join a virtual cocktail hour, or connecting them with local colleagues for a social distance meet-up, the onboarding experience should extend beyond client work. It should give them a taste of what your company culture is truly like.

Tip: Remember that onboarding isn’t only about learning the in’s and out’s of the new job. It’s about integrating them into your company culture.

At PAN, each employee is greeted with a welcome packet that outlines their first two weeks. This includes a variety of meetings with IT and HR, getting to know their dedicated career coach, meeting their new team members to get overviews of their accounts, trainings on our tools at PAN and consistent check-ins with our resident training supervisor, me!

One element of our onboarding process that is really unique at PAN is the way in which we staff our new hires that join our team. Instead of coming in on day one and being thrown into a full account load on day two, it’s an extended ramp period. We start our new hires on a lower account load, provide those team overviews to understand their accounts and then slowly increase the work and accounts to a full load over the course their first 90 days. This speaks to one of our core values – “people-first” – and being intentional in how we allow our new hires to acclimate and get up to speed.

Bridging the gap between trainings, client relations, PAN processes and everything in between will always be a top priority for PAN. We care about training and development, for every level at every stage of employment, and we know that feeling like you’re part of the team means being able to understand, jump in on the various tasks and know all the tips for your role to be successful on your accounts.

Tip: Don’t assume that any employee can jump into learning a new company, industry or client as easily in a virtual environment as they can in person. Be patient and work closely with them to make sure they aren’t overwhelmed in their first few weeks.

Virtual Onboarding Experiences from Our Employees:

“Onboarding a new job virtually, during a global pandemic is a very unique – and frankly, daunting – experience. But onboarding virtually with PAN was impressively painless. Any concerns that I had about feeling involved in the company’s culture or connecting with new colleagues without the ability to meet anyone in person for the foreseeable future immediately faded when I logged on my first day to find a two week itinerary planned out for me. PAN even thought to schedule social 1:1 video chats with folks on my dedicated team so that I could meet people while onboarding rather than wait until we’re back in the office. The process was incredibly thoughtful, intentional and seamless – I truly feel like part of the PAN fam just two months in!” – Angelica Bishop, Account Supervisor

“As someone who has been with PAN for less than a year, I can say that the onboarding process at PAN is unlike anything I’ve experienced. Rather than being thrown in the deep end on day one, you are given the time and resources to not only learn about your accounts, but the overall PAN way. From trainings on how to organize your inbox or pitching best practices, there isn’t any part of the process that hasn’t been thought through. Sydney Holmquist, specifically, is an invaluable asset to all new hires, as she constantly proves that no question is off limits to ask and she is willing to go above and beyond to make sure you succeed.” – Alexandra Fiorentino, Account Executive

“It is a crazy to think I’ve been at PAN UK for over three months now but I’ve yet to meet the vast majority of my colleagues. The very fact I have to remind myself of this is testament to the slick onboarding process and the welcoming culture at the agency. Without leaving my house, I have been able to seamlessly integrate into the PAN family on both sides of the pond. I felt so at home and supported from the very start. On my first day I was handed a packed two week timetable of meetings to get me quickly up to speed on all my accounts, teams, client intros, as well as sessions with the key people to help me get on top of the agency’s important systems and ways of working. I’ve been through job inductions before but what makes PAN unique is its focus on people over process. It always takes a bit of time to bed into a new role (especially virtually!) but when you’re surrounded with friendly personal support, it makes everything a whole lot easier.” – Martin McGourty, Associate Director

“The onboarding process at PAN was so instrumental to my time with PAN so far. I really appreciated the welcome packet they gave us that included a schedule for the first two weeks complete with background on each meeting, tips for how to spend down time, and even a map of the office – I still use it when I’m blanking on where a certain conference room is! I also loved that they paired us with a training mentor *shout out to Sydney* – I am someone who asks a ton of questions so it was awesome having a dedicated person to ask for all things “new” at PAN without seeming bothersome.” – Mackenzie Linn, Account Executive

“When you start working for a new company, it’s really easy to feel overwhelmed and at times a bit lost – but this was far from the truth when I started working at PAN. Immediately, I was introduced to Sydney who guided me through the onboarding process and was always available to answer any and all questions I had. Whether it was as simple as ‘Where’s this meeting room?’ or ‘Who is the best person to contact for 401K questions?’, I knew I had someone that would help me navigate through this transition period. Having that support during my onboarding period relieved the stress of acclimating to a new work environment.” – Gabrielle Kondracki, Senior Account Executive

Learn more about what makes our virtual onboarding process unique in the video below.


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