Navigating the Lockdown Part 2: How Traditional Onboarding Has Changed

Mahesh Thyagaraj

In the second of a series of HR-focused blogs on Navigating the Lockdown, Riverbed’s Technical Recruiter for APJ, Mahesh Thyagaraj, looks at how onboarding new employees has evolved.

All organisations are currently facing unique challenges in their workplaces due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This said, it is critical that we continue to support and manage all new hires as normally and consistently as possible when they join the Riverbed family.

Our traditional onboarding process had new employees participate in a series of in-person meetings with HR, managers, leadership and team members to build their first impression of the company and its culture. Since March 2020, however, like many other businesses, Riverbed has had to onboard its new hires virtually. As a result, we’ve made a huge shift in our processes to adapt.

Going virtual

In order to successfully onboard new employees remotely, we pre-planned the virtual experience, making note of all the people they should meet, the tools and equipment required and the experiences each new employee must go through in order to fast-track their ramp up.

First, we ensured they had the hardware, software and information resources they’ll need on Day 1 by asking our IT team to set everything up in advance and deliver the equipment to the new employee’s home office. As soon as they’re on board, we make sure they understand how to use essential communication tools, online meeting solutions and file-sharing applications. We also brief them on who to go to with their different questions, and how to best contact those individuals whilst we’re all working remotely.

By preparing in advance, we can share our plan with the new employee and give them full visibility of their schedule for the first few weeks. We created a comprehensive resource page for new hires to access information on whatever they may need as they settle into working remotely in their new role at Riverbed.

We have numerous virtual social gatherings and the first port of call is to ensure that our new hires are added into these social groups so that they can get to know their colleagues on a more personal level.

Getting into the culture

As a new employee, understanding who you will be working with on a daily basis and how to develop those relationships, is critical. We have worked hard to adapt our onboarding processes to allow strong bonds to develop within teams, despite lockdown conditions.

Each new hire is made aware of their team culture by having department-specific onboarding discussions about values and expectations, including providing them with links to our employee handbooks and company policies and procedures. Their manager will brief them on their new job responsibilities and discuss their learning and development plan and they’ll have regular virtual meetings with the rest of their team so they can feel comfortable with their colleagues and become a part of the Riverbed family!

Managing under lockdown

As our new employees settle into their daily routine, frequent catch-up calls are scheduled by their managers and colleagues. These calls keep managers apprised of how their new team member is settling in and make them aware of any help they may need. During these calls, managers check in to understand what their new employee needs to be successful in their new role, whether that’s support, resources, or additional work and ensure that they provide for these needs. Each employee will have different needs, and being attentive to these needs is our top priority as we onboard our new hires.

Managers set specific goals and expectations for their new hires outlining short and long-term goals and scheduling 1:1 meetings to discuss upcoming tasks and resolve potential concerns.

Help is at hand

All new Riverbed employees are assigned a Riverbuddy; we believe a supportive, caring and helpful culture is very beneficial. Providing a Riverbuddy to new employees helps them to settle in quickly and gives them someone to go to no matter what help they need or questions they have.

COVID-19 has created a uniquely challenging time for anyone starting a new job. That’s why we’ve taken all the measures we can to ensure a smooth onboarding for all new hires. Our aim is to induct newbies into the Riverbed family with a warm and informative virtual welcome and have them thriving in their new roles as quickly as possible!

What they say

Success of any new process is in its implementation, and we’re delighted to have had some encouraging feedback! Here are some testimonies from some of our new employees.

“Onboarding is both an exciting and an anxious period, especially when the whole world is going through a pandemic. But, from the very beginning of my journey with Riverbed, everyone has made me feel welcome.” 

“From the time of my interview to virtual onboarding and finally understanding the workflow of the organisation … The whole Riverbed experience has been amazing and I wholeheartedly thank each and every one who made it easy for me to join the organisation virtually from the comfort of my own home!”  

“The management architecture of Riverbed is clean and smooth. Team coordination is good and transparent. I wasn’t sure how the whole process of hiring could be done virtually, however the interaction and support from all the departments made it easy for me.” 

“Training and induction were organised in a well-planned manner and done online. I was introduced to the complete team online and received a very warm welcome. Since then I’ve had a number of conversations with everyone whether during training, team meetings or case troubleshooting help. My Manager, HR and team have been in continuous contact with me and provided all the support and guidance required.”

If you’d like to learn more about working at Riverbed, including current roles, visit our website.

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