April is the beginning of the fiscal year in Japan, a time when many people start their new job. SThree Japan is no exception. Even under these exceptional circumstances, we welcomed nine new starters into our team on April 1st. However, onboarding employees remotely is a completely new experience for us.
Grant Habgood, Managing Director of SThree Japan states “it’s been a great chance for us to exhibit and demonstrate one of our core company principles, Care Then Act, during this tumultuous time”.
Based on this experience to date, we’ve collated some insights on what has worked well for us as an organization and what challenges have arisen as a result of this situation:
What has worked well:
- Remote access
Needless to say, digital onboarding can’t be done without a solid system that enables employees to work remotely. SThree has a variety of systems for agile working such as access to a virtual desktop from anywhere in the world and video conferencing facilities, from which many employees have benefitted.
Furthermore, SThree deployed Microsoft Teams to all employees by the end of March. This enables everyone, especially new starters, to stay connected to each other and ask questions easily whilst we are all operating remotely.
- Online training infrastructure
Training is a crucial part of onboarding, as well as being important for each person to succeed in their career. In addition to the deployment of Teams, which makes person to person trainings easier with its screen share function, SThree has plenty of e-learning resources that helps get new starters comfortable in their role right away and plan both short-term and long-term goals in their career.
Miyu Igata, one of our new starters shared her experience so far: “Before I joined, I was a little concerned I would be continuously lost and confused, but SThree has made it easy to reach out to my manager, colleagues, and trainers.”
- Putting effort in to stay connected and engaged
We put extra effort to make everyone feel connected and supported. Another new starter Saya Kondo says “we have a team catch-up meeting twice a day that helps me communicate with my team members easily. Everyone has been very supportive and open to any questions even though I’m not around. A shared Spotify playlist among my team members is also a great way to stay connected, as well as getting to know them more!”
We also utilize our internal social media channel for more casual communications. For example, “posting a photo of your home office” and “post a video of your football juggling challenge” have got lots of engagement. We also encourage new starters to post a brief self-introduction on this channel so that everyone across the teams can get to know them.
Improvements we are working on
- Information overload
In trying to keep new starters busy to avoid a situation where they don’t have anything to do, sometimes we give them too much information at once. Keeping them engaged is certainly important, but making sure to give them some time to digest all the new information would help the process too.
- Social interaction
One of the best benefits about everyone working in the office is you can naturally hear other people talking, which helps new joiners to understand the business and organization. Making up for this social interaction is extremely difficult in the current situation. Nevertheless, we try to create an org chart and business overview of each team as a substitute to help them get to know the business better.
Grant Habgood says ”I couldn’t be happier and prouder of the way that everyone in the organisation has handled the current unexpected circumstances with a high level of maturity and responsibility.”
We also put together a guide to digital onboarding that gives you more insights. Please also follow our LinkedIn page for the latest updates. If you’d like to know more about the topic, feel free to reach out to us.