Onboarding in a Global Crisis

In 2019, HR tech company Hibob conducted a study that revealed an illuminating fact; 64% of new employees are less likely to feel welcome if they experience a poor onboarding process. Making things even more dire, only 12% of companies are seen as having positive, repeatable onboarding procedures. Having experienced onboarding in a wide swath of industries from financial compliance to specialized polymer sales, I can personally attest to these sentiments. I lead with this data to suggest that Dotted Line had their work cut out for them when bringing me on as an account manager just days before COVID-19 disrupted seemingly every normal business practice.

Onboarding can be a bear for an organization and take an emotional toll on new hires in normal circumstances. In novel and adverse environments like this, the task of joining a new team and assimilating into their culture seems herculean in nature. But with ample compassion, transparency, and vulnerability from Dotted Line, I have been a able to experience a truly complete and accepting onboarding process, while going through one of the most alarming crises my generation has witnessed.

I have now been with Dotted Line for 26 days, only five of which were spent in the office. Luckily, all five took place in the first week and allowed me to have some semblance of normalcy before it was stripped away with the growing severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated closures of out-of-home workplaces. Before my first week was in the books, it was determined that we would work from home for the next two weeks. Our imposed seclusion was then extended to four weeks. Then, upon the Governor’s recommendation, our target date to return to the office moved another 10 weeks, into mid-June. 

It took a great amount of self-regulation and introspection for me to appreciate the difference between adapting to a new work environment and adapting to the new universal constraints of the pandemic. I continued battling these competing thoughts until I allowed myself to fully appreciate Dotted Line’s continued support for its employees and clients. This concept of unity and togetherness sparked a notion that the storm on the horizon presented an opportunity for our growing team, as opposed to an insurmountable problem. It helped me realize I wasn’t the only one trying to find my way in a new environment. Everyone was adopting new practices and learning together how to operate within this “new normal”.

That realization eased my remaining anxiety stemming from being the “new guy”. Accepting that each day was new for everyone, I no longer felt trepidation when suggesting a solution, offering advice, or volunteering to take on work. Where previously I may have tried to avoid stepping on toes, I was now eager to prove that I was willing and able to contribute, however I could.

Not every organization will be as accepting and encouraging as Dotted Line has been during this crisis, but what they were able to orchestrate and manufacture from a genuine care of their employees, clients, and community has been a true blessing for me. Every day since I began this role, I have taken time to appreciate how fortunate I am to have a job that can operate effectively while working from home and that I have a manager and team supportive of both my business practices and my personal and emotional health. The number of “check-ins” and assurances facilitated by management and the operations team at Dotted Line has been as comforting as it was unexpected.

As I look ahead to next week, next month, and even next year, I don’t know how the pandemic will affect our business, others’ businesses, or the world around us, but I know exactly how our team will approach each and every day – together, as a unit that cares deeply for each other, our clients, and our community. For that, I could not be more proud of being part of this great team and am extremely thankful for them and the opportunity they have afforded me amidst a very trying time I otherwise would have had to navigate on my own.