We need to know more about onboarding new team members in the new normal
We all know what’s it like to join a new team or organization. In the beginning, you feel like a fraud and a burden to your colleagues: you ask so many questions and are in constant need of help. Interacting with your boss or senior colleagues is particularly stressful since you have no idea about the unwritten rules regarding power and hierarchy in the community. Even if the organization and its members welcome you with open arms, it can take quite a while before you really feel like a part of the community and on top of your tasks.
Thanks to COVID-19, this process is even more difficult now. There are no lunches, coffee breaks, x-mas parties, or other opportunities for informal discussion, which used to take place daily in the office hallways, cafeteria, etc. Further, meetings nowadays are no place of chit-chat as they seem to have become more streamlined and structured. The effects of these changes are not fully compensated by weekly virtual coffees or a 5-minute ”how are you doing” round to start the meeting.
Shared projects help you to get to know close colleagues over time, but the process is slow. What are the arenas where you meet those people to whom your tasks are not directly connected? It is important to also note that these issues are not limited to completely new employees. The new, more streamlined work practices can also make changing teams or forming new ones more sluggish.
Issues related to diminishing informal communication have been discussed a lot, also in the previous Viewpoint texts. However, the perspective on onboarding new team members or forming new ones has not been brought up, which prompted me to write this text. The topic deserves more attention, particularly since the need for solutions to this is also present in our data. I have no ready-made solutions to offer you. However, if you know some or are interested in developing them, send a message and let’s talk!