Onboarding During COVID? – Here Are 10 Tips for a Strong Start at Your New Job

A woman starting a new job from home

The first several weeks after being hired can be challenging to say the least. But starting a new job during COVID is another thing all together. This is especially true if your new position is to be performed remotely in a virtual environment. Your ability to learn workflows and the office culture is significantly affected in these situations. Fortunately, there are ways to succeed in job onboarding during these times. By following a few best practices, you can master your new roles and responsibilities in no time.

While the process of job onboarding is roughly the same, doing so remotely demands some changes. For one, starting a new job during COVID requires you to be much more assertive in your efforts. Statistically, over 30 percent of employers rely on their new hires to learn the ropes with minimal support. And a quarter provide no training whatsoever. Given this, you definitely want to develop a good strategy for success in your new position. And the following are 10 important tips that can help.

Someone working from home with a magnifying glass
Job onboarding can be tricky in the best of times – COVID and the virtual workforce is an added wrinkle.
  • Job Onboarding Tip #1 – Know the Process in Advance

This is a good tip for when starting any new position. But it’s especially important when starting a new job during COVID. Because you won’t have the opportunity to learn on-site, ask about how remote workflows are conducted. Knowing which apps and software will be used can help you prepare and get off to a great start.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #2 – Define Your Roles and Responsibilities Up Front

Expectations may be different than you might have predicted in a remote work environment. Because of this, it’s important to know exactly what your roles and responsibilities will be when starting a new job during COVID. These inquiries can also allow you to establish a daily plan that will foster immediate success.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #3 – Inquire About Training Opportunities

Not all companies offer training, but if they do, it’s important to take advantage of it. This is especially important in getting up to speed on videoconferencing apps and office computer systems. Even if your new employer doesn’t offer such training, asking about such resources shows your level of commitment.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #4 – Ask About Preferred Communications

From your manager to other team members, each person will likely have a preferred way of communicating. This may also vary depending on the type of communications being conducted. Asking about this up front shows respect and promotes efficiency. Both of these will be important when starting a new job during COVID.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #5 – Be Proactive in Asking Questions

In normal times, you often have the luxury of learning through observation about workflows and job tasks. But when starting a new job during COVID, this luxury usually doesn’t exist. Being proactive and asking questions is essential given the remote work environment. Be polite and respectful of others’ time, but don’t be too shy to get the information you need.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #6 – Repeatedly Introduce Yourself

Even if an email introduces you as a new hire, your team members may not immediately recognize who you are. In an effort to make connections, it’s therefore helpful to repeatedly introduce yourself when interacting with others. Stating your name, your new role, and telling others a little about yourself will make you memorable.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #7 – Keep Your Tone Neutral and Professional

Without knowing your new office culture right away, it’s best to keep your tone professional and neutral. This not only applies to phone conversation and videoconferencing but also texts and emails as well. This is a safer approach given the fact you may not be able to read nonverbal cues as well remotely.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #8 – Seize Opportunities to Develop Relationships

Starting a new job during COVID makes it difficult to establish new relationships with other employees. Communications are often briefer in nature, and many interactions involve group settings. Therefore, when opportunities to talk to another colleague on-on-one arises, take advantage of it. This is especially true when talking with fellow employees by phone.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #9 – Observe Others’ Behaviors and Interactions

Despite being in a virtual office setting, you can still learn a great deal about others through observation. Email response times can provide insights about someone’s efficiency as well as the work culture. It may also identify potential office conflicts. Also, interactions among others can similarly yield important insights about the company. Though not as enlightening as being in person, keen observations can still help.

  • Job Onboarding Tip #10 – Keep a Go-To List for Help

Whether starting a new job during COVID or not, it’s inevitable that you will need advice. Therefore, as you get to know others, keep a list of contacts that can help you in your new role. Different people might be experts in different areas. A go-to list of people who can provide assistance can greatly improve your proficiency in the shortest amount of time.

Effective Job Onboarding Is a Win-Win for Everyone

Naturally, you’ll want to become comfortable with your new position as soon as possible. This can be challenging when starting a new job during COVID. But in doing so you not only provide your new company with greater productivity. You will also enjoy greater job satisfaction and job security. For many companies, it often takes an entire year for a new hire to become fully productive even before COVID. But with the right approach, research shows that this time can be cut by a third. By following the above tips for effective job onboarding, you can position yourself for much greater success. And likewise, markedly reduce your chances for having to go through this process again in the near future.


A career is an essential Pillar of a Bold Life. For more on the Seven Pillars, check out Ed Kopko’s PROJECT BOLD LIFE: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success.

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Through timely and thoughtful articles, the book Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success, and other media, we deliver engaging content that educates, motivates and inspires you to live a Bold Life.
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