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New hire onboarding rituals for a distributed workforce

Chef prepared lunches served daily.

In today's distributed workforce, starting a new role is often challenging. New hires are faced with creating a sense of belonging through virtual platforms, like Zoom, missing out on traditional in-person orientation experiences. Table XI has a different approach that not only checks all the boxes one would expect as a new employee but unifies the new hires with the entire organization through innovation and adaptability.

Pre-pandemic, one of the great benefits of being a TXI employee was the catered lunches provided by in-house chef Mark Estabrook. Chef was a treasured team member and the organization wanted to prevent the need to furlough him. TXI’s leadership deliberated on how to continue their commitment to having him stay with the team as well as find a new role that would allow Chef to grow within the company. “Evolving his role and making a commitment to his desire to stay with the company was a priority of ours. We were responsive and adaptive in finding a place for him. These are the people who help create the authentic culture of the company. They help create an experience like no other.” shared CEO, Mark Rickmeier. Mark hired a facilitation coach to train Chef into becoming the coach he is today.

Redefining the In-Person Experience

TXI leadership, Chef, and other members of the human resources team stepped up to redefine the in-person experience in a virtual and distributed environment. It started with consulting with TXI’s Kermit Collective network to learn more about how they were adapting. “We borrowed and learned from our competitors from the outset. It was really affirming to have the camaraderie to avoid feeling like you're on a desert island. It was a fail-fast approach, trial and error, as we worked to continuously improve, gathering feedback from our team was important,” Chef explains.

Continuous feedback is a hallmark of TXI and one of the most common company rituals practiced across the organization. Retrospectives, an agile way of capturing feedback on what’s worked and what hasn’t, is a fun and collaborative way to ensure all sentiments are captured and seen by all participants. Retros were typically performed in person in front of a whiteboard with an abundance of sticky notes. Today, TXI uses Mural’s interactive Kanban board allowing for the same company ritual to be practiced in a remote environment.

Transformative Software and Company Rituals

The pandemic really emphasized how innovative TXI is at its core. Physical, new hire paperwork was replaced with innovative software BambooHR, making the collection and organization of employee information seamless and accessible. In-person chats were enabled through Slack, and weekly happy hours were shared on Zoom. That was just the beginning.

The team expanded their company rituals and processes throughout the pandemic to include:

  1. New hire cohorts to serve as a means for new groups to interact together on the same playing field
  2. Personalized training videos narrated by CEO, Mark, to educate the new hire on the history, company rituals, culture and beyond
  3. Weekly cohort meetings with guest speakers from the organization
  4. 30-60-90 day customized onboarding plans
  5. Pre-scheduled meetings prior to onboarding to streamline the experience
  6. 1-on-1 meetings with members of the organization enabled through the Donuts app
  7. “Something Special” program to give back to those who are going through a rough time, to celebrate successes, milestones, or just because
  8. Know Your Team (KYT) - temperature check on how their feeling - now Culture Amp
  9. Thought Exchange to elicit asynchronous feedback or immediate feedback after All Hands meetings
  10. Sticky note game focusing on personal and professional growth

The thoughtfulness of the onboarding experience was a result of listening to the employees. Chef and team conduct frequent check-ins to get to know employees on a personal level. In doing so, they are able to better recognize when support is needed and find solutions in a quick and thoughtful way.

TXI employees have a dedicated team of people who look out for them. Making people feel seen and appreciated has always been a ritual of the company that likes to lean in, listen to more, delight people, and build them up when they're down, while always responding proactively. It’s a mindset of sorts and one that fosters a true sense of belonging.

Interested in joining a team that is as passionate about their work as they are about their employees? Visit our careers page to start on your new journey ahead.

Published by Esther Galantowicz in career

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