Joining AlphaSights: The Remote Onboarding Experience
Starting a new job in the midst of such unprecedented times is a daunting experience. Our Professional Development (PD) team has worked hard to adapt our onboarding and training programs to ensure our employees are successful no matter where they’re located.
Prior to COVID-19, face-to-face training was an important part of AlphaCurriculum, our rigorous classroom and digital learning program. In 2019, we thankfully invested in a Learning Management System (LMS) to scale our digital trainings as our headcount grew, but never predicted we’d have to fully shift to remote training until COVID-19. As the world shut down, we quickly realized that all of our Learning and Development (L&D) programs needed to become 100% virtual across all of our nine global offices.
Building Social Connections
In the face of what seemed like a massive challenge, the PD team worked tirelessly to adapt our interactive in-person trainings to Zoom meetings and LMS courses. July 2020 was our first real test, as we onboarded our largest graduate class ever across the globe. By September, we worked out the logistical kinks and focused on how to build camaraderie and team culture in a virtual world. We emphasized re-creating the social interactions you’d get in the office, and held several events to help our new joiners cultivate relationships across the office.
I sat down with Flavia Rossi, an associate on our Client Service Team (CST) who joined AlphaSights in January 2021, to discuss her experience.
“I was pleasantly surprised with how smooth it was. On your first day, your impression of a new company is very important for your journey. When a company takes such care in welcoming me, training me, and giving me everything I need, I’m therefore motivated and excited to repay that through hard work. The PD team thought of everything, from big welcoming events to small suggestions like a WhatsApp group for the new joiners; such a small, simple idea but it made a big difference.”
On PD, we made it a priority to provide practical knowledge about moving to London, get new joiners excited about who they’d be working with, and ensure they were having fun. For the first event, we hosted a Q&A that included a “Moving to London: An Insider's Guide” section from our HR team. Second, we invited new joiners to our AlphaSights (AS) Speaker Series: Women in Leadership panel, which provided an opportunity to mix again and hear from female leaders across our business on their careers, success, and AlphaSights’ part in both. Just before the holidays, the January new joiners and recruitment team got together for a company social. It was a nice, relaxed gathering ahead of their start date.
Finding a Supportive Community
Wherever possible, we create open and inclusive spaces for all new employees to speak their mind and ideate on topics. We strive for diversity of thought at AlphaSights, and want to ensure employees feel comfortable sharing different perspectives, whether that’s within their teams during morning meetings, or with their peers in group discussions during training sessions. Relationships are very important here— we’re a collaborative, high-support team and we take care to cultivate connections so that our new joiners come to work prepared and ready to do their job well.
“Starting a new job is a daunting challenge, and with this programme, there’s a steep learning curve. However, the support from my start class has been fantastic. We’re all learning and making mistakes together. And though it can get challenging emotionally and mentally, the support from each other and the company is there.” — Flavia
Pursuing Employee Wellbeing
With virtual onboarding, there were many things we had to consciously make happen that subconsciously happened before. For example, we created a WhatsApp group for people to socialize in lieu of chatting in the office, making plans for drinks, etc. We also have to schedule breaks to get people to move away from their desk and go outside. When we were in the office, we’d do that naturally and go up on the roof to eat lunch together or head out for a coffee. While at home, these are experiences we have to create.
During AlphaCamp, we encourage our new joiners to participate in exercise classes offered twice a week to the whole company and provide multiple wellbeing and work-life balance resources. We also host virtual sessions and roundtable discussions where everybody can talk through what’s working for them and what they’ve found useful. Our leadership team has made it a priority to reduce and prevent burnout and help teams adapt to remote work, where the lines between work and life can become easily blurred.
Settling into A New City
Since we have such a large number of expats coming to work in our EMEA offices, we make every effort to make our people feel at home. We’re a global team and work closely with our other offices to create connections across borders. When you move to a new country for a job, we know that it’s especially important that we foster a supportive environment with the resources and knowledge to understand what your move will look like and who you’ll be surrounded by once you join.
“The AlphaSights graduate programme brings together many people who are all around the same age, who come to London from all over the world. Many of us are here for the first time and are looking for a strong social network, friendships, and a feeling of safety and security in a new role. This is especially true right now during the pandemic— graduating from university, starting a first job, and missing family makes this whole experience more valuable. We need each other now more than ever. I feel so welcome and supported in the new joiner group, with many offers for lunch, a chat, or a coffee.” — Flavia
Interested in applying for a role in our London office? We’re currently hiring for our Graduate Associate Programme beginning in July and September 2021. You can find further details on all open roles and how to apply here on our careers page.
Alex Celer is an associate on the Professional Development team in London.