Facts about me: I do marketing. I’m a recent college graduate. I’ve never worked an in-person job (save for a brief internship), and the four-person company I worked for was just acquired by a company four times our size.
Facts about me that have nothing to do with my work life: I love improv. I’ve lived in seven countries. I have a certifiably insane Aussiedoodle named Poppy.
When I joined the team at twine, it became immediately clear that they were less concerned about that first set of facts. Yes, they cared that I knew how to run Google Ads and could throw social posts together, but that was all secondary to getting to know how I - a person with a life, a history, and stories - fit into their team.
So, how did they do it?
1. A team offsite to kick things off
While meeting your team in person is certainly not essential when it comes to onboarding remote employees, it did set the foundation for what continued to be a fantastic virtual onboarding experience once the trip ended.
twine gathered the new combined team in Palm Springs for a week of socializing, in-person working, and goal setting. We balanced strategy talk with social dinners that instantly showed me what team twine was all about. The offsite retreat was specifically designed to pair us with team members from other departments, included lots of curated content to help build connection, and we all left feeling inspired to work together as one team.
2. New Employee Spotlights
Offsites aside, the most special part of the twine virtual onboarding experience was how dedicated the team was to getting to know each of the new employees on a meaningful level.
Along with the two other new employees, I was assigned a “buddy.” I got Brandon, our CTO and probably the last person that my coworkers thought I’d get paired with. Brandon and I had spent two hours chatting at an offsite meal - about our lives and the things that bring us joy - and I had instantly felt like I’d made a great friend on the team.
Each buddy had one week entirely dedicated to their new employee. On Tuesday, everyone joined a call in which the spotlight was entirely on the person at hand. The twine team would ask questions about hometowns, siblings, passions, etc. - and never in a way that felt uncomfortable or forced.
3. Virtual Watercooler Platforms
Seeing as twine makes software for the purpose of remote team engagement, it was a no-brainer for them to leverage their own virtual platform for new employee onboarding.
The day after the get-to-know-you call, we would hop on a twine in honor of that same person. We’d run the experience the same way twines are always run: an intro video to welcome guests to the lobby, round-robin style conversations with different teammates, and icebreaker questions to get the conversations flowing.
But for the new employee twines, there was a twist. Each “buddy” had to design a twine experience that captured the essence of the new employee.
For Austin’s twine, that meant racing against the clock to fill out a crossword puzzle filled with trivia from his life. For Oliver, it meant answering a quiz about his Australian past and his goals to run a marathon. We’d rotate between different employee conversations, trying to slyly extract answers from our fellow employees who were all competing for the same prize.
For my twine, my new teammates showed how far they were willing to go to make me feel welcome. They participated in a (wait for it)...
virtual improv twine.
During our rounds, twine would present us with a prompt or storyline, and we’d have to act it out. While I can’t say that my new twine coworkers are ready for Whose Line is it Anyway, I can say that the joy I felt from their hilarious participation meant the world to me.
4. How are you doing, really?
One of my favorite icebreaker questions on the twine platform is: “How are you doing, really?” It’s a question that my teammates aren’t afraid to talk about, both on twine and off.
Sometimes we feel great. Sometimes we don’t. No matter what the answer to that question may be, every single person on my new team is there to listen. I have yet to have a single 1:1 where a twine employee doesn’t ask me how I’m doing, and how they can be there to support me.
The ways that twine made me feel welcome were all low-effort, low-cost ways to onboard virtual employees in a meaningful way. For the first time in my remote-work life, I feel truly connected to my teammates.
And I plan on sticking around.