On-boarding into a new role during shelter-in-place is one of the most challenging things for new hires to experience. No new employee lunches, happy hours, intros round the office. Human connection reduced to a slack channel, or worse, email, or maybe worse in its own way…awkward zoom happy hours with no thoughtful facilitation.

So given I’ve been practicing how to facilitate deep and meaningful conversations for about a decade now, thought I’d share a hack that team leaders and managers are welcome to try.

There’s no better place to start than with some Carl Sagan: “we make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.”

Successfully facilitating meaningful connections between your new hires and employees writ large requires intention. Not just throwing people together in a digital room or channel and hoping something miraculous happens. Thoughtful intent, and permission to engage.

What’s been working for us at twine is building out 12 week programs where new hires get introduced to 1 new amazing professional contact each week, for a short 15min conversation, on a specific question designed to spark meaningful conversation. Just enough time to spark connection, and short enough so as not to be a burden on everyone’s busy workdays.

12 Week Program Design

You can design your 12 week programs to feature a different connection each week, eg: Week 1, meet someone on your team. Week 2, meet someone who’s been in your role for a while, Week 3, meet an executive mentor, Week 4, meet someone in a different division of the company to learn about something outside your immediate team.

10 Prompts

As for what to talk about, here’s a list of 10 questions I designed to help break the ice and spark meaningful connection in the professional workspace. You can use these as prompts Feel free to try these with your team, love to hear what works!

  1. How are you hoping to grow in your new role at [company]? How have you grown at your role at [company] over the years?
  2. What do you love most about your work?
  3. What advice would you give yourself when you first started at [company]? What are you most excited about for your new role at [company]?
  4. What have been the most pivotal moments in your career?
  5. What’s a personal challenge you’re working on?
  6. What role have mentors played in your professional success so far?
  7. What is an issue that inspires you to take action?
  8. What have you learned about yourself during shelter-in-place? What has been most difficult in 2020 for you?
  9. What 3 books or movies have been most transformative for you?
  10. What do you do for self-care?

Meaningful connections can still be fostered and facilitated in the Age of Remote. It just takes more intention. Have any practices for facilitating meaningful relationships for your teams and communities during these times? Reach out.