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January 2018
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Onboarding a Virtual Workforce

Monday, January 29, 2018

Workforces are increasingly more mobile, and remote workers are becoming the norm rather than the exception. This new way of working has its challenges--not the least among them, how do you onboard new employees? Sid Sijbrandij, co-founder and CEO of GitLab, says his organization's workforce is comprised of 233 virtual team members across 38 countries. Although they have methods for staying connected, in-person onboarding is pretty much out of the question. That’s why they employ old-school methods to solve this new-school problem. Namely, their employee handbook is over 1,000 pages long. While this may seem overwhelming, it’s actually made everyone’s life a lot easier, Sijbrandij says. “[We’ve found] that onboarding remotely with the help of our handbook can be easier and more structured than an in-person onboarding experience,” he explains. “Unlike at offices, where onboarding may consist of verbal instructions, our process is a documented list of over 80 actions, tailored to each role, that lay out exactly what happens during new hire transitions.” The document, however, is not static. From day one, new employees are encouraged to make improvements, making the handbook an agent for connection and collaboration.

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