Spending their first week at our New Jersey headquarters after accepting a position has been a tradition for new Billtrust employees. That is, until the pandemic struck. We spoke to Billtrust Corporate Trainer Andrew Hebeler about how onboarding has evolved and what he had to do to make a seamless transition to a virtual environment...while still offering employees a great introduction to Billtrust culture and products.
What was the initial reaction to virtual onboarding?
Andrew: I think our new hires were relieved we weren’t making them go into an office. But there was also some expected apprehension. We were in the midst of a global pandemic, and they were joining a new company which is already stressful. I had to constantly put myself in their shoes, be empathetic and adjust some of our programs on the fly.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
Andrew: We had to take a hard look at the schedule of events because it was so reliant on being in-person. Of course, we had to cut things such as our office tour and visiting our Print Ops facility.
How did you make up for those things while ensuring they are still getting an introduction to the Billtrust culture?
Andrew: While it was easy for our Billtrust subject matter experts and me to present over video, we've made a conscious effort to tie our Billtrust values, culture and spirit into almost everything during that first week. We have extended our "Values and Competencies" sessions, and we more deliberately weave our values into stories related to our products and customer interactions. We’ve also tried to make onboarding more interesting with pop quizzes and other fun activities which lend themselves to virtual learning.
What about some of the more basic things like computer and desk setup? How has that changed?
Andrew: While setting up computers and other equipment was all easily done in the office, we’ve developed a rhythm that gets new employees the necessary tech they need before they start.
Is there anything about onboarding that's easier now?
Andrew: Yes, breaking new hires out of their "shells." Our new employees onboard from their homes which is a familiar place of comfort and tends to put people more at ease. It's easier for many of them to be themselves.
Will the Billtrust onboarding program stay virtual?
Andrew: Perhaps in the future we will again bring new hires to our HQ, but we realize that onboarding can happen virtually in an effective, meaningful way.
What advice can you give to new Billtrust employees?
Andrew: If you want to make an impact at Billtrust, seek to understand our values and our competencies. If you look at anyone who's been successful or "moved up the ladder" here, they are skilled at our competencies and live our values. These are ideas that go beyond just Billtrust — they can take you far, no matter your company or career path.
– Paul Accardo, Billtrust Senior Marketing Communications Manager