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Gartner’s Virtual Onboarding Program: Providing the Best First Day to Our New Associates

Curious about what day one at Gartner looks like? We spoke with Simaran K., our Human Resources Director in India, about the virtual experience we aim to give to our new joiners.

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression.  And we keep that top of mind when it comes to our onboarding and training programs here at Gartner.  

It’s easy to welcome new joiners to an organization and create a positive onboarding experience when you are physically present to do so. You can gauge their emotions, and address their queries and concerns to make them feel comfortable. The present scenario is somewhat different. With associates working from home, there’s been an abrupt shift to virtual onboarding, making it a bit harder to make those crucial connections. Hence, our team had to revamp our onboarding program to ensure that despite the physical distance, the newest members of the Gartner family feel included and well-connected.

In true Gartner fashion, we did our research to help build the framework for our new virtual onboarding program. We leveraged feedback from those who had previously participated over the last year to better understand what we’re doing well, and where we could adjust to improve the experience during future sessions.  We found that most people really wanted to feel like they belong and could relate to their new colleagues.  Another key takeaway was that we need to make it easier for new-hires (and all associates) to navigate the virtual workplace and have easy access to the tools and resources they need to be successful. Our latest iteration of onboarding now includes a series of five virtual sessions throughout the associate’s first day. We aim to cover key items such as those outlined below, which also come with a number of corresponding guides, links, and relevant curriculum for additional self-exploration. The most successful sessions are those that are interactive so we can address questions on the spot.

  1. Networking activity/icebreaker session which is a great opportunity to make personal connections
  2. A session with senior leaders to get a better understanding of our business and culture 
  3. An Introduction to Gartner’s internal associate portal where you can update personal information, contact info, and learn how to access your benefits and payroll systems
  4. A session with an HR leader to highlight available resources and provide tips, including the philosophy behind our policies, respect in the workplace, diversity & inclusion, our intranet, and training for professional development 

Since adjusting our approach, we’ve conducted successful onboarding experiences for over 80 associates in India. And, in the spirit of continuous improvement, we also invite everyone to participate in a quick survey to share feedback on their experience from pre-hire through their first day. We’re so excited to share that we’ve received some great feedback so far.

  • I think personally it was great and made us feel comfortable. Nothing was rushed through –  I had a great experience. – Anant B., Market Research Specialist 
  • The team did a fantastic job to make sure new hires are assimilated into the company. They organized a group onboarding which gave us an opportunity to network with fellow new joiners. The session with Senior Leaders gave us an insight into the culture and how to be successful. – Ishita S., Senior Research Specialist

While the current focus has been on creating a strong new hire experience on the first day, we are also continuing to identify areas where we can provide ongoing education and support during the first 6 months of the new hire’s journey. We’re partnering with leaders to equip them with tools and resources to drive strong functional onboarding. Our new framework also includes regular check-ins in the first few months to ensure our new hires are settling in well and have all they need to be successful. 

What’s most important to you on the first day of a new job? Share in the comments below.