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Lightning Talks as a Way to Adapt New-Hires and Build a Sense of Belonging Online

ATD (Association for Talent Development) By Olga Gavrilova

Adaptation of junior software engineers who get hired by a big IT organization to join accelerated technical career programs and spend all their onboarding time in intensive bootcamp study has always been a challenge. But at the pandemic time with all the onboarding activities and on-the-job bootcamps happening online it became an endeavor way more serious.

Previously new hires had friendly office tours, welcoming parties, could visit office events or meet their colleagues near the coffee machine and make friends. This part of juniors’ adaptation was hit the most when everything moved online, and organizations started working – and hiring – from home. Technologies and digital tools can help you organize interactive online onboarding activities of all kinds and stripes, but you can’t underestimate the human touch that helps build trust and relationships, make adaptation smooth and enjoyable, and develop a sense of belonging which is a fundamental human need.

At EPAM Systems, APAC, we faced online adaptation challenge when we were moving online our intensive Emerging Engineers Academy – an accelerated in-house training program for junior engineers with no or little previous IT work experience (read more EPAM’s Inaugural Emerging Engineers Academy Program in Singapore). Developing a sense of belonging for this group of new joiners has always been crucial because it not only enables them to feel included and supported, but also helps them thrive and achieve more in the training program. With that in mind we set a goal to imitate the new joiners’ pre-pandemic adaptation experience that had always been happening naturally in traditional face-to-face EPAM office environments, but this time in a new online context.

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