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Riot Games is dazzling new hires with virtual game nights and asynchronous trainings

September 1, 2022, 11:35 AM UTC
Remote employee working on laptop
Onboarding is one of the most critical points in an employee's journey. Riot Games is attempting to perfect it in a virtual-first environment.
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Good morning!

We can do a lot from the comfort of our homes, but one thing leaders have struggled to recreate is the magic of onboarding. 

We’ve all experienced it—bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new hires packed tightly into a fluorescent conference room, where the A/C is high, but the energy is higher. You can practically taste the enthusiasm as you discuss your organization’s culture and what makes the firm tick. And then, usually right before the free catered lunch, there’s always that one moment when everyone is so engaged, and you know you have them hooked. For most companies, that palpable sense of connection was lost with the onset of remote work, and many are fighting to keep the magic alive. 

As my colleague Aman Kidwai writes in a piece published this week, the video game developer Riot Games took its popular “denewbification” onboarding program virtual in 2020, offering an intriguing case study on how to set employees up for success on day one.

“Denewbification,” a play on gaming lingo for newbies, has always been highly involved but reached a new level of intentionality after going virtual-first. The orientation sessions, which typically occur about three times a month, are religiously attended by the company’s top three executives. And even in the remote environment, new hires are encouraged to engage in candid conversations where no question is off limits, writes Kidwai. 

The connection and camaraderie that onboarding generates are often the most cherished outcomes. To mimic the in-person process at Riot, each onboarding cohort is given their own Slack channel where they participate in daily team-building activities, organize group events and host virtual game nights.

Understanding the needs of a remote audience has become critical as well. The company’s onboarding team came to realize that employees have shorter attention spans online, so it condensed its onboarding material and reformatted some training sessions so they could be completed asynchronously. The team also created a new digitized onboarding platform to disseminate important links, org tools, software and recordings.

Though it might sound like Riot is throwing just about everything at the wall to see what sticks, the response to the new process has been positive. Employees gave Riot’s onboarding a 96% favorability rating, according to data shared exclusively with Fortune. And as we all know, in today’s talent market, employee satisfaction goes a long way. Perhaps Kidwai says it best: “The onboarding period is one of the most critical points in one’s employment journey, and companies that fail to give their newest employees a quality start risk high attrition and decreased loyalty.”

Read the full story here

Are you and your company tackling onboarding in an innovative way? We want to hear about it. Send your onboarding stories to amber.burton@fortune.com.

Amber Burton
amber.burton@fortune.com
@amberbburton

Reporter's Notebook

The most compelling data, quotes and insights from the field.

Many of us enjoy hearing about a good scam—just not being part of one. For Talie Schwager, VP of people and HR at the cryptocurrency media site CoinDesk, it began with a slew of direct messages on LinkedIn earlier this summer. Potential job candidates began reaching out to her, stating that they'd been extended job offers and asked to purchase office equipment and share bank information. The only problem? It wasn’t coming from CoinDesk. An unknown entity had been posing as the company and targeting job seekers. 

Schwager spoke with Fortune about this experience. What stood out to me most in our conversation was her understanding that although CoinDesk had nothing to do with the scam, it was on HR to properly handle the fallout with prospective candidates. 

“It's important [because] it's also my personal brand, it's the company brand, and it's these people's lives that are being impacted. So I think we do have some responsibility,” she said.

Schwager shared a few things fellow HR leaders should keep in mind to avoid similar incidents:

  • Keep an eye out for possible scams and regularly check your LinkedIn messages. Though most scams target external job candidates, others prey on internal employees. 
  • Be transparent in the recruiting process. Clearly share on your career site and in communications what candidates can expect in the various interview rounds, so they can spot a scam. 
  • Make all third-party job listing vendors aware of any scams that arise. Scammers often tell job seekers they found their profile on a specific career site.

Around the Table

- The private sector added 132,000 jobs in July, according to a survey from ADP Research Institute. That’s the lowest amount since the start of 2021. Bloomberg

- Flexible working hours don’t just apply to remote workers anymore. They’ve become a staple among in-person workers, including retail, warehouse, and hotel employees. Wall Street Journal

- Bed Bath & Beyond said it would lay off approximately 20% of its workforce across its corporate and supply chain functions. The retailer also plans to close 150 stores across the country. CNBC

- As companies gear up for another push to return to the office, some top performers have been granted special dispensations to work from home full-time. The Washington Post 

Watercooler

Everything you need to know from Fortune

COVID be gone. Goldman Sachs is doing away with COVID restrictions on Sept. 6 as it tries to bring workers back to the office. Employees will be allowed to enter the building regardless of vaccination status and won’t be required to wear masks or get tested. —Sophie Mellor

Leading from the frontline. The pandemic brought into focus the importance of frontline workers. Now, the Ford Foundation and the Labor Department have partnered on an initiative to ensure new frontline jobs have better wages and safety standards. Doing so could lead to “a discovery of untapped potential,” writes Jose Garcia, a director at the Ford Foundation. —Jose Garcia

Back on the job. The length of time before unemployed workers found jobs decreased in July compared to the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In July, unemployed workers were jobless for about two months, down from 3½ months last year. —Jane Thier

State of the unions. The approval ratings for unions in the U.S. is at 71%, the highest since 1965, according to a Gallup poll. Those strong approval ratings have translated into action; the National Labor Relations Board reported a 57% increase in petitions for new union elections in the first half of 2022. —Colin Lodewick

This is the web version of CHRO Daily, a newsletter focusing on helping HR executives navigate the needs of the workplace. Today’s edition was curated by Paolo Confino. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.