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Recently, I discussed Tompkins Leadership LLC’s views on Shaping Corporate Culture in the Face of Disruption. My Aug. 4 post detailed 7 ways leaders can and must impact culture, including the vital task of onboarding new employees.

This is going to be difficult, but not impossible, in today’s world. For in-office personnel, yes, you can sit them down one-on-one, gather them in a conference room, guide them through paperwork and personally model your enterprise’s cultural practices.

However, many who have returned to the office face a culture shock – some still hold “face-to-face” meetings via Zoom instead of crowding around a table. Casual Fridays have crept into the other 4 days of the week. And in hybrid situations, some – or all – of the office might be remote while you are plugging away at your desk.

How Video Can Replace One-on-Ones

Pamela Hinds and Brian Elliott have some good ideas in a recent Harvard Business Review article. Since this is a short blog and not a white paper, let’s take one of their points: onboarding.

Hinds and Elliott note that some companies have moved much of their onboarding paperwork and learning sessions to online and video, combined with interactive discussions of cultural values and norms.

Personally, I have found such video introductions to be invaluable as we have built Tompkins Ventures from the ground up over the last two years, along with my newest company, Tompkins Leadership.

While I benefited from knowing most of Tompkins Ventures’ new hires beforehand, I still have met some via phone call and video chat only. And many of the 300+ partners have been onboarded via email, video, and phone.

Tompkins Ventures has regular video forums divided up by practice, along with the occasional video forum for all partners. Online repositories secure files and videos for access at any time – key for a company that has partners on every continent except Antarctica. That’s a lot of time zones!

So, like many, we are using technology to replace a walk down the hall, a tap on the shoulder, the huddle around the water cooler. Sometimes, we even go old school and call each other on the phone.

Once again, technology is an answer.