Monumental Moments that Matter

Virtual Onboarding: Lessons Learned at Vertex

Jan 13, 2021

Virtual Onboarding: Lessons Learned at Vertex

Challenge brings opportunity, and our Employee Experience team has embraced both the challenges and opportunities of onboarding more than 700 new employees and 1,000 contingent workers virtually since last March. And, we’re still hiring across multiple positions and locations! You can check out our current openings here.

In the life of any career, a pivotal moment that matters is when a new employee joins a company. At Vertex, ensuring that we extend a sense of belonging and create a culture where employees can grow, prosper and contribute from day one is paramount.

Orientation and onboarding sessions for new hires are a significant milestone in the life of a Vertexian — they’re an opportunity to get an in-depth look at our approach to creating transformative medicines, learn about available resources and meet colleagues. Historically, this mostly happened in a face-to-face setting.

Our first virtual orientation session took place early on in the pandemic. This particular session was originally slated to take place in person, over two days, with 45 new employees in eight locations worldwide. The team had just three days to pivot to a completely virtual experience — an amazing accomplishment for the Employee Experience team and a testament to our core values of collaboration and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Over the last 10 months, the team has adapted and continually improved the remote onboarding process. Here are some of the things we’ve learned along the way.

Patients can’t wait. Vertex is committed to bringing new therapies to people with serious disease. At this extraordinary time in our lives the role of the scientist is especially valued and admired. Every moment matters in onboarding our talented scientists and colleagues!

Getting connected. Part of orientation is getting online with a Vertex laptop and learning to navigate new systems and software. The Global Information Services team has been instrumental in making sure new laptops arrive in time for the first day. They also schedule time to call each person on “day one” to help with set up and answer questions. And, of course, we send Vertex swag — laptop sleeves and tote bags — to reflect the spirit of the onsite experience. Everyone loves swag.

Digital is key. While we may not meet our new hires at the coffee machine or water cooler, we are learning real time how critical our digital framework is to help us stay connected. 2020 clearly accelerated digital transformation on a very grand scale. Again, our partners in Global Information Services have provided a myriad of tools to keep us connected. Now, more than ever before, digital is influencing our culture and employee experiences. We are fortunate to have a best-in-class portfolio of digital solutions.

Avoiding Zoom fatigue. To avoid Zoom fatigue, we shortened the typical two-day format and broke it down into multiple parts over the first week. We reviewed all the content to determine what information could be condensed while also ensuring new hires get the information they need to get started in their new roles. We created asynchronous and synchronous options, including learning playlists, to allow flexibility for those working and caretaking at the same time. We understand for many — work and family lives have melded.

It’s not just about the first day. After orientation ends, we knew it would be important to continue to engage, check in and help new hires integrate with their teams and our culture. To help meet this need, our global employee services team rolled out a “Purple Carpet Service” (purple is our primary brand color), where members proactively connect with all new hires to answer questions and make sure they’re settling in. New hires also get assigned a peer buddy as a go-to person for questions. We are committed to staying close even if we are not in the same physical locations. 

New Vertex employee with Vertex swag

 

Diana Cruz Solash, new VP for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity and Early Career Talent

 

 

But don’t just take it from me, hear from some of our new colleagues about their experience as a new hire participating in the virtual orientation.

Lorenzo Bisogno, a Pricing and Market Access Director in Italy, said, “Joining Vertex in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic could have been very chaotic, but I received important support from every colleague involved in the remote onboarding process and this helped me tremendously … The level of innovation and creativity put into the virtual on-boarding process means that the potential barriers posed by the virtual context were easily overcome, making this on-boarding process vastly different from those I’ve experienced previously.”

And according to Steve Nickelson-Mann, a Facilities Operation Technician in Boston, “I was extremely impressed with how streamlined and smooth it was. I thought the process was very effective and made me feel ready to start at Vertex — but, that being said, I am looking forward to meeting more Vertexians in person when we return to the office!”

We continue to listen and learn from our valued employees who fuel our serial innovation. We’re all looking forward to the time when we can safely welcome new hires in person and meet face-to-face with the hundreds of Vertexians we’ve welcomed virtually over the past 10 months. This too will be a monumental moment that matters.

To learn more about career opportunities at Vertex, visit https://www.vrtx.com/working-here/.