“Welcome to the team” – during Covid-19 we said "welcome" to several new employees

The first few days in any company are typically taken up with learning new systems, undertaking health and safety training and meeting lots of your new colleagues or spending time casually getting to know people from other teams whilst grabbing a coffee.

New employees used to spend two days at our head office in London, having meetings and getting to know their team to help orientate them to the way we work, and to stock up on note pads and pens! Then COVID-19 happened and in March 2020 we all started to work from home and had to re-think that experience.

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Working in the health and science sectors meant that lots of our projects became critical in helping health services cope with increased demand – recruitment also continued, and we have welcomed several new people to the team. We’ve had to re-think the way we brought new people on-board to replicate what we used to do face-to-face. Very quickly we adapted the way we did it as we were forced to think differently and transform this important engagement. Because we want to help new starters settle in and we know how tough those first few days can be, we’ve invested more time initially in getting a supportive balance in place and removing some of the anxiety associated with starting a new job.

The cloud has made it easier

The functional parts are easy, all our systems are cloud-based and intuitive, so we just had to make sure people had what they needed.

We are more reliant on being connected but how do to replicate what we used to spend two days doing? Our culture has been an important part of onboarding. Whether that is going out for a coffee or a drink after work, or any one of the many events that take place over the year –things have changed. We have tried to develop new ways to connect with colleagues and allow friendships to grow. We were lucky that we had just launched an association with a new charity to support them over the year – this focus gives us an opportunity to work together for a common aim that isn't about work.

"My IT kit arrived a few days before I started, and my first meeting was to help connect me to the ETL infrastructure, it all worked really well."

Too much, too little

“Everyone made me feel so welcome, I had scheduled meetings set up in my diary for the first few days (virtually). My “buddy” checked in with me to make sure I wasn’t left scratching my head.” Another recent member of the team said, “the morning huddles are great, it’s a good mix of work, exciting new projects and what people are watching on TV”.

Getting the right balance of contact is different for everyone, so our People and Culture team are adept at assembling a good mix of people to replicate what we might have experienced in the office. “it was great to able to hit the ground running, people have been so friendly”.

How are you doing, how are we doing?

This might all seem one-way as we pat ourselves on our backs. What matters more is have we met their expectations? “I can’t believe the amount of time and effort the company is investing in our welfare; it is by far the most considerate company I have ever worked for”. Another team member added, “the projects I am working on are really interesting and better than I could have hoped for, I have not had this variety of work in previous roles”.

COVID-19 has forced us to think differently, be more agile in the way we work and innovative when working with clients. We are constantly looking at ways to streamline our processes, improve the quality of our engagement process and ensure that people embrace the culture that we worked to create. But there is always room for improvement.