The welcome is virtual: the journey is real

by Zoe Monahan   •  
Blog

At the beginning of 2020, I was fortunate enough to be offered an exciting new position with a start date of 16 March. That was when the world as we knew it seemed normal. We’d heard about a virus circulating in China, but no-one really thought it would turn our lives upside down.

By the time my start date approached, everything was looking a lot less like normal! I received a phone call to tell me that my new employer had transitioned all their staff to home working for the foreseeable future. Lockdown had begun. Naturally, I’d some concerns and many questions. I’d met my new team for a coffee and a chat, but was a little apprehensive at the prospect of joining a new employer virtually, without a face-to-face induction!

I needn’t have worried, as I was made to feel included from the very start. In fact, I probably had more face-to-face meetings in the first few days and weeks than I would had we not been working remotely. Using Teams rather than phone or email, I found that I could easily connect with colleagues across all our locations.

First of many

As it turned out, I was the very first of 33 to onboard virtually across our wider group since we began home working. In my role as Recruitment Specialist, I’ve been personally involved in overseeing the onboarding of the other 32! Over the last six months we’ve been able to refine our process to make the journey as easy as possible for all our latest recruits. 

We’re in touch with new joiners the week before their start date and send out all the office equipment they need to ensure they have a safe and comfortable home workstation, with set up assistance provided by our IT team. We provide a welcome pack with lots of information about Spence (and our wider group) and assign our new recruits a ‘buddy’, who is on hand to provide support and to help answer all formal and informal questions. Introductory calls are arranged with new colleagues over Teams. And, at our bi-weekly Town Hall presented by our CEO, all joiners are welcomed personally and given the opportunity to introduce themselves ‘virtually’ to the whole group.  

Without doubt, onboarding virtually is a very strange experience. That said, we’ve made it easy to integrate into the company and engage with each other from home. We have regular check-ins within our individual functions, we hold fortnightly Town Halls to discuss financials, business wins and latest business developments, and our monthly Team Talk sessions provide an important platform for colleague feedback. We’re even planning to hold our annual Training Day and group social event later this year (virtually, of course!).

Cultural fit

Looking back, I realise how lucky I was to have picked the right employer. One that values diversity and inclusion, and has flexibility, freedom and responsibility embedded in its cultural principles.

There are a great many people who accepted new roles in February/March just like me, only to find themselves on furlough, then made redundant, or with the role withdrawn. I joined an employer that has adapted to extremely challenging circumstances and continued to grow. In fact, we’ve recruited at all levels and in all regions throughout the pandemic, from placement students and new graduates to senior appointments at director level.

Since I joined, just as lockdown began, we’ve created 24 new roles across our group and onboarded 33 new employees in total, including 7 graduates and 5 placement students, with more still to join before the end of the year. We continue to provide great career opportunities and will be recruiting again this year for our graduate programmes and for placement students. You can follow us at:

www.spenceandpartners.co.uk/careers

LinkedIn: Spence & Partners Limited

Twitter: @SpencePartners

Hear from our recent recruits

James Sweetnam, Investment Analyst: Spence made the onboarding process as smooth as possible given the current circumstances. I’ve been provided with all the hardware needed to be able to do my job properly including a second screen and office chair. The effort Spence has put in to make me feel welcome has also contributed to me really feeling part of the team despite not having met anyone in person!

Fiona McDonnell, Pensions Management Trainee: When I was offered a role with Spence, and told I would be working remotely when I started in July, I couldn’t picture what that would be like. However, I’d become used to the virtual world as I was in the middle of finishing my final year at university, which by then had already moved to online classes and exams.

Fast forward, I have now been a part of the company for over two months, have met all my colleagues over Teams and undergone virtual training by webinar. It didn’t take long to get used to working from home. All my colleagues have been very welcoming and helpful, especially when it comes to my constant questions! 

Further reading

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