When you start a new job during a global pandemic

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Turbulent times for organisations from an employment perspective.  Some finding themselves without work and needing to lay people off, others overwhelmed by demand and not able to recruit fast enough.  One thing’s for sure – it’s not an easy time to be new to a company with all the usual tricks and tips for settling in quickly suddenly unavailable (remember the days of ‘drinks after work’?!)

Jordan joined the WPG team as a psychologist just as we went into work from home mode and has identified the following specifics that she felt helped her to feel welcomed as a team member, understand the organisation and the work, and feel confident in the work she was doing:

The human touch.  I really appreciated others on the team getting in touch to see how I was getting on, even when I wasn’t working directly with them on a project.  This enabled me to start forming relationships (water cooler chat without the water cooler). WPG’s Wednesday “Stretch and Snack” where the team holds an informal video conference with – you guessed it – a brief stretch followed by snacks, has been great fun and also a great help to me in getting to know everyone on more of a personal level while we eat lunch together. With the added bonus of getting some inspiration for future meals!

Harnessing the technology.  It has been great to use various forms of communication – not just calls or emails, but also video conferencing to foster relationships.  I was a little concerned about the etiquette for interrupting people to ask questions, but the team is great at keeping their diaries up to date so I can easily see if people are available for a quick phone call or if an email/Teams message is best. We also have a channel named “WPG Fun” on Microsoft Teams that provides a communal area to post/chat about everything non-work related.

Value.  Even as a newbie, I’ve been included in strategic discussions/brainstorms wherever possible and this makes me feel part of things even if I can’t contribute too much.  That said, in a brainstorm about how we could support our clients remotely I was able to draw upon knowledge and experience from a previous role and put forward several suggestions.

Variety.  I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work with a variety of team members (sometimes new starters are assigned to a specific person).  Although having to meet people remotely isn’t ideal, I have been exposed to a wide range of projects and this has allowed me to get insight into team members’ working styles and learn from their experiences whilst also building relationships.

Trust.  I’ve felt supported in understanding the tasks I need to accomplish and have been provided with the necessary resources to do so, however I have also been given the autonomy to plan my own work week. This level of trust is appreciated, and I enjoy being able to get on without having to constantly ask/check in with someone. I’ve also already been given the opportunity to take the lead on a couple of tasks and this has been a confidence boost as I feel I’ve been able to contribute even though I am still learning the ropes.

Is your organisation taking people on at the moment – how are you having to do things differently?  Or perhaps you’re a new starter – what has worked well for you?

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