Virtually Onboarding a New Hire – Case Study with Highland Spring

Since the start of lockdown, businesses across the globe have adapted almost overnight to a new way of working, with virtual communication at its core.  At Rutherford Cross, we have worked with a number of incredible companies to virtually interview and onboard both permanent and interim employees.

In the final instalment of our virtual onboarding blog series, Lisa Hughes, recently appointed Financial Planning & Analysis Manager at Highland Spring Group, shares her virtual onboarding experiences.

Lisa Hughes, FP&A Manager

There is always a degree of unknown when transitioning from one business to another, however the key to alleviating any concerns is definitely communication. I was already working my notice when the lockdown period had started therefore I was naturally concerned that my new position at Highland Spring Group could potentially be at risk. Fortunately, the business reached out regularly to keep me updated given the constantly changing landscape impacting all aspects of the company. Given that I was moving from packaging to the natural source water industry I was unsure the impact COVID-19 would have on the business, therefore having open and honest discussions regarding this played the most important role in supporting the transition.

Onboarding remotely is perhaps unconventional, however I found the experience better than anticipated. I was still able to access my work emails and shared files, and join calls and meetings from day one which was key to familiarising myself with the business. The increased reliance on remote technology to facilitate access to critical information and systems ensured the company was in a strong position to enable remote working which I definitely benefitted from.  All paperwork which normally consumes an inordinate amount of time on the first day was taken care of electronically ahead of my start date which allowed me to spend more time meeting the team and understanding their roles in the business.

My induction was perhaps the most interesting part of the onboarding experience, meeting key stakeholders virtually in the comfort of their own home brought its own unexpected benefits. I found most people to be more candid given they were surrounded by children, pets and significant others instead of meeting formally in an open plan office. Gaining a little more exposure to the personalities driving the business has facilitated my understanding of the business needs. Usually you find out what really makes people tick at 5pm on a Friday in the pub however I feel given the current challenges I have had gained a more in depth insight than a conventional induction would allow.

As mentioned there is an elevated focus on communication, not only for people joining the business but also internally by means of daily calls and various weekly updates for all members of staff to keep everyone informed. The key focus in my first few weeks were cashflow and short term forecasting to understand the immediate impacts of COVID-19 in addition gaining an expedited understanding of the team responsibilities.

I would recommend to anyone joining a business in the current climate to keep in contact regularly with their new employer to discuss any concerns and changes which onboarding remotely brings.

If you would like any more help or advice on virtual onboarding or related topics, please contact  [email protected]